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Topics - Peter Yovu

Field Notes / Field Notes 3: Life-Changing Haiku
September 14, 2013, 01:20:43 PM
For this third edition of Field Notes: Explorations in Haiku, we asked members of a panel of writers to consider which haiku, or which poets, strongly influenced them in some way. I think you will find it interesting, and perhaps touching, to learn the results of this inquiry, and I hope you will continue the exploration by adding a few of your own life-changing haiku.

Was there a poem which startled you, or perhaps nudged you, in the direction of writing? Was there a poet whose work overturned all your previous expectations or beliefs about haiku, and changed your approach to writing and reading?

Other Haiku News / Sad news
August 30, 2013, 03:37:43 PM
I'm writing this with a heavy heart. Here's a link to the NY Times announcement of the death of Seamus Heaney.

Strange to think that the last poem of his to be (re)published during his life may well have appeared in Haiku in English.

Dangerous pavements . . .
But this year I face the ice
with my father's stick

Welcome to the second in our series: Field Notes: Explorations in Haiku.

This time, we invited a panel of writers to consider a pair of related questions:

What can poets who do not write haiku learn from haiku? What can poets who write haiku learn from other forms or genres of poetry?

(I should say that the question as originally posed was:

"What can "mainstream" poets learn from haiku? What can haiku poets learn from "mainstream"poetry?"

We didn't want the word "mainstream" to set the tone for this exploration, and so changed things a bit.
Nonetheless, it hung about in the corners of the room like yesterday's birthday balloon. Some writers ignored it. Some did not).

But as before, writers were encouraged to make the question their own, to be brief or long, and as straightforward or as imaginative as they wished. I think you will find their responses quite interesting, and would like to encourage you to post your own thoughts on the matter.

In this, the first installment of Field Notes, a panel of writers has been asked to explore the question: Where do your haiku begin? As you will see in the symposium to follow, responses ranged from fairly short to quite long, from philosophical to practical to imaginative to personal, coming always from the hearts and minds of poets for whom haiku matters.

We would like to encourage you to add your voice to the mix.

Where do your haiku begin?

(Please note: to navigate between pages, please use the pages function at the top or bottom left of each page, rather than the previous/next function at right).
Field Notes / Introduction: Field Notes
June 19, 2013, 01:07:42 AM
Welcome to Field Notes. With each installment, a number of writers representing a variety of points of view are invited to form an online panel to explore questions pertaining to haiku. No limits are set; participants are free to interpret each question in any way he or she chooses.

We hope there will be, at intervals of six weeks or so, many such explorations. And you are welcome to add your response to this and all subsequent topics.  To add a response, you'll need to register on our forum.  Click the Register link at the top of each page.


All who participate in our discussions are expected to follow The Haiku Foundation's Code of Conduct. If you have a question or a problem with the forum, please use one of the methods described in Reporting Problems.
In-Depth Haiku: Free Discussion Area / check this out:
November 24, 2011, 12:13:16 AM
Susan Diridoni's poem posted on the Foundation Home Page:

coyote chorus
elevator to the roof
of forgotten woods

Also have a look at Sam Savage's work here:
In-Depth Haiku: Free Discussion Area / Roadrunner
August 14, 2011, 06:50:44 PM

As posted below, the latest Roadrunner is online. Though lately Modern Haiku and to a lesser extent Frogpond publish short poems that squawk when they they are dropped into the box of definition (HSA or other)-- Roadrunner for some years has attracted poems which come equipped with box-cutters. Some, yes, are sharper than others, and there is even the possibility that a new box is being constructed into which the nu ku (naked/new haiku) will be somewhat comfortable. . .  but we shall see.

What I do see right now is people flexing new muscles. So these are interesting times for those who don't feel such a thing is a curse. Really, it is akin to the time when some of us saw something shining and unattainable in haiku. Sadly, haiku has become all too attainable.  One rarely sees the presence of something instinctual, alive, and dripping with the juice of something its author cannot claim. (Sorry to sound so like D.H. Lawrence).

But isn't it something like that which we want? Do you know about the guy, Hubert Duprat, who collaborates with caddisfly larvae to make beautiful objects? Check it out--

So maybe poems, short poems, haiku, nu ku, are truly collaborations between us (we provide the materials) and something wild, something which is, but is not. . . us. It is another way of talking about the thing Bly said about the need for shadow to "invade" the poem, to rise into it from an unknown place.

A review of Roadrunner is probably overdue. This means taking a look at the direction(s) a handful of writers are taking, and what that might mean for haiku. And for poetry.

I'll come back with some poems from the new issue which have grabbed me, (and apparently want to add me to the bejeweled tube they are building). And perhaps others will do the same.
Other Haiku News / "Haiku"-- ambient music download
July 17, 2011, 02:44:44 PM
Tom Fruhwacht, aka "earlyguard" is a composer of ambient/drone/atmospheric music. He has released an hour long piece which he calls "Haiku". The music, he says, is inspired by haiku, and the download includes a "booklet" of several of his own, one or two of which I find interesting. His photographs are much better.

You can download it all for free and decide for yourself if the music somehow captures a sense of haiku. In any event, it is quite warm, a sonic sky with sunstruck sonic clouds, and if you like this kind of thing, as I do, you will do well to give it a spin.
Sails / Sailing 14.5 How Do You Spell Haiku?
May 26, 2011, 04:13:24 PM
                                              How Do you Spell Haiku?

Have you read Martin Lucas' essay "Haiku as Poetic Spell"? What he discusses there has great relevance for what we've been looking at, and beyond. What I've been referring to as "sound image"--  (how a poem is experienced or felt prior to being taken up by the conscious mind), he calls "Poetic Spell". They are not exactly the same thing, in part because while Lucas speaks of the importance of sound (including, and emphasizing, rhythm) he also includes image, and says "It's possible to approach the Poetic Spell through both imagery and language". But he seems to give primacy to sound.

So one way to look at what we've been calling "vigorous language" (or "living language"), is to say it is language which casts a Poetic Spell. Of course, Lucas' essay is all about what that is.

Here's Jim Kacian's poem again, with some of Lucas' criteria for Poetic Spell below.

        the high fizz nerve the low boom blood dead silence

There is a "significant contribution of word music/language effects, notably rhythm"

It is "essentially irrational—prose paraphrase not possible"

It "cannot be analyzed in terms of information content alone"

It is "an oral form, readily memorable"

He gives other elements as well, but from these alone, I daresay he would include Kacian's haiku with others, such as Duro Jaiye's

      hatless the seeds of winter in the morning sky


      sharpening this night of stars distant dogs

by Stuart Quine,  as casting a Poetic Spell.

He says: "That's what I mean by Poetic Spell. Words that beat; words that flow". And, "This is what I want from haiku: something primitive; something rare; something essential. . . . It's not the information content that counts, it's the way that information is formed, cooked, and combined. Poetic spells don't tell us anything, they are something, they exist as objects of fascination in their own right". (My italics).

By the way, Lucas presents all this in opposition to what he calls the "International Formula" approach to haiku. But to learn more about that, you'll need to read his essay.

So, what do you think about this orientation to haiku? Or to any of the points Martin Lucas makes? Do you know of haiku which fit his view of the Poetic Spell?

His essay is included in Evolution, the latest volume from the Red Moon Anthology series. Or you can nibble the link below and find a version which, however, does not include his criteria, ("battle positions") contrasting the "International Formula" with Poetic Spell.

Sails / Sailing 14: What kind of sword do you carry?
March 06, 2011, 01:20:09 AM
Over on Periplum, David Lanoue has been presenting a series of "Seashell Games" which, as he says, originally "involved a beauty contest of two shells, viewed side-by-side. Basho extended this format to haiku, placing two haiku side-by-side and determining the winner. The important thing wasn't so much who won or lost, but rather the comments of the judge (Basho), who revealed his concepts about what constitutes a fine haiku". (Italics mine).

In the fourth installment, David provides comments Basho made about two poems he (Basho) judged: "The first poem suggests. . . that the poet is well versed. . . in the skill of giving birth to vigorous language.(Also mine). It ranks thousands of leagues above the second poem. Therefore, if invited to come and look at such a happy product, the writer of the [second] poem should withdraw his wooden sword and flee".

For good or ill, elements of Basho's poetics have been cited countless times in support of, or to criticize, current (English language) attempts at writing haiku. However, "the skill of giving birth to vigorous language" does not strike me as an element which one encounters with any regularity in discussions or criticism of English language haiku, or of translations. Some, I include myself, might add that while "plain language" is often seen, praised, and promoted, "vigorous language" is not. Do you agree with this?

To the extent that may be true, would you say, for example, that notions of haiku being "a wordless poem" contribute to a lack of vigor, or even to feelings that language itself somehow gets in the way?  

I don't intend this to be a referendum on Basho's poetics, but as always, we'll find out which way the wind blows. Nonetheless, along with such poetic elements as "lightness" and "going to the pine to learn from the pine", how do you feel about including "the skill of giving birth to vigorous language" in your critical toolkit, and in your considerations of what constitutes a fine haiku? What kind of sword do you carry?

As with previous Sailings, I invite participants to give examples of poems which you feel exemplify, advance or challenge the subject we are exploring. And in this instance, I would also like to invite those who know Japanese to perhaps speak to ways in which Basho himself used "vigorous language".

And I encourage you to check out Periplum. The fourth Seashell Game gives Basho's full statement regarding the "winning" haiku and the haiku whose author evidently wielded a wooden sword.  
In-Depth Haiku: Free Discussion Area / What do you write?
February 06, 2011, 03:14:05 PM
I was hasty in starting this thread. It is probably redundant. Also, I was brilliantly mistaken in invoking the individual whose name came up in another thread. My apologies.
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