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Favorite ku of 2010?

Started by Scott Metz, December 29, 2010, 10:11:42 PM

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Scott Metz

The Haiku Foundation has created The Touchstone Awards for Best Individual Poems published in 2010:

And anyone who has had at least one haiku or senryu written in English and published in 2010 can nominate poems.

I thought it would be fun and interesting to open things up to those on this new forum though and ask:

What was your favorite English-language ku that was published in 2010? And, of course: Why?!

If you feel strongly about your choice, and haven't done so yet, go to the link above and nominate it for the Touchstone 2010 Award (by December 31st!).

My guess is that you might certainly have more than one. For this forum topic though, it might be advantageous (though i could certainly be wrong) to limit your selections to 1 to 3 ku.


Just looking at Modern Haiku's website and I fell in love with this haiku:

pumpkin field—
as a boy I assumed
I'd visit the moon

paul m
Modern Haiku (Vol 41.3 Autumn 2010)

Sometimes I think current haiku is too short and abrupt and don't have enough ma.

Hasegawa Kai says:

A more realistic problem for discussion is that of ma. This Japanese word can have a spatial meaning, as in "empty space" or "blank space," a temporal meaning (silence), a psychological meaning, and so on. Ma is at work in various areas of life and culture in Japan. Without doubt, Japanese culture is a culture of ma. This is the case with haiku as well. The "cutting" (kire) of haiku is there to create ma, and that ma is more eloquent than words. That is because even though a superior haiku may appear to be simply describing a "thing," the working of ma conveys feeling (kokoro).

In contrast to this, Western culture does not recognize this thing called ma. In the literary arts, everything must be expressed by words. But Japanese literature, especially haiku, is different. As with the blank spaces in a painting or the silent parts of a musical composition, it is what is not put into words that is important.

The reader of a haiku is indispensable to the working of ma. This person must notice the ma and sense the kokoro of the poet. A haiku is not completed by the poet.

An Interview with Hasegawa Kai
Robert D. Wilson, Interviewer
Tanaka Kimiyo and Patricia Lyons, Translators

Paul's haiku, in my humble opinion, has this elusive ma.

Let's look closer...

pumpkin field—

Simply enough, you'd say, anyone can stick in a pumpkin field as a fragment, it's an obvious allusion to something spherical like the moon.  Hmmm....

Here's the thing, aided by the m-dash we have a pause before...

as a boy I assumed
I'd visit the moon

So it also looks like a simple phrase part of the haiku, just a clever fragment and usuage of the m-dash.

Of course there's craft, but there's so much more.

There is a use of space that is not obvious, but we literally have acres to move around in this marvellous haiku full of heart.

In fact it captures so many boy's imaginations, like me, for the moon or even Mars.  

This is a magical haiku, and I feel better, and uplifted, for discovering this incredible little poem.

pumpkin field—
as a boy I assumed
I'd visit the moon

paul m
Modern Haiku (Vol 41.3 Autumn 2010)

Peter Yovu

A favorite of mine is not one which was published in '10 but is new to me, as of a few days ago. It is by Etheridge Knight, reprinted in an article by Stephen Ziliak in the latest Poetry. He says, referring to the brevity of haiku: "This constraint, though severe, is more than offset by a boundless freedom to feel".
He then offers the poem

                            Window reflection--
                         The baby sparrow sitting,
                             Listening to glass


o, Scott...I have many!  8)

But the one that springs foremost to mind was awarded a 2nd prize in the recent 'Presence' awards:

Spring rain
I've upset
the little stack of coins

Stephen Gould  (USA)

Why? In short, it takes me into the sound of Spring rain and the sound of a little stack of coins scattering (on a desk? on a bar counter? doesn't matter) There is quietness, otherwise we wouldn't hear either the rain or the small stack of coins scattering. The implied sounds take me to a 'listening' space... and I must say that that brings me right into my own present and I find I'm listening, rather than thinking.  Possibly the most therapeutic haiku I've experienced in a while.

- Lortin

Paul Pfleuger, Jr.

Some that came to mind:

A man drops
his doggie eyes;
peach village

Hideaki Matsuoka in World Haiku 2010 No.6

a falcon dives
how completely
I surround my bones

From Peter Yovu's "Sunrise"

These two from Richard Gilbert in Roadrunner X:1:

Stay with me
with the light out
and water glass

Please feel free to stay here
there's a system you
always said that

Peter Yovu

In posting a favorite poem:

                            Window reflection--
                        The baby sparrow sitting,
                            Listening to glass.

I mistakenly attributed it to Etheridge Knight. It was, in fact, written by Stephen Ziliak, whose piece,
"Haiku Economics", appears in the Jan '11 edition of Poetry. My apologies to him.

The poem to me skillfully balances, or merges, objective and subjective "realities". I feel, without hesitation, that something like sparrow-and-human consciousness come together here. And the play of sounds gives it all a beautiful body to happen in. And happen upon.

Scott Metz

i keep coming back to this one by William M. Ramsey:

   slicing a melon
the seeds clinging to
   what they know

(Frogpond 33.3)

it has everything going for it.


midnight -
the cat steps on
just one piano key

  - Tom Clausen


Given that this is a fairly arbitary exercise, I thought I would offer up some favourites from journals that may not be well-known to most forum readers:

open sky ...
a newly-hatched moth
clings to its shadow

- Quendryth Young, pub in Kokako 12 (a New Zealand print journal).

wind-whittled cave
a huddle of footprints
at the entrance

- Nola Borrell, pub in Kokako 13.

first the black notes
then the white
magpie song

- Graham Nunn, pub in Famous Reporter 41 (an Australian print journal).

John McManus

Without a doubt my favourite haiku of 2010 was Billie Wilson's

campfire sparks
someone outside the circle
starts another song

The reason is that it is deeply atmospheric. As I read it I longed to feel the warnth of that campfire, to be a part of that special moment where friendship and song meets, to feel that suprise of someone not within the group joining in and adding to the experience. The haiku is crafted with great skill and is the kind of poem I really admire.

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