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Messages - Mary Stevens

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Thanks, Al and Alan for condolences and poem. How they help!


Thanks, Al.
I found out a few hours ago that my uncle died. Couldn't shake this poem from my mind.

And I now understand in a completely different way

    I chucked the urn too

Thank you for your swift reply.


In-Depth Haiku: Free Discussion Area / Re: pink = zero
« on: April 10, 2011, 07:59:36 AM »
I saw "pink" as meaning "still bloody" and "still alive." I interpreted the poem as a poet "writing down the bones," getting to what is essential, the marrow, the meat of things.

My favorite Dickinson snippet:

     A word that breathes distinctly
     Has not the power to die...

Words, in the hands of a good poet, are still breathing, still alive. If the poet can choose living, breathing words, the poem lives forever in people's hearts, is understood by all the generations that follow.

Can anyone tell me the name of the poet and/or where the forever stamp/sympathy card haiku was published?



In-Depth Haiku: Free Discussion Area / Re: Spanish-language haiku
« on: March 13, 2011, 06:35:44 PM »
I just discovered more Spanish-language haiku sources through the NaHaiWriMo link MDW provided at another discussion on this forum:



In-Depth Haiku: Free Discussion Area / Re: Winter Dreams
« on: March 08, 2011, 07:56:23 PM »
Peter, I'm intrigued by your comment on how
we express the bodily experience, what happens, on that level, when we read the poem. For me, it is the entry point and the place of communion.

I'd like to hear more about what you mean by this. Would you be willing to show what you experience bodily for a couple-few other poems?



In-Depth Haiku: Free Discussion Area / Re: Winter Dreams
« on: March 06, 2011, 06:29:42 AM »
Thanks, Don!

In-Depth Haiku: Free Discussion Area / Re: Poem qua Poem
« on: March 05, 2011, 06:53:38 PM »
As geese arc, the fog
closing behind them …
the poem’s false start
                —Rebecca Lilly

I like the way she put "the fog" on the first line to make concrete that it is closing in on the geese, who are arcing from ground to sky, starting their long flight. I also believe she's referring to another poem with a false start, because this one is off to a good one.

My main concern is that the poet seems to suggest that the geese will find the imminent weather condition as undesirable as humans experience it when traveling. It's a tinge of human projection onto nature, and departs from the suchness of geese (at least what I know of it). I hear geese under cloud cover as often as under clear skies. Given how far and through how many climate zones they travel—and how much time they spend gathering beforehand, I don't think much stops them when they're ready to go. Therefore, the link between a false start in nature and in a writer's process doesn't work here. Too bad. The two sections of the poem are really nice on their own. It certainly is a challenge to juxtapose two images to capture human experience, yet do so without contaminating the images, themselves.

Regarding the self-referential question, I see self-doubt as part of the suchness of writers. If the poet can carry it off in a fresh way, I'm happy to contemplate that suchness. In the poems that Chris provided, I can relate to Karen Sohne's poem, but prefer John Stevenson's: he makes me work for it. Interesting that both poems take place in kitchens. I guess poetic neurosis is pretty much senryu territory. Not much of that nonsense going on in nature. 


In-Depth Haiku: Free Discussion Area / Re: Winter Dreams
« on: March 05, 2011, 05:07:23 PM »
Thanks, all, for the satisfying question and responses. Once Gabi sent the picture, I realized that the poet literally meant the string game we used to play (I was thinking it might be a place name I was unaware of). Don's response is pretty much where my train of thought went after seeing the picture.

The season in the poem, for me, creates a kind of reverberation between the confined indoor space and  small activity and the magnificent structure out in open space in bracing cold air—but with the snow closing in. I alternately feel free and claustrophobic. (It doesn't help that it's early March and I live in New York state!).

The seasonal piece of the poem definitely works for me. If there were something other than the seasonal reference in line 3, the poem might risk saying only, "Hey! The cat's cradle looks like the Eiffel Tower." That would be amusing for about 3 seconds but leave no lingering emotional flavor.

If it were a season other than winter, there wouldn't be that tension created by the indoorsness of the cat's cradle. Kids simply would not be playing that game outside. They'd be engaging in more exuberant, whole-body activity. Especially in spring, which I am now very much longing for after having read the poem! Dang, I thought I had that cabin fever thing in check.


In-Depth Haiku: Free Discussion Area / Re: Is Haiku Poetry?
« on: February 23, 2011, 08:13:10 AM »
Oh, I like it, Diana! Thank you for the excellent quotation, too!


In-Depth Haiku: Free Discussion Area / Re: A Wolf in Firefly's Clothing?
« on: February 20, 2011, 07:48:36 PM »
Hi, Jim.

Can you recommend some sources that discuss its power for the Japanese?

It feels powerful to me, but I cannot articulate why. Something about the juxtaposition between solitariness and calling out—but very quiet and in the way of things. And the combination of two ways of being intense: with physical strength and speed and with luminescence and flashiness. And the incredible rarity of the poet getting to witness this unlikely and beautiful pairing.

I know nothing of its symbolism to the Japanese, and doubt that symbolism is really why they perceive it as powerful. I also doubt that the wolf's potential extinction came into play when it was first written, though it certainly adds poignancy for present-day readers.



In-Depth Haiku: Free Discussion Area / Re: Is Haiku Poetry?
« on: February 20, 2011, 07:22:20 PM »
It certainly comes from the same place in me as poetry: it feels the same when inspiration strikes. And I get that feeling in no other activity. The only difference is the meticulousness of my process of revision. My standards for haiku are much, much higher and more exacting. That doesn't mean it's not a poem, it's just that there is a lot of craft in the artistic process.

Even at it's most basic form of just stating what is can be likened to photography, which is generally accepted as an art form. But most haiku go beyond that to a deeper meaning or truth.

Someone mentioned dreams as inspiration for haiku. Do you all ever write haiku based on dreams?

I generally don't because my dreams are so often surrealistic, and I find it hard to relate to the few surrealistic haiku I've read. No one would understand them but me. On my birthday recently, I dreamed I was being fitted for a kimono! While I believe kimono are generally one-size-fits-all (except for sumo wrestlers), I was happy all day. A pretty, new outfit! There was also a healing component to the dream, which I interpreted as auspicious. I wrote a haiku to honor the dream.


Don wrote:
Regarding:  "Where does your inspiration come from"? (. . . .) We live in an Eden of sorts and inspiration is everywhere.  I think it's harder to find the realm of "non-inspiration" than to find the realm of inspiration. (. . . .) Inspiration is everywhere:  we just have to keep our antennas clear and our egos at peace to tap into it.

Thank you, thank you, Don. Your words inspire me. My greatest aspiration is to get out of my own way when writing haiku. Thanks for the reminder that the number of inspiring events and beings are greater than me, if I just change the channel.

David wrote:
I often come across a word that begs to be used.



In-Depth Haiku: Free Discussion Area / Re: Spanish-language haiku
« on: February 05, 2011, 02:34:21 PM »
Hi, Lorin. Shamrock Haiku had exactly what I was looking for: haiku (of the kind I like) in Spanish, and names of Spanish-language anthologies, associations, and online workshops. Plenty to explore, here: thank you!

I had read Charles Trumbull's essay in MH (Part I, in which he focuses on the haiku of Hispanic America), but did not find what I was seeking. I just received the latest issue, and look forward to reading the third installment you mention.

Your Gean Tree looks lovely, and when I run my course with the Spanish, I'll come back around to it, as well as Presence, which you and Alan had recommended.

Thanks to Alan, too: In her paper about Carlos Fleitas, Mahrya Fulfer mentioned some publications in which Fleitas has published haiku, and a couple of them are what I was looking for:

Someone else had directed me to a few sites, the following of which appealed to me at first glance and which I plan to take a closer look at:

cat, thanks for your offer to ask around! Yes, you were correct in your interpretation of my question about the "conventions" of haiku: I was referring to flexibility around syllable count, to account for the structural differences among the Japanese, English, and Spanish languages. I was also referring to what Jean Gireaux, Harold G. Henderson, Lee Gurga, and others have explained so well. What I love to see in haiku are a basis in nature, spareness, a resonance between two images, natural diction, sabi, and wabi—and the absence of explicitly stating emotion, intellectualization/philosophizing/moral commentary, anthropomorphizing, aphorisms/epigrams/telegrams/bumper stickers/headlines, and mere statements of fact. The few haiku in Spanish I had seen before Lorin's and Alan's leads were very much like the traditional poetry of Spain, which feel too "heavy" for haiku.



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