Long after she found a sense of calm in haiku, Angelee Deodhar is happy to see more takers for the form of poetry

Angelee Deodhar’s transition from science to poetry wasn’t planned. Based in Chandigarh, Angelee was a practicing eye surgeon until she was diagnosed with Pulmonary thrombo-embolism. “I was very ill when I discovered haiku from a magazine in the hospital. I fell in love with this form of poetry,” she recalls. Angelee will be conducting a haiku workshop as part of Hyderabad Literary Festival 2014 on January 25; 10a.m. to 4.30p.m. at Saptaparni.

Her medical condition, the treatment of which involved several surgeries, made it difficult for her to pursue her medical career any further. As she gathered the pieces of her life together, she found solace in haiku. It’s been two decades and Angelee has authored and translated several books.

When she began, she remembers haiku being restricted to a niche audience. The situation is better today, she says. As a member of several haiku groups, including Haiku Society of America, Haiku Society of Canada, and Haiku International Association, Japan, and the World Haiku Association, she feels, “Haiku is gaining popularity in India and is being written in almost every Indian language. English language haiku is popular but not yet accepted as a part of mainstream poetry. Haiku is not taught in schools on a regular basis, although individual attempts are being made by various poets.”

Three lines of each poem of haiku pose a new challenge, she says. More so when one is translating. “It is extremely difficult to translate such a tiny poetic form while retaining the sense of the genre,” says the poet who has translated haiku from English to Hindi and vice versa.

She emphasises three vital points to remember while working on translations, “A deep understanding of one’s own cultural heritage, literature and folklore; a facility of understanding more than one language and a level of creativity to lift a culturally specific poetic genre out of one language and carry it across into another.” Angelee has translated six books of haiku from English to Hindi.

During the course of writing haiku, Angelee also began illustrating haiku poetry. “I had no formal training in arts and literature though,” she says.

Angelee is now working on translating a book by Matsuo Basho, whom she refers to as “the master of Japanese haiku poetry”, and her own book of haiku and haibun (a combination of prose and haiku).

Angelee’s works

Among Angelee’s works are translations of popular haiku books from English to Hindi:

If Someone Asks... Masaoka Shiki’s Life and Haiku

Haiku: A Master’s Selection, edited by Miura Yuzuru

Ogur Hyakunin Isshu: 100 Poems by 100 Poets

Children’s Haiku from around the World - A Haiku Primer

Indian Haiku

The Distant Mountain