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Messages - Adam Traynor

I want to call attention to an interesting thread currently happening on the blog. It seems to relate to this question of haiku and poetry, among other things. Be great if a few people here picked up on it.

Here's the link:

For sure Paul Cordeiro is entitled to his preference for one approach to haiku. However, I find nothing dishonest about Kaneko Tohta's poem.
It's not so much what I would have preferred, but some sense that the kind of thing that roadrunner for example publishes is also "distinguished". I have no idea what poems or books were submitted, but one could infer that a statement has been made regarding edgier work.

Still, there is something to enjoy in what was selected.

CM, is there a haiku you wish had won? I don't know if the Foundation exists to promote any particular kind of work, but I tend to agree that awarding at least one or two "out there" poems or books would have been more in keeping with the range of stuff being done.

I can't remember who said it, and I'm paraphrasing, but: if you are alive to your experience, your haiku will be alive. If you are not alive to it (if for example, you are casting about for a haiku) your haiku will not be alive. Doesn't matter the subject.

Why write a "moon" or "first snow" or "Indian summer" haiku if your experience is not fresh, if it has not overtaken you?

Tray (Adam Traynor)
Portland ME
 I have but one haiku to my credit, but I read. Kigo is not important to me, personally, or even season words. What is important to me is being attuned to nature the best I can and seeing what comes up. But, I'm mostly a reader, and I found these comments taken from an interview Roadrunner did with Robert Hass. I guess you could call him a "mainstream" poet. His context is N (and S) America, but I don't think he means to be exclusive about that.

RR: Do you think that in the future a poet writing haiku in English (as their main poetic form) can achieve notability, within the wider arena of literary culture (why or why not)?

RH: I don't see why not. Though I am inclined to think that short poems, even short poems with a seasonal reference and a 5-7-5 syllabic structure, written in English can't be, strictly speaking, haiku. Or to say it another way, the haiku is still acclimatizing itself, in this country, to the cultures of American poetry. When Basho began to write, there was already an eight hundred to a thousand year tradition of poetry and art in Japan to give resonance to the brief seasonal words on which haiku depends and a pre-industrial culture that involved quite close observation of the seasons and a set of religious and cultural rituals embedded in those seasons. This condition doesn't obtain in English-speaking North America (or Spanish-speaking South America, where there have also been many experiments with the haiku form.) I expect something unexpected will eventually evolve from our admiration for and attempts to translate the practice of the short Japanese poem.

RR: As with poetry in general, the sheer volume of publication is high, yet quality is too often mediocre. Would you have any suggestions for the future, for editors and poets?

RH: Yes, high standards for oneself, generosity toward others, except for editors who need to practice high standards and courtesy.___RR: Haiku are generally taken to be a poetics of nature, and often take aspects of the natural world as a focus or topic; could you discuss the question of haiku and nature, poetry and nature, in light of recent revelations of global warming and as Bill McKibben put it, "the end of nature?"

RH:  One of the arguments for the cultivation of haiku, I suppose, is that attention to nature has become a moral imperative. McKibben is good on this subject and the great text is still the essay, "The Land Ethic" in Aldo Leopold's Sand Country Almanac. That book, especially the essays "Thinking Like a Mountain" and "Good Oak" and "Song of the Gavilan" are also useful texts for thinking about how to naturalize an imagination of nature in North American poetry. In so much of poetry and thinking about poetry right now, there is a good deal of appropriate skepticism about the assumptions behind realism as a literary mode and therefore about the whole question of what we do when we think to represent nature. It might be useful to let this tradition— and the range of anti-realist practices from surrealism to language poetics— enter the practice of haiku, if only to take away the sort of easy wow! poem that tends to be the first stage of our attempts to appropriate the form. Allen Ginsberg's notion that the blues lyric is the American version of haiku might also be helpful in this connection. See his effort at what he called "American sentences."
old pond lol
a frog...
Congratulations on getting this forum started. A concern I have is that from what I have seen of forums, the tendency is write fairly quick messages which may be thoughtful, but not necessarily thoughtfully, or well written. I guess that was true somewhat over on Troutswirl, but it did seem that some folks made the effort to take some time with what they posted. I guess my wish here is that people not fall into the "texting" mode. Is my concern unfounded?


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