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Messages - chibi575

Quote from: John Carley on December 10, 2010, 06:07:59 PM
Can blue men sing the whites?

How is it possible to ignore that much of Shiki's impetus to define the 'haiku' was derived from his espousal of European literary values?

The premises behind this strand are a creepy reminder of the crypto-xenophobia enshrined in the Matsuyama Declaration.


chrysanthemum scent --
the untold manner of men
Nara has known

Or as Simpson-san (Bart) put it: wake up and smell the chrysanthemums.

John Carley

Thank you for your reply.

Could you explain a few statements in your reply, at least, for my clarity.

"How is it possible to ignore that much of Shiki's impetus to define the 'haiku' was derived from his espousal of European literary values?" 

Can you give your source?  I would love to read it.

"The premises behind this strand are a creepy reminder of the crypto-xenophobia enshrined in the Matsuyama Declaration."  I guess one could fold this into a Japanese prejudice, but, my discussion is about embracing and understanding differences, not, using differences as leverage of class.  So your references is puzzling.


chrysanthemum scent --
the untold manner of men
Nara has known"

Could you explain this poem expecially "Nara"? 

As to Bart... yes, he is a sensei to many ;))

Congrats on your win.  It was a fine short poem.  If you want to discuss further the points of your poem, I would welcome it on another venue.

Shokan sensei is my sensei for renku, his passion.  I have not breached the subject with him as far as what is haiku and what is not, yet, nor do I see it in his plan to do so with me.  We deal with hokku, the first verse of the renku, and, as with all the renku we've written are presented in Japanese with English translations.  On the NHK radio program "World Interactive", I am sending the renku to Shokan sensei for comment if he decides to do so.

I can not judge if you feel this discussion is a waste of your time, it is not mine, although, I appreciate you responding.  I am sorry you feel it is a pointless point, though, I see how you feel it somewhat paradoxical.
Quote from: G.R. LeBlanc on December 13, 2010, 09:12:50 PM
I also agree that Japanese and English-language haiku are different, but changing the term? I mean, haiku isn't ONLY about linguistics, is it? I like to think of haiku as art, and art evolves and changes over time. Yet the essence of haiku remains.

Besides, what would anyone possibly have to gain by coining another term? How does one decide at what point something has evolved or changed enough to call it something different? And who would have the authority to do this?

Shouldn't people focus on enjoying haiku, in both writing and reading it, instead of worrying about what it's called? If you ask me, if we start to worry about what things are called and categorizing them, we're totally missing what haiku is about. I always thought that haiku is about looking at the true essence of things, not about their terminology? Isn't it about sharing part of ourselves with others, about showing that we are all connected? 

Yet, here we are trying to define and categorize things so that we can separate them into their own little boxes. I honestly do not understand how such a wonderful form of expression can lead to so many dividing debates--debates that, in my opinion, simply result in extinguishing the magic that surrounds it. :-\

The enjoyment of an art form is certainly very much part of the art, but, there is also nuance in change, much as in painting, Rembrant differs from Picaso, yet it seems to be our innate propensity to anchor our thought change in a name of a thing.  Roses may smell as sweet by any other name, but, I would want to know the difference between a rose and a skunk cabbage less I look foolish picking a corsage, eh?

To support a further ambiquity in relation to the Bard, this may be much ado about nothing, your point.  Please continue your exploration as I will mine.  Thank you for your reply.

Quote from: Don Baird on December 13, 2010, 07:15:10 PM
History will sort that out and in the end, I truly believe, Chibi, that your position on this will be clearly in the minority.

Anyway, that's my two cents for what it's worth.  It's great seeing you again.  I hope life is treating you well!

all the best,


Hi Don,

Thank you.  Good seeing you again.  I do not mind having a position in the minority, even if it is a fact.  Popular opinions have not always been based on fact. 

Actually, I just propose that we look for a more fitting name for what we write in English/American.  Haiku is already defined and taken for the last 500 years or so.  But, as you say, history does not always favour fact.

Happy Holidays.
As some may know, I am a proponant of the qualification, "if it ain't Japanese, it ain't haiku", that is the case I want to present to this forum.

I feel strongly that there should be mention of two key components that follow haiku writing in Japan and should be adapted as key parts of the craft attempted outside of Japan: a qualified teacher "sensei/haijin" and crafting tools used in writing haiku (saijiki or haiku encyclopedia).

Most of the misconception in transporting haiku principles and practices outside of Japan have failed for the lack of these two key components.

May I suggest as part of this forum's persuit for "The Craft of Writing Haiku" consider exploring (if not embracing) these two key components.

Thank you.
Quote from: cat on December 11, 2010, 01:36:24 PM

Here's something I've started wondering about since reading this thread:  If English is too limited for the creation of authentic haiku, doesn't that also mean that there can be no authentic English translations of Japanese haiku?  Doesn't that in turn mean that we who do not read Japanese have no access to the true experience of haiku anyway? 


Let me say that I, too, have wondered these points. 

Recently in discussing a (please forgive me to use "what was formerly known as English haiku") poem by my teacher, Professor Tadashi Kondo, (affluent in English, specifically, in realation to Japanese haiku and a Japanese native and master scholar in "renku") wrote:

falling leaves

This is a "brilliant" (intended pun) poem in English, but, very difficult to translate into a haiku (traditional Japanese).  Let me also say, English may be far less limited as a language to write short poetry than Japanese (English having 800 hundred linguistic sounds as opposed to Japanese with ~30).  What is the most difficult is to transfer culture feeling and nuances.  Within the Japanese poetic form haiku, being, small by diffinition demands a certain terse verse effeciency, that tranfering to English may be the most difficult.  But, as we absorb the Japanese perspective, Professor Tadashi Kondo's poem gives example of the opposite, that is, English in this case has concentrated a deep feeling in four English words.  My interpretation of this poem shows a nuance that can only be truly expressed in English in the use of possitioning the space of the written word and holds and folds ambiquity. (an aside -- in Japan, almost all haiku is written in one vertical line, although, as in some scrolls, there may demand for other positioning).

Some questions come to mind...  is "uncovered" verb or adjective?  By using "uncovered" is there not a deeper connection between the "falling leaves" and "stars" (plurals both but hard to show so in Japanese).  The idea of falling leaves covering while simultaneously uncovering?  This is a mastefully crafted poem.  In four English words, 25 letters, and masterful use of choice, meaning, and written word spacing, such deep meanings can be felt? (an aside: our Skyp-renku group is presenting these points to the arthor himself, so, there is a reasonable risk that we have misinterpreted his English poem altogether... I will post later the result).

Yet... almost every traditional Japanese haiku/hokku is only 17 Japanese letters!  For English to accomplish this limit of letters would constrain the number of poems to a challenging rare few.  These are just a few points that compels me to suggest we (USAians, at least ... I can not answer for other English speaking nations) form a genre-name (other than "haiku").

Cat, as well as any others, if you ever feel I have offended, please, express your concerns (here or privately).  I will be very thankful for your frankness.
Quote from: Lorin on December 11, 2010, 12:19:51 PM

I'd rather spend the time appreciating the differences and developments in haiku, worldwide.

I feel this IS a development, that now is the time to raise this issue.  After all, we are in a diversification view, we are changing.  Bombay has change to the original, "Mumbai"... eh?  ;))
Quote from: hairy on December 11, 2010, 12:32:34 PM
anything is poetry if it has a metric flow even prose can have poetic moments even speech can be poetry but if it lacks metrical motion like a car without a motor or a boat without a becomes prose

so to answer: if the haiku poem flows like a river at eventide it is poetry if it lapses into quotidian aphorisms it is prose

in summation:  haiku can be poetry or prose

hairy (fusion of haiku and senryu) 

hairy (fusion of haiku and senryu) 


nice fun "hairy"

PS... in Japanese, haiku is ha.i.ku and senryu is se.n.ryu
Hi my friendly explorers...

I sent a request to Dr. Gabi Greve, a good friend, and more experienced than I in Japanese culture, to send to me the different names the Japanese have for non-Japanese haiku.  Here is her reply:

maybe this is one
eisaku ha.i.ku 英作 ハイク English-language ha.i.ku

make it a point to show the difference between Japanese 俳句 and
other-language ハイク  / HA.I.KU

maybe you find some useful here?

I am not aware of any other name for ELH in Japan.

shinkoo haiku 新興俳句
Modern Haiku - Gendai Haiku 現代俳句

Experimental Haiku
Jikkensei Haiku 実験性俳句
Zenei Haiku 前衛俳句

Avantgarde Haiku ぜんえい/ 前衛俳句 zen-ei haiku
vanguard haiku
zenei haiku

自由律俳句(じゆうりつはいく) free verse haiku

You can quote me any time !


_____end of message____

Also, perhaps a better example of what I am talking about is in relation to "tea".  The Japanese Tea Ceremony, certainly has a few common constructs with the English Tea Ceremony: tea, hot water, pots, cup/bowls, partcipants, room, and, ceremony; but, although similar are different in key aspects and intent.

I feel, now, most who would see so far what has been said on the subject, "Concerning English Short Poetry" have a good enough understanding of the issues presented.

I would very much like to see some ideas on naming the genre for the formerly known as "haiku" in English.

Happy Holidays and Peace and Joy to all.
Cat... sorry.  I was trying to clarify your reference, but, I did not mean to insult.

Boomerang... interesting hyperbole, as is the horse and barn door.  It is never too late for the facts.  If it ain't Japanese, it ain't haiku, it is however factually something else. 

For those that have replied so far, would you be interested in proposing a name for the genre?  If not, no harm no fowl.

Thank you for your replies. 

First, thanks for all the replies. 

I am saying due to the nature of Japanese language, more specifically, alphabet, yet even more specifically, hiragana as each alphabetic character a succinct sound, the rhythm, the kigo, the kireji (also denoted by an alphabetic character)... these restriction/constraints make the haiku Japanese specific. 

The other points from cat, lorin, and colin (yes it's me, Dennis, Colin) are missing the above focus, haiku being the exception.  I do like "just wee poems"; and, I agree "English Short Poetry" misses the name-mark lacking a certain "how do you say".  I am proposing to call haiku haiku and the other stemming from but not haiku a different name.  Take ownership and thus clarify that which was previously known as -- HAIKU -- be renamed based upon the orginal language-culture (being that the Japanese art form, haiku, carries that restriction).

Radical... yes, even borderline nuts, but, I hope more realize we should take ownership of the resulting genre by name and literary characteristics with emphasis on language-culture. 

Cat, Japanese is not a latin-based language.  I observe that this can be key for understanding haiku/hokku writing and feel.  I feel this the crux of my proposal of a different genre.  The intermixing between French, Italian, German, Spanish (and others languages), poetic genre is a different situation than with haiku.  Haiku is a claimed Japanese genre formulated for the most part by Shiki.  Japanese poetry's transportation to the west (orginally through Portugal, if history serves) was flawed in lack of understanding hokku among other poetic forms.  Certainly, Shiki's codification of haiku from hokku held no forethought of transporting the genre into other than Japanese.  As with all exchange... something is lost in not only translation but transportation as well. 

Colin, as encounters with other cultures happen, the reactions have varied in the past from oblitheration to an absorbing embrace.  The current trend is using the idea of diversification to smooth the encounter.  Recognizing differences as steps towards understanding and "getting along" as it were, is a reasonable direction.  One of the ways we allow this diversification is by "genre".  If you mean by "insular", "isolation", then you have me wrong.  I am proposing to understand and embrace the boundaries, not, ignore their existence.  I am hoping for help in that direction.
Let me start this new topic with soliciting thoughts on the idea that haiku is not English Short Poetry.

I contend that haiku is exclusively Japanese because of the linguistic construction and cultural based principals that are required in haiku.  I also contend that what is originally written in languages other than Japanese does not meet the language requirement.  That what is written in English (for example) is another genre which (for the lack of calling it anything better) is English Short Poetry.

I know this is a radical answer to many of the concerns with writting what goes as haiku in English; and, can be as upsetting as reforming the idea of the shape of the world as flat to the shape of the world as spherical. 

I feel it is time to establish English Short Poetry to help clarify what is haiku and what is not.  In other words, if it is not written originally in Japanese it is not haiku. 

Thank you.

Preprequel:  What is poetry?
Prequel: What is haiku?

I've wrestled with the second much more than with the first. 

The definition I'm most likely to pin down is that haiku is a poetic notion of Shiki and was not directed to any other language than Japanese.  Shiki's notion was to coin "haiku" as rooted from "hokku" and renku.

So, until if I go on the above, I would soley have to address the question, "Is Haiku Poetry?" in relation to Japanese.  The answer to that would be that the Japanese believe that haiku is poetry, I feel.

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