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Messages - Adam Traynor

Where do your haiku begin?

Where do I begin to answer this question? Doesn't seem like there's a single place or time, but many of each. Off the top of my head, I am thinking of coming across zen telegrams by paul reps when I was a teenager over 20 years ago. That's how the title and his name appeared on the book I saw: in lower case letters. I was struck by that. I hadn't read anything by cummings yet. But I was struck by the brevity of the poems. Didn't know you could do that. I wrote some down in my notebook, which I still have. Of course the poems had illustrations with them, which I thought was neat. Not really illustrations, but simple lines or brush marks that were like their own kind or words. Like words you couldn't say. Or if you had to say them, you'd have to use your elbows or eyebrows or something to say them.

At that time I didn't know about haiku. So I wasn't thinking these reps things were like haiku or anything like that. They just had an immediate charge to them. They were what they were. That's a cliche, but I sometimes think it's kind of rare that a poem, or a haiku, is what it is, and is not pretending to be anything else, or copying anything else. Strange, but rare.

He called them telegrams. That part I could figure, the zen part was new to me. The charge, the electricity in a telegram. The urgency in it. I guess the zen part is something about things being what they are.

I tried to write a few things like that myself. Threw it all away, couldn't do it like reps.

Now I can say he was influenced by haiku, and by the Beats writing haiku. But I really like the way he found his own thing with it.

So that is one part of where my haiku begin.

I don't know where my old notebook is right now, but I memorized two of reps' telegrams. (Pretty easy to remember actually).


and this one I don't remember how the lines go exactly

telephone me
in the rice field

I enjoyed thinking about this. Don't know if it answers the question really.

Thank you.

I have seen the new forum and have read some of it. There's a lot to go through. Since I gave the challenge a while ago, it's probably fair that I write something. So that's what I'll do right now.

Thank you,

I would like to say something, but the question seems kind of abstract to me. Maybe more people would respond if the question was narrowed down some?
Right now, frankly I do not feel encouraged to start upon a subject for serious discussion. I will continue to watch the boards, and if someone else wants to start, I'll jump on board.
My poems resemble the bread of Egypt-- one night
Passes over the bread, and you can't eat it anymore.

So gobble my poems down now, while they're still fresh,
Before the dust of the world settles on them.

Where a poem belongs is here, in the warmth of the chest;
Out in the world it dies of cold.

You've seen a fish-- put him on dry land,
He quivers for a few minutes, and then is still.

And even if you eat my poems while they're still fresh,
You still have to bring forward many images yourself.

Actually, friend, what you're eating is your own imagination.
These poems are not just some bare statements and old proverbs.
In-Depth Haiku: Free Discussion Area / Rumi poem moved
November 24, 2012, 03:11:23 PM
Moved to "and this is a haiku because . . . "
No, not confusing sentimentality with vulnerability. I don't have the ability I think to convey why I feel the tone of this haiku is sentimental. Feels like a line from a Victorian song or something to me. But I am probably alone in thinking this.


Adam Traynor
John McManus's take on the Lamb poem, where "reading" is both "she is reading" and "I am reading", definitely helps. Each version juxtaposes the other, and gives a sense of communion between the author and the blind girl.

However, the average reader coming across this poem will probably not be sensitive to the haiku convention (code) of implying an "I" where it is unstated before a verb. Is this a problem?

It is hard for me not to regard the subject of a "blind child" as sentimental. Maybe I'm being a "tad harsh" with this. I would prefer

blind reading my poem with her fingertips

but I don't believe this is the kind of poem ESL would have written.

What Paul Miller says about Tundra makes sense to me, that the blank page juxtaposes the word. Seen this way, the imagination can project itself endlessly on the field around the word.

It is also true, however, that even a "statement" is juxtaposed by the silence surrounding it and calling it into question.

Adam Traynor
Alan and all: right now, there's a decent discussion happening in "and this is a haiku because". I've been checking that out and I might want to post something there about sentimentality and also in response to Paul Miller's post. So, maybe after that, we can get something going about criticism. Thank you.

Adam Traynor
I would vote for a discussion on the role of criticism in haiku.
I read more than I write. I have only one published poem. You can see it in the registry. I have my preferences, but I enjoy all kinds of work. In Roadrunner and in The Heron's Nest, to give two very different examples.

I do not think haiku is losing its identity. There are plenty of people writing the kind of thing which I believe Don Baird would think of as haiku. I don't doubt that they will continue to do so, and that others will come along and do the same. I don't believe that people who publish in Roadrunner, for example, are attempting to convince anyone that they've got it right and The Heron's Nesters have it wrong.

As far as E.S. Lamb's poem goes, for me it's simple: it just isn't very good. It's sentimental. And that's a problem that plagues a lot of poems I read, even ones that meet all the criteria for "haiku".

Adam Traynor
I tend to believe that the issue is not that people are too busy to engage. I don't think that people are busier now than they were during the first year or two of Troutswirl, when people like Richard Gilbert, Philip Rowland, Scott Metz, Ed Markowski, Peter Yovu, Paul Miller, John Stevenson, and Jack Galmitz among others, were regular contributors. Seldom see any of the them here now.

So I don't know. But I do notice that even over on Scot Metz' blog, there is little discussion. Maybe some of the excitement over the "new ku" has settled. Maybe the whole process of online conversation is too clunky, and frustrating-- there were certainly complaints about that in the "good old days".

My one suggestion for stimulating conversation would be to pick a recent book and offer it up. Most of the above names have new(isn) books out and there are others, including Haiku 21 and the Red Moon Press series featuring Kaneko Tohta, the last of which is a selection of his haiku.

In the meantime, an open question to all who used to contribute and no longer do: where are you?

I have not logged into the Forums for some time now. Last time I did, I was disappointed to see how little discussion there was on the forum. That seems even more true now. The forum, at least as far as "in depth discussion" goes, appears dead. I wonder why.

Yes, I could get something started myself, I guess, but it looks like recent attempts have gone nowhere. The shell game for example, which was fun and informative, stuttered and died at its last attempt. Sails has bailed out. And so on.

So why is this? Do people not have the time, or the interest? Some interesting and challenging books have come out lately-- where's the discussion?

Or maybe it could be that some people are just like me-- unwilling to start something that few if any will respond to.
Sea Shell Game / Re: Sea Shell Game 3
December 22, 2011, 04:36:39 PM
Both have an element, as Peter Yovu himself might say, of playfulness. Yovu's plays (in part) with words and John Stevenson's plays, in part, with our minds. That may be the same thing. Yovu's poem seems to say that, contrary to what may often be asserted about haiku-- that it is not about language and that language calling attention to itself simply gets in the way-- he seems to say that language itself is a living thing which bleeds, and maybe even that the language of business reduces a living thing to a commodity-- bleeds it down to an object.

Stevenson's poem, also seemingly a poem of the mind rather than of sensation, also plays with language. Is it language or is it the nature of perception to lead to a hall of mirrors, a kind of Escher inner-outer landscape. Stevenson's poem almost feels to me to represent the experience of schizophrenia, where outer reference and self reference get confused. Maybe less dramatically or clinically, it is akin to the child's experience according to Maurice Sendak: "I'm in the milk and the milk's in me".

Both do what they do well. For me it's a tie.
Seems like the forum has boiled down to a handful of folks in the mentoring sections and that's about it. Where are the serious discussions, the Sailings, the Periplums, etc? And when there is a discussion, how come only 5 or 6 people engage? How come?
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