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My desire was to write a haiku book that moved haiku from the limitation of poetry to the larger arena of literature and education. Additionally, I wanted to forge a fresh approach—to bring haiku into mainstream readership by combining short poems with philosophical stories and ponderings—self-help based on martial arts.
My primary focus was to write haiku that would be readily accessible to most readers. Haiku are often written in such a way as to engender disparate relations between reader and poet, and meaning. Haiku Wisdom was written to connect with readers in a self-help environment where no secrets were intended. Additionally, the book is an educational tool on how to read haiku—how to seek meaning successfully.
in a cool river
. . . is a simple haiku. It has a vertical access of meaning for the reader to grasp. Yet, it is accessible with little effort; there is moderate separation between what is written and what the reader may believe as to meaning.
The first poem of the “Can We” chapter is:
a few huts
How simple! I imagine this little poem says it all! It is open, obliging—somewhat easy for the reader to connect with for meaning without reading it extensively. Compare that haiku to others that I have written for different purposes:
the shrapnel of
a human being
unfinished . . .
the winds of his brush
design the sky
in the bible a leaf never worn
These poems represent more of what I look for in writing haiku as stand-alone poetry. These stand-alone poems have certain impositions on the reader for meaning. They are not readily reader-accessible or facile. And, they may cause readers to “read and re-read for meaning” (Richard Gilbert)—different levels of resistance. Haiku included in Haiku Wisdom are not of the same style as these. It isn’t that one style is more advanced than the other; it is a matter of choice and appropriateness.
“Stay On Course” is a simple, short chapter. Its first poem is:
a crow drifts across
the rooftop . . .
light and slightly humorous under certain conditions and a bit dark in others. It opens the chapter, prepares the reader for what is to come, and allows access to meaning—as it isn’t a stand-alone haiku for a journal or a competition, but one that keenly integrates with the remainder of the chapter with ease. It was a necessary inclusion for the book to have meaning.
Haiku often show up in varying contexts. The context of their appearances in Haiku Wisdom is one of “self-help.” They support my intention of helping readers achieve more insightful, richer lives as a result of reading the book.
is that you reaching
for the sky?