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developing vocabulary

Started by chibi575, July 09, 2011, 12:35:21 AM

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Gabi Greve

QuoteGabi, I am all for upholding tradition, but could this desire to honour the traditional prejudice haiku poets and readers against writing and reading poems that are firmly outside the traditional schools of thought?

I guess Shiki had a good reason when he advocated the word HAIKU
instead of using HOKKU.
And the GENDAI folk know why they use this word.

Every haiku poet has his own way of looking at lables, after studying enough to understand what he is writing.

I like sushi, but not pizza. Does that make me prejudiced against Italian food?
No, it just shows my likes and no-likes.

Keep your heart open !
Gabi

.
.

Don Baird

Hey John,

Yes, I absolutely agree that poets should write anything they want.  I'm wondering though, if we write ...

dog across the street
many people on the grass
doing nothing

...if that is a haiku and should be called one, therefore?  If we agree to break any standard of Japanese Haiku and still call it haiku, then shouldn't this one have the same right to be called a haiku.  And, if not, where is the line drawn.  Once an art form is severely distorted, is it still the art form or something brand new?  When does it need a new name? 

sweet potato moon
a few ravens soaring
blur the night

What is it? 

I think a problem we might be having is that haiku has been defined in so many ways that no one actually knows what it is anymore (except in certain circles of Japan).  When something like this occurs, it seems only logical to return to its roots ... and study. 

This is a fantastic thread and you are posing excellent food for thought, John.

best,

Don
I write haiku because they're there to be written ...

storm drain
the vertical axis
of winter

John McManus

Gabi, I am sensing I might have hit a nerve with you, so I apologise for any offence given. I am merely trying to articulate that I have found some people who write haiku and take it seriously to be somewhat unwilling to accept poems that push against common boundaries or rules as an authentic haiku.

Don, I'm glad you made the point about definition and the confusion that surrounds such definitions. It is no secret that art definitions are open for redefinition, depending on the behaviour and attitude of artists in the present. Whether that is a good or a bad thing only time will tell, but it is a historical truth which has played itself out thousands of time through the history of art, and thus quite irrefutable.

Personally I would consider the poems you posted to be haiku. They are short, use image, employ common language and capture an aspect of existence. What do you or anyone else think?

warmest,
John               

       

AlanSummers

I'd say that Don's second example of a short piece "and if it's a haiku or not", looks pretty much okay as a haiku to me. I rather like it. ;-)

I have noticed that individuals are sometimes too polarised in following this school or that school.  Even in Japan some students have famously left one school for another.  Haiku moves on, and so did Basho, even on his deathbed.  He famously said he did not want his students to copy him but develop their own style.

We are all a kind of student of Basho's if we've read as much about him as we can surely?

A poet should always check out other poetries, other schools.  Thank goodness for people like Santoka and Ozaki, and all the others afterwards, because they all help both highly traditional Japanese haiku practice, as well as modern and contemporary haiku practice keep in touch, and keep the bar raised.

Just think Bill Manhire's On Originality. ;-)

all my best,

Alan

Don Baird

@John ... great response!

@Alan ... You are so right about different schools.  And, yes ... it seems clear that Basho wanted folks to find their own voice but he was also quite strict about certain things, as you know (in particular zoka).  Different schools within a source framework is one thing; schools clearly and abstractly out of the source framework would no longer be considered part of the family of that framework - might no longer be considered a haiku.

Humans for example, are no longer considered monkeys (give or take an inch) though many continue to behave like them!  LOLLLLL   ::)

best to you,

Don

ps ... I consider my first example (intentionally) to not be a haiku; the second one, while different in some ways, I consider to be a haiku ... food for thought and chat.  :)
I write haiku because they're there to be written ...

storm drain
the vertical axis
of winter

Scott Metz

Creating a vocabulary to work with can indeed be extremely valuable and i believe a number of people have already produced some remarkable writing in this regard.

Of course there is kigo/season words, which have already long been a cornerstone and remain very important to many poets.

Expanding from this are keywords, which, though they lack season, expand our definition of nature and the wild with such examples as mountain, cloud, ocean, rocket, knife, etc. Universal words—promoted and sort of put forward for consideration in some way or another by such poets as Kaneko Tohta, Ban'ya Natsuishi, Jim Kacian (Beyond Kigo: Haiku in the Next Millennium: http://www.gendaihaiku.com/kacian/beyondkigo.html) and Richard Gilbert (The Season of 'No-Season' in Contemporary Haiku: http://simplyhaiku.com/SHv4n2/features/Gilbert.html).

Haruo Shirane has also already given us some vital vocabulary in my opinion: the vertical and horizontal axes. The horizontal axis being "the present, the comtemporary world; and the . . . vertical, leading back into the past, to history, to other poems." This from his game-changing essay "Beyond the Haiku Moment" wherein he posits, among other things, that if Bashō and Buson were around these days "they would probably feel that the vertical axis, the movement across time, was largely missing" (http://www.haikupoet.com/definitions/beyond_the_haiku_moment.html).

Richard Gilbert's Poems of Consciousness (PoC) offers a plethora of vocabulary one can use when discussing haiku in relation to language, consciousness and art. His essay, "The Disjunctive Dragonfly" offers a virtual cornucopia of disjunctive vocabulary for poets and academics of poetry that includes: (1) perceptual disjunction, (2) misreading as meaning, (3) overturning semantic expectations, and (4) linguistic oxymoron. Plus thirteen additional cognitive shifts found in haiku including: (5) imagistic fusion, (6) metaphoric fusion, (7) symmetrical rhythmic substitution, (8) concrete disjunction, (9) rhythmic disjunction, (10) the impossibly true, (11) displaced mythic resonance, (12) misplaced anthropomorphism, (13) unsatisfactory object, (14) pointing to the missing subject, (15) semantic register shift, (16) elemental animism, and (17) irruptive collocation. As Randy Brooks noted in his review of PoC, "these types are ripe for exploration," and hopes that, "Gilbert and others seek examples and discussions of haiku employing his categories in the future" (http://www.modernhaiku.org/bookreviews/Gilbert2009.html).

Perhaps this would be something we could do/explore with the Per Diem poems presented on THF website each day (?).

Also, recently, Jim Kacian published his short essay, "The Way of One" (http://www.roadrunnerjournal.net/pages102/roadrunner_X-2.pdf, pages 64-70) in the journal i edit, Roadrunner. In this piece he focuses on English-language haiku written in one line and the vocabulary we can use when discussing the poetic and language techniques employed when writing them and, like Gilbert, the way they affect the reader's intake of them. He uses such vocabulary as "one line–one thought", "speedrush" and "multistops". When writing about his term "one line-one thought", Jim uses the phrase "Kubrickian", which i especially like.

In Richard's PoC, Hasegawa Kai discusses in an interview with him some really challenging and important vocabulary: ba (the literal place/environment/atmosphere) and how kire (cutting)—an extremely important concept and technique, very relevant in relation to RGilbert's disjunctive techniques mentioned above as well as JKacian's one-line haiku vocab—relate to one another. JKacian also wrote about ba in his "So:ba" essay (http://www.gendaihaiku.com/kacian/so-ba.html).

I would love to see more discussion about kire and another term discussed by Hasegawa Kai: ma ("space—"betweeness," alternate dimension or time, a psycho-poetic interval of betweeness—non-literal reality arising as resonance, between and through words, and beyond them"). A most interesting vocabulary term for haiku and the poetry world to utilize, and one i think about more and more when i write.

And i'm not sure if anyone has gotten their hands on it yet, but there is a new book by the Kon Nichi Translation Group, a translation of a speech given my Kaneko Tohta (he just won't give up trying to be special) entitled Ikimonofuei: Poetic Composition on Living Things (Red Moon Press, 2011). Ikimonofuei is a term (vocabulary?) he uses with the intention "to be placed in opposition to Takahama Kyoshi's term kachofuei (poetic composition on birds and flowers), as the sense of his term remains problematic." A wonderful short read for anyone interested (in addition, he explains his love for older haiku, especially Issa, not just modern/contemporary). Perhaps most importantly he discusses Shiki's concept of shasei, and shows how incredibly maligned and misread it has been over the years directly because of Kyoshi (not surprising considering he was a megalomaniacal fascist). One revelation being that Shiki "never used the term "objective"" and that "subjectivity was an extremely important aspect of haiku composition for [him]. . . ".

Personally, i have become completely annoyed and fed-up with the whole "this is what the EAST does/this is the EAST" (no ego, no I, nirvana-blissed out detachment) and "this is what the WEST does" (EGO!, horrid, rampant individualism) divide; that the East is good and the West is bad for these reasons. It's ahistorical, blown out of proportion, completely untrue, and completely unhelpful as a way of talking about haiku or poetry in general. Not only ahistorical but reductive, overly simplistic and extremely narrow. It makes all of Japanese haiku sound like they are and should be (ELH as well) a reflection of a Buddhist paradise, monastically zen, and if one is not subscribing to that way of writing then it is wrong somehow, or against the rules, deviating from the norm, or something silly like that. It's not that the Zen/Buddhist, "objective" aspect of Japanese haiku isn't there or isn't important or relevant, it's just been completely overblown, misread, and too heavily promoted as "the way", and seems to have caused serious discussion and progress in composition to be greatly hampered (probably thanks, of course, to Blyth and Kerouac/Snyder). I think it's become, in many ways, a really pretentious, cliched, and phony way of composing, and expecting others to do the same. It's an over fascination with "the other" that really impinges serious discussion and better poems. I find the continued emphasis to be just so tiring; worst of all, it, and "hyper-literalism", continue to infuse the creation of seriously bad poetry. I just reread Yatsuka Ishihara's Red Fuji collection, translated by Tadashi Kondo and William J. Higginson, and he (not a radical by most standards) had some really interesting things to say with regards to this (from the intro):

"Yatsuka stresses looking inward rather than only looking at nature . . . . His expression "introspective shaping" means "shaping the scenery of the human mind." "The season word (kigo) is a window to the mind." He looks outside to inside through the window of kigo. He doesn't simply want his disciples to see flowers, trees, and landscapes simply, but as reflections of the mind. "Everything", he says, "exists within the mind to begin with." He wants haiku to express and unveil the mind and feeling. "In haiku," he says, "the subject is always I, but the I is implied,  not directly expressed. Whatever the subject, whether you, he, she, or it, it is always I." (my emphasis). To not use "I" in the Japanese language, especially for something as short as a haiku, is certainly convenient; it would take up room; and so the implication is there (and having now, rereading Makoto Ueda's Anthology of Modern Japanese Haiku, there are quite a lot of poems where he uses "I" in the translations). In English, it's no big deal throwing in a single syllable for the sake of clarity at times.

Anywayz, i've rambled more than enough.



Lorin

Quote from: Don Baird on July 19, 2011, 04:39:45 PM
I believe this ELH point of view has emersed us into a lightless tunnel of hypocrisy.  When the Japanese were first writing poetry, they used the Chinese language to do so.   It wasn't until later that the Japanese poets wrote their poetry in the Japanese language (which developed later).  When the Japanese began to write primarily in the Japanese language, the reference became "Japanese Language poetry" not dissimilar to what is being forced on English language poets of today.  But, what folks are not saying is that the JLP designation was soon to be ignored.  EHL needs to be soon ignored and haiku needs to be called what it is in any language - "haiku".

There are those today who insist on English speaking poets to continue to use such a designation as English Language Haiku, ELH.  My premise is that it isn't necessary to do so.  And it's the hypocrisy of the century in haiku and poetry in general to force the odd term ELH on anyone, especially if it was being done by someone who is actually Japanese!  For now, the most vocal folks pushing this concept on English speaking poets are other English speaking poets or at least, non Japanese poets.  I find that particularly interesting.  

Remember, Japanese poets originally wrote poetry primarily in Chinese.  As they switched language, over time, they began new collections of poetry in their own language.

Again, I ask all haiku poets to stop referencing our work as ELH or any other designation than haiku.  At the same time, I also suggest that English speaking haijin intensely study the Japanese ways and style of haiku in order to carry haiku forward into the world of non English speaking poetry while simultaneously retaining the integrity of the Japanese ways.  It's called respect.

Vocabulary: haiku, kigo, kireji, ma, yugen, zoka.  There is no reason why non-Japanese poets cannot use Japanese words as part of their vocabulary.  They are easy enough to say and it keeps the thought alive that we are indeed writing a historical style of the Japanese culture.  

Just my thoughts.

Don

ps ...  "If Japanese re-write their haiku in English, what is it called?  If USAians re-write their poems in Japanese, what is it called?  This is in part a reason for "developing vocabulary"." chibi

Answer:  it's called a translation. Otherwise, it is haiku.  The need to change Japanese terms into other languages is a frivolous waste of time.  It also distances foreign writers of haiku from the history and cultural ambience that needs to be retained, actually.  It's important for foreign poets to understand the words and concepts the Japanese use in order to keep from straying from the integrity of haiku and its principles.  haiku, kigo, kireji, ma, yugen, zoka, and all the rest need to be studied intensely, as I've mentioned.  How we reference those skills later might not matter, also.  For now, while we learn more about the haiku ways of Japan, the Japanese terms should continue to be used.

I've just now read through this whole thread, with interest, and every much appreciate the thought as well as the passion revealed in many of the comments.

I'm one who does call haiku in English 'ELH' for short, and I'll say why: it's been to avoid harassment by representatives of one school of thought re Japanese haiku, the most vocal and reactionary of the various schools of thought about haiku in Japan, those whom, to paraphrase Max Verhart, seem to have forgotten all about the Matsuyama Declaration.

http://www.tempslibres.org/tl/en/textes/matsudec.html

You'll find among the text the hope that the various world regions will find their own keywords for their haiku, an acknowledgement that kigo is essentially Japanese that isn't necessarily the right thing to imitate in other-than-Japanese haiku. There is no implication whatsoever that haiku which doesn't follow the Japanese language pattern or use of kigo isn't haiku.

Max Verhart's 'correspondent's report' in the current MH, a recent musing upon some of the issues raised in this thread, is titled "A Missionary of Rather Conservative Persuasion" and focuses on the recent European tour of Mayuzumi Madoka, as an official, Japanese government endorsed, 'cultural ambassador'. It is inconclusive, but ends with:

"So maybe we Western poets will be allowed to keep calling our short poems haiku after all."

I recommend it.

I agree, Don, wholeheartedly, that to call our haiku anything other than haiku would be disrespectful as well as a waste of time and an exercise in absurdity. It is an admirable thing about the English language that it has a tradition of acknowledging the source of its poetic imports.

I also agree that it profits us best to learn all we can about haiku, its history and its aesthetics as practiced by the great Japanese haikai poets from Basho to Shiki and beyond into the contemporary era where haiku practitioners are to be found both in Japan and many other world regions.

I admire the succinctness & pithiness of the whole of your ps (quoted above) especially, Don.  :)

Of course a translation is called a translation, and a translation of haiku, if it's a competent one, is a haiku.  Wish I'd said that and so well. 8)

"It's important for foreign poets to understand the words and concepts the Japanese use in order to keep from straying from the integrity of haiku and its principles.  haiku, kigo, kireji, ma, yugen, zoka, and all the rest need to be studied intensely, as I've mentioned.  How we reference those skills later might not matter, also.  For now, while we learn more about the haiku ways of Japan, the Japanese terms should continue to be used."  - Don

My only reservation has to do with your bundling in of kireji and kigo in with the aesthetic terms, and this has to do with confusion in EL haiku circles about what kireji and kigo are.

Kireji
are words. When a haiku is read out, in Japan, the kireji are pronounced along with the rest. We do not have kireji equivalents in English (though as I have humorously mentioned many times before, there are some regional dialects which have something like kireji) The aesthetic concept of kire, though . . . the caesura, 'cut', space. . . is something we can and do use within Western haiku, usually either marking it with a 'cut-mark' or by a clear syntactical marker.

Kigo
are essential to study and understand as well as we can for an appreciation of Japanese haiku, but ( & here is the only part where I'm in agreement with Dennis) one needs to understand them in relation to Japanese haiku and the whole cultural history of Japan.

An example from Gabi:

"Cicada (semi)"

"utsusemi ... cicada shell..."

cicada being born, semi umaru 蝉 生まる 
..... This is a kigo for early summer ."

So far, so good. But just as an indication of the cultural loading of kigo:

""Utsusemi" is also the name of a character in the "Tales of Genji".
The first Chinese character, 空蝉, means "emptyness" or the sky. Symbolically it is used for the frail life of humans in this world and often used in Japanese waka poems."

http://worldkigo2005.blogspot.com/2005/03/cicada-semi-05.html

When we adopt Japanese kigo, we often do it without knowledge of the many implications of the word or phrase, so we use kigo crudely, mostly only as a seasonal reference. When we make up our own seasonal references and call them kigo, do we really all agree (as the Japanese do about their kigo) as to the meanings and references of these words or phrases beyond the seasonal designation?

To what extent is the authenticity of the experiences we hope to convey in our EL haiku compromised if we use Japanese kigo? What if I (with my own Western cultural background including literature and my familiarity with cicadas) associate a cicada shell, not with "the frail life of humans" but with wondrous transformation or metamorposis (& its metaphors, ala Ovid & the classical Greek myths) or

". . . And what you thought you came for
Is only a shell, a husk of meaning
From which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled
If at all. . . ."

- 'Little Gidding' - TS Eliot

Or, to what extent is the authenticity of the experiences I hope to convey compromised if I use eg. a Canadian or Croatian seasonal reference?

Can we (authentically) compile lists various EL seasonal references and call them kigo immediately, since we in the Western nations do not have consensus or agreement as to what 'essential meaning' these words or phrases contain?

I don't have the answers here, only the questions, but I continue to think about these things.

btw, Alan, I loved the humour in the Bill Manhire poem you quoted (thanks for that  8)  ) Exaggeration often makes people think, to good purpose. But I think people should know the position he's coming from, which is clearly that of being familiar with TS Eliot's 'Tradition and the Individual Talent', which is probably the most influential Modernist essays. In it's insight into the currency of the great writers of the past and our relation to them, it still rings true for me. (No, we don't have to 'kill them off'  ::)  )

So here it is, for anyone who's unfamiliar with it, but interested:

http://www.bartleby.com/200/sw4.html

(Sorry Scott, you've posted whilst I was down renewing a cup of coffee, so I haven't read your post yet to be able to take it into account here...I'm a slow old typist)

- Lorin









Lorin

" Perhaps most importantly he discusses Shiki's concept of shasei, and shows how incredibly maligned and misread it has been over the years directly because of Kyoshi (not surprising considering he was a megalomaniacal fascist). " - Scott

Yep.  8) ...and it's so good to hear a spade being called a spade again, Scott.

- Lorin

chibi575

Wow... lot of buzz while I've been away accompanying my wife at the Florida State University library conference in Tallahassee (a bit of irony being the conferencs was about how the idea of the "book" is changing with new technology). As it happens, I came upon a book (the old fashioned hold and carry paper bound book, book):

Book of Haikus 
Jack Kerouac (Author)
Regina Weinreich (Contributor)

It seems, Jack Kerouac happened to think about the naming idea too:

"Then I'll invent:
The American Haiku type:

...

American Pops:
Simple 3-line poems

Reading Notes 1965"

Then later...

"Dharma Pops" (one moment)

"Desolation Pops" (mountain poems)

(Road Pops) ... "poetry of the New Holy Lunacy the discipline of pointing out things directly, purely, concretely, no abstraction, no explanation, wham wham, the true blue song of man."

Interesting read and as part of the published book, are photocopies from JK's actual pocketbook journal.

So, Jack Kerouac recognized the departure between the Japanese literary form, haiku, and what he was trying to write based upon his explorations.

I am doing no different in spirit.


Jack in the box -- pops!


I'm rather surprised about all the replies towards "developing vocabulary".  Thanks all y'all. 

(the passionately ambitious may even try to start collecting a glossary)


Enjoy the HOT HOT very HOT summer!
知美

AlanSummers

Thank you Scott, you've said what I've wanted to say and so much more.

We have to be well read (that's the duty of a poet) and widely read. There is a need for developing vocabulary, and tools, when we talk about haiku to other poets, and the public.

I think this is vital, and finding names for haiku other than just saying haiku is a red herring, although I can see it can be fun, I suppose.

We all know about Kerouac's pops and haikus, and Ginsberg's American Sentences, and Muldoon's Instant Messages, and a plethora of other writers making up names, but it rather dilutes the case for developing a vocabulary when discussing haiku.

Rather than focus on an alternate name for haiku, surely the proof in the pudding is to produce stunning haiku in languages other than Japanese; and not only catch up with current Japanese practice, but keep both in step, as well as develop styles and ideas that Japanese haiku writers will absorb and adapt?

Alan



chibi575

Quote from: Alan Summers on July 23, 2011, 09:36:23 AM
Thank you Scott, you've said what I've wanted to say and so much more.

We have to be well read (that's the duty of a poet) and widely read. There is a need for developing vocabulary, and tools, when we talk about haiku to other poets, and the public.

I think this is vital, and finding names for haiku other than just saying haiku is a red herring, although I can see it can be fun, I suppose.

We all know about Kerouac's pops and haikus, and Ginsberg's American Sentences, and Muldoon's Instant Messages, and a plethora of other writers making up names, but it rather dilutes the case for developing a vocabulary when discussing haiku.

Rather than focus on an alternate name for haiku, surely the proof in the pudding is to produce stunning haiku in languages other than Japanese; and not only catch up with current Japanese practice, but keep both in step, as well as develop styles and ideas that Japanese haiku writers will absorb and adapt?

Alan




Alan,

I assume that you have doubts as with the last question in your post.  I thank you to leave it a question.

I feel, in part, "developing vocabulary" is proposing a name as the process of taking full ownership of the new genre.  It is part of the art of literature.

I do agree, if a poet feels it not pertinent to the skills developed for the craft then to exclude efforts that do not lend themselves towards that goal.  It is a personal choice.

haiku ... shmaiku, who gives a flying f__k?  some do... some don't but I've personally found a flying f__k fun  ;D

cheers ... ciao ... etc., ...
知美

AlanSummers

Not a question really, and certainly no doubts. :-)

What I love about haiku is that it continues to be a challenge, for both Japanese and non-Japanese alike.

As a professional writer I tend to take to take things seriously as it's my main source of income I'm afraid. ;-)

Was trying to work out what f__k but was never good at crosswords. :-)

As haiku could be said to come from folk maybe there's a clue in that.

all my best

Alan

Quote from: chibi575 on July 23, 2011, 01:11:36 PM
Quote from: Alan Summers on July 23, 2011, 09:36:23 AM
Thank you Scott, you've said what I've wanted to say and so much more.

We have to be well read (that's the duty of a poet) and widely read. There is a need for developing vocabulary, and tools, when we talk about haiku to other poets, and the public.

I think this is vital, and finding names for haiku other than just saying haiku is a red herring, although I can see it can be fun, I suppose.

We all know about Kerouac's pops and haikus, and Ginsberg's American Sentences, and Muldoon's Instant Messages, and a plethora of other writers making up names, but it rather dilutes the case for developing a vocabulary when discussing haiku.

Rather than focus on an alternate name for haiku, surely the proof in the pudding is to produce stunning haiku in languages other than Japanese; and not only catch up with current Japanese practice, but keep both in step, as well as develop styles and ideas that Japanese haiku writers will absorb and adapt?

Alan




Alan,

I assume that you have doubts as with the last question in your post.  I thank you to leave it a question.

I feel, in part, "developing vocabulary" is proposing a name as the process of taking full ownership of the new genre.  It is part of the art of literature.

I do agree, if a poet feels it not pertinent to the skills developed for the craft then to exclude efforts that do not lend themselves towards that goal.  It is a personal choice.

haiku ... shmaiku, who gives a flying f__k?  some do... some don't but I've personally found a flying f__k fun  ;D

cheers ... ciao ... etc., ...

sandra

Hi all,

Would like to respectfully point out that rather than Bill Manhire being "international" he is, in fact, a New Zealander, probably our best contemporary poet (and that's saying something).

We don't have so many poets known on the world stage so I would very much like to claim him for Aotearoa.

Very interesting discussion, thanks to all the participants.

Best,
Sandra

AlanSummers

Bill is a New Zealander, beloved of Kiwis, but he is also very much international I'm afraid. ;-)

A bit like Les Murrray who is regarded as one of the world's top poets, but still very much aussie through and through, and great fun and accessible down the pub, or in a workshop environment.

I think it's great that someone of Bill's stature is seen as a NZ poet through and through but also stands on the world stage.

He is regularly invited abroad, and I met him at the Summer Fete at Bath Spa University where he was the best speaker, even more enthralling to the novelists on the Masters Degree, who aren't often excited about poetry or poets speaking.

Bill Manhire:
http://www.bookcouncil.org.nz/writers/manhireb.html
http://nofrillsnzlit.angelfire.com/Manhire.html

I don't know if we have a haiku poet that is like this since Paul Reps or Nicholas A. Virgilio or Bill Higginson.

It's partly why I like the topic iniated by Dennis here. I think it's bringing out things that show we are still not all confident to forge ahead in some ways, and be ready to consider the world stage for ourselves or haiku for that matter.

I'm really happy to be contradicted on that, and in fact I'm hoping I will be. ;-)

What is clear to many haiku writers is that if the mainstream poetry world wanted to own haiku, it would be very easy, even if they couldn't write haiku for toffee.

That's why places like The Haiku Foundation are so important.

Alan

Peter Yovu

For a while, and occasionally now, I wrote poems from 8 lines to hundreds. I found places that would publish them. When I read and experimented with what was called haiku, I came upon the possibility of engaging with the world and with myself (are they separate?) in an essential way, a way that suited me, and directed me toward the terrors and joys of being present in the world and in myself.

There were concepts, tools, vocabulary that I absorbed, not so much by study (because I am scattered and disorganized and therefore a bad student) but by reading poems I liked, and not only what was called haiku. I am equally attracted to aphorism, photography, folk sayings, proverbs, the dictionary, quantum physics and brain research, all of which informs what I write.

So then I found a place that would publish the short poems I was writing, initially Modern Haiku.    

But I never felt, and still don't, that I need to adhere to anything other than the truth of the moment and the words that come bounding, or dragging, or singing up to it. I have said before that I am more comfortable considering the possibility that a given poem
has haiku than is haiku, which will strike some as perverse, but which works for me, insofar as what we call haiku is a layering of more elements than can easily be teased apart, but which has a quality which can be intuited whole.

The point is that I think the writer must decide what is useful and what is not, and run with it. Adhering to "rules of engagement" fills me with something between dread and a bucket of sand, at least when it comes to art. Tennis or baseball, yes, but if Rilke or Berryman adhered to some kind of rules of engagement for writing sonnets. . .  well, you get the picture. I think what they adhered to was some inner imperative which may have taken substance and strength from the form, but which they claimed for themselves.

I like what Eliot said: "Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different".

If the majority of haiku outside of Japan is bad, I'd be willing to bet its the same inside Japan, for the simple reason that it takes an artist to steal, and such criminals are rare.

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