If you click the "Log In" button and get an error, use this URL to display the forum home page:

Update any bookmarks you have for the forum to use this URL--not a similar URL that includes "www."
Welcome to The Haiku Foundation forum! Some features and boards are available only to registered members who are logged in. To register, click Register in the main menu below. Click Login to login. Please use a Report to Moderator link to report any problems with a board or a topic.

Main Menu

become (haiku & transformation)

Started by Scott Metz, July 23, 2011, 04:06:16 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

Jack Galmitz

And, I have to say I am grateful for the discussion Peter and Mark had regarding a basis, possible basis, for the imaginative transformation, metaphoric, in haiku ( and elsewhere). It is not at all digressive; it is remarkably important information and insights you two have provided.
And, please forgive my quoting myself (it's just that I have refrained from publishing my work in the ELH journals for nearly a decade and it kind of hurts to nary see a reference to my work-so understand, I am not advertising myself, merely existing with you).

Peter Yovu

Jack, I love that you are so generous and bold as to present some of your own work. I think I will do the same (after i've looked through some stuff) and perhaps add a commentary.

Personally, I would love to see more of this-- poems of transformation written by Scott, Lorin, Jack, Mark, Peter, Chibi, Eve-- all.

Jack Galmitz

Thank you, Peter. I have to say I needed that invitation.  As I remarked earlier to Paul Pfleuger, Jr., another of our eminent modernists and transformationists, I feel "homeless."  And, I agree, I  would love to see some of those poets you mentioned share their works of metamorphosis with us!

One more, published in the most recent edition of Ginyu:

Quattro cento face-
the body a serpent
laying eggs


Mark Harris

yes, Jack, thanks for existing with us through your poems, a valid way to participate in the conversation, and part of haikai tradition.

okay, here's one of mine that explores the different angle i've been trying without much success to elucidate.

moss in a fold of rock or round woman spring rain

Jack Galmitz

Love it, Mark.  The softness, down of moss/woman's mound, folds, rococo-women, and spring rain certainly work extremely well together, joined/separate.

Mark Harris

thanks, Jack, I'm not anywhere near as well-published as you. I'm amazed by the number of great poems you have to offer. Most of mine are unpublished, so I'm about out, but here's one more

burl bark grown into a wound a word

Jack Galmitz

I think it's a perfect example of how we shift from the outside-burl bark-to the inside-a wound- and an idea-a word.  It's just the type of poetry I most admire; it doesn't "use" the world so much as a commodity form as perceive it for what it is, an internal experience/word.
It's first rate work, Mark.

Mark Harris

thank you.

Perhaps you've (re)started a chain. More poems anyone?

John McManus

Hi guys, here is one of mine that touches on transformation, or does it?

winter fog
the old man turns back
into a tree


Jack Galmitz

I like the poem, John, but the first line (a traditional opening) makes it a bit too evident that this is a question of misperception, no?  We've all had the experience, say, of being up all night and misperceiving things. I think it might be better if it went something like this:

Up all night
the old man
turns back into a tree

Why?  Because the ambiguity of who was up all night makes it unclear as to whether this is over-tiredness that causes a misperception or whether there is an actual transformation of the old man back into his original form after a long night awake. I don't like substituting author's words, but it is just as an example that's all.


I've been greatly privileged to have seen some of Jack's recent work and hope he will post more here.

I'm also excited at the prospect of seeing more of Peter's work and from others.

This is a great thread and long may it continue.


Quote from: Peter Yovu on July 30, 2011, 03:01:08 PM
Jack, I love that you are so generous and bold as to present some of your own work. I think I will do the same (after i've looked through some stuff) and perhaps add a commentary.

Personally, I would love to see more of this-- poems of transformation written by Scott, Lorin, Jack, Mark, Peter, Chibi, Eve-- all.

Peter Yovu

Is it fair to say that "transformation" is the very nature of poetry? One could do an extensive riff on the meaning(s) and etymology of the word verse, one sense being "turning, turning of the plough", which surely implies transformation, as the changing of a field, but also of perspective as one ends one "line" and begins another.

A lot of the haiku one sees relies a good deal on observation of something in the poet's immediate environment (nothing wrong with that) and which wring small change by means of irony or a poignant twist. Here are two from RMA 2010 which appear opposite each other-- (Dorothy McLaughlin and Philip Miller):

morning tea
sunlight rests on the chair
we still call yours

my son
scolding his son
with my voice

There is some sort of transformation in each of these. But to me, they stay within the bounds of the known-- "yes, I know that feeling", but personally, I long for poems that go beyond that and toward the realm that I believe Lorin may have spoken of, where someone might say "I didn't know I had that feeling until you found a way to express it", or even beyond that to "I didn't know such a thing was possible; I could never see from the viewpoint of a lion until I became one".

Not all poems are going to derive from and prompt a sense of impossible or grand transformation, of course, and sometimes a little poignancy is all that's needed. But I get the feeling that most of us don't consider edging, as 
Brian Eno said, "into the impossible". Which to me means letting go, a little at least, of control.

Also on the same page as "morning tea" is Scott Metz poem:

most of
what is


a wild


My sense here is that, while the poem derives from observation, he is willing to let his observation be soaked up by language; he seems to trust that there may be meaning in his observation beyond what he knows or simply sees. He allows the language to transform his observation. Reading it, I don't only encounter a wildflower patch, but I encounter my own changing perspectives in relation to it, I encounter myself in that field, different than before I entered it.

I had meant to present a poem of mine here as well, but this has gotten long, so it will have to wait.


Beautiful Jack!
oh-oh ... modified: Kudos big to you John!  Apologies for mixing you up with Jack .. no smiley face for embarrassed ..... so i give my self the old eye-roll  ::)

winter fog
the old man turns back
into a tree - homeless

Reminds me much of some masters past who were will gifted in transformation and such.  A timeless quality yours, and hauntingly beautiful. Kudos big.  Basho wrote something once of a man disappearing into the fog on a bridge as he looked back, but it is lost to memory at the moment.  One from Buson though, that i do remember, reflects a similar artistry:

On the grasslands where the quail dwell
A sage's backpack too,
Vanishes among the stalks

Translation by Thomas McAuley


" I don't think that Mikajo Yagi's

The falling leaves--
rushing underground I notice
scales on my skin

would make the cut, and yet for me, it is truer, more genuine and has more depth, more interiority and planes than many that do." - Peter

This is a beaut! To me, though, it does (extremely well) what other seemingly 'ordinary' haiku do also: imply a transformation that's taking place, imply an underlying relationship (biological, in this case) which is a basis for transformation, suggest by creating the sense of a perceptive space/place that's between two 'realities' (for want of a better word) or 'worlds'... the literal and the mythical.

What happens next? Does the woman make an appointment with a dermatologist or does she find that she has turned into a snake? Does she catch a train home to the suburbs or does she begin to hibernate in a hole in the ground? Does she find that she's both woman and snake, like a Lamia?

But of course it's invalid to speculate which world is the 'real' one because at this time, the time of the poem, both worlds co-exist. This is the 'between-ness' that many good haiku (& other poems!) create for the reader to experience, some in small ways others more sweepingly.

I don't know what I can post of my own here in context. There are a couple that'll be published in journals later this year that might scrape in, but I can't post those.

I guess all I can do is share one which I believe carries a transformation, though a relatively quiet, even sedate, one and not a transformation of person:

afternoon tea –
each ant takes away
a granule of light           

- THN Volume XIII, Number 2: June, 2011.

That it is 'afternoon tea' time (between 3pm and 4pm) is essential.

Not quite what is wanted, though, I think, in the context of this thread. A couple of others might be closer, but have been accepted for publication later this year, so I can't yet post them.

- Lorin


I've only been able to skim this discussion, but
look forward to reading it more thoroughly later
when I am not utterly swamped.

It's great to hear your voice back in the mix, Scott.

Wanted to offer another terrific PerDiem poem (that just happens to be by Scott)
that seems appropriate here ( sorry no time to comment more,
but maybe others will??):   

the silence grows
teeth- a tree
with cracked windows

- Scott Metz

SMF spam blocked by CleanTalk