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haiku vs. haiku

Started by lulu, August 15, 2011, 02:47:30 PM

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haikurambler

Hi, Alan. Yes, to simplify:

If 'show not tell is the only characteristic of a micropoem (which may also, at the same time, simulate the haiku line varieties; typically 3, sometimes two, occasionally 1) - then, is this enough to confuse that micropoem with a haiku? Simply calling any three-liner a haiku is already a major problem here in the Anglo-West. When the 'show not tell' is applied (not an easy thing for a novice), the confusion is compounded. Being 'creative', clearly, should not be an excuse for slack understanding and application of haiku's unique DNA. Haiku form and methodology is, surely, something, although flexible, quite specific - not just anything we declare it to be under some naïve banner of individualistic freedom.

-

Moving on to your second response, Alan:

Yes, 'show not tell'. Think about it, Alan. Without this primary instrument could we have a haiku (of any stripe)? Now, whether haiku are poems or magic spells (and the latter can be argued quite simply), haiku does need a formal structure to exist. Certainly the subject matter of haiku is elusive, but the formal requirements are not rocket science. We could argue for a 'state specific' definition of haiku. That is to say, we could allot all known levels of human consciousness their own haiku locale (any interested reader could reference Charles Tart). Why not? However, this still, clearly, requires an understanding of fundamental haiku form. I'm sure there's a place for everything and that everything has its place - it just needs sorted out. In the sorting out we all learn much. Perhaps we even evolve.


-
I wonder what others have to say about these particular viewpoints? There's probably enough here for several topics!


AlanSummers

Hi John,

Just to stay on topic at least a little, I feel that Scott Metz's blue apple verse is a haiku, and that his other verses that incorporate blue apple are also haiku.

Now whether or not they are classic/traditional or modern haiku is a question I'll leave to others, but I do  need to say that even gendai haiku (Japanese contemporary haiku genre) are firmly rooted in hokku and haiku.

It would be great for a respected Japanese haiku poet to comment on the blue apple haiku.

You say:
If 'show not tell is the only characteristic of a micropoem (which may also, at the same time, simulate the haiku line varieties; typically 3, sometimes two, occasionally 1) - then, is this enough to confuse that micropoem with a haiku?

Well first of all I don't see any micropoetry as only defined by it having or not having show not tell.  To me, show don't tell is just another tool or technique along with all the other methods to use or not use.

Whether a micropoem has or doesn't have show don't tell is irrevelent in my opinion as to regards if it is a haiku or not.

If an author decides to call their micropoem a haiku then it's quite possible it is a haiku, especially coming from a respected and competent haiku writer.

If we don't have the benefit of having the fourth line, or knowing the author by the fourth line for whatever reason, and there isn't a label stuck to it, then it's down to the experienced reader of haiku (and maybe other micropoetry) to decide or know if it's haiku.

A good poem is a good poem at the end of the day, and that has to be a main concern for a conscientious reader, and a conscientious editor, if it is submitted to a poetry magazine, or haiku publication.

As show don't tell is not the main criteria of haiku, the only confusion I think would occur is that the person reading a haiku or non-haiku does not know the difference, and isn't a conscientious reader, but may wrongly perceive a haiku is just any old thing forced badly or otherwise into a 575 syllable construct.

You say:
Being 'creative', clearly, should not be an excuse for slack understanding and application of haiku's unique DNA. Haiku form and methodology is, surely, something, although flexible, quite specific - not just anything we declare it to be under some naïve banner of individualistic freedom.

I don't know what your criteria is for being creative, so I can only speak from my experience.  Being creative is as it says, and someone being creative, whether with playdough, or executing a unique bridge or transport design etc... are going to play around until they get it right.

The same could apply with someone new or seasoned with haiku.  I can tell you that Scott Metz is very erudite, and knowledgeable about haiku from its roots right through to contemporary times, and runs one of the most exciting and challenging haiku publications around.

As artists, being creative is our duty, and that includes stretching boundaries and crossing over barriers, and in hokku/haiku that is what Basho did onwards.

I'm not quite sure what you personally mean by under some naïve banner of individualistic freedom but that might have been the viewpoint of the Japanese authorities and secret police during WW11 with gendai haiku poets in Japan, and also by a certain eastern european who reported haiku poets to the secret police back in the 1990s for not creating only patriotic haiku.

So I'm a little concerned if you are against individual freedoms, as that is against artistic nature.

re: haiku does need a formal structure to exist.

Yep, agree, a template, just as scaffolding helps a building be complete, but at some point the scaffolding comes down, and the template is invisible and not showing through the poem.

re: ...requires an understanding of fundamental haiku form. I'm sure there's a place for everything and that everything has its place - it just needs sorted out. In the sorting out we all learn much. Perhaps we even evolve.


Of course everyone who writes haiku should have an understanding of its fundamental form, but several million people, not just outside Japan, often write doggerel jokey statements in 575 and strongly insist it is haiku.

They will say stick to the rules!  But when you mention kire/kireji/kigo etc... suddenly they say damn the rules I can't be bothered.

But a dedicated haiku reader and writer/reader will absorb hundreds of years of examples and anything recorded that Basho onwards have said, and will read, like me, any number between 250,000 to 1,000,000 if they've been a student of haiku for at least 15-20 years, from pre-haiku to contemporary up to the minute haiku.

There will be sorting out, because innovative haiku has to stay the course, not just a year later, but five years, ten years, twenty years later, and more.

I daresay the blue apple haiku is one that will become a classic for many years to come, but that depends on far more than just that red wheelbarrow of course. ;-)

Alan


Quote from: haikurambler on August 17, 2011, 02:49:24 PM
Hi, Alan. Yes, to simplify:

If 'show not tell is the only characteristic of a micropoem (which may also, at the same time, simulate the haiku line varieties; typically 3, sometimes two, occasionally 1) - then, is this enough to confuse that micropoem with a haiku? Simply calling any three-liner a haiku is already a major problem here in the Anglo-West. When the 'show not tell' is applied (not an easy thing for a novice), the confusion is compounded. Being 'creative', clearly, should not be an excuse for slack understanding and application of haiku's unique DNA. Haiku form and methodology is, surely, something, although flexible, quite specific - not just anything we declare it to be under some naïve banner of individualistic freedom.

-

Moving on to your second response, Alan:

Yes, 'show not tell'. Think about it, Alan. Without this primary instrument could we have a haiku (of any stripe)? Now, whether haiku are poems or magic spells (and the latter can be argued quite simply), haiku does need a formal structure to exist. Certainly the subject matter of haiku is elusive, but the formal requirements are not rocket science. We could argue for a 'state specific' definition of haiku. That is to say, we could allot all known levels of human consciousness their own haiku locale (any interested reader could reference Charles Tart). Why not? However, this still, clearly, requires an understanding of fundamental haiku form. I'm sure there's a place for everything and that everything has its place - it just needs sorted out. In the sorting out we all learn much. Perhaps we even evolve.


-
I wonder what others have to say about these particular viewpoints? There's probably enough here for several topics!



hairy

#32
Hello ALL: Fabulous thread! Enjoying very much.

Altho new to haiku (one year in) I'm not new to poetry. Having come from a background of experimental avant garde poetry (I was editor and publisher of THE SOLE PROPRIETOR--a meta-poetic early 80s mag devoted exclusively to what--at that time--was considered experimental: ie meta-, found, language happenings (meta-translations), concrete, etc (8 issues--the final 3 borne along by an NEA grant).
Since I catered to the experimental, on some occasions I was intrigued by certain submissions that were difficult to comprehend and when this occurred, I queried the poet to please submit an explanation because I was interested in publishing his creations and by doing so and by the poet's willingness to prose explode, I was simultaneously learning and improving my own ability to understand.

What I'm driving at: a thread like this one is efficacious for me--especially when seasoned experimental poets are willing to prose explode and share knowledge.
Over the past year, having read lots of experimental ku, my only gripe is that I sometimes find experimental poets guilty of left-brain overload--at the expense of emotional impact (heart qualities).  The poems are like conundrums--clever and enticing one to decode. Of course, this is only me (if an intellectual poem tugs at your heartstrings that's fine). But for me, the most memorable poems are those that exhibit a balance of head and heart (left and right brain) and when it comes to creating some--I try to engage both heart and mind in the mix.

Just my thoughts,

Al  

haikurambler

Hi, Alan. You've made several points there that can be replied to. However, let's re-address this one about 'show not tell'. You say:


As show don't tell is not the main criteria of haiku...


First, allow me to rephrase the statement that I made, you know, about 'show not tell'. Let's clarify my unambiguous open question:


Without 'show not tell' as THE primary formal requirement of a haiku, its initial foundation, would we have a haiku?


-

Now, let's check this topics interesting subject . . .


blue apple
it gives birth
to a mirror

- Scott Metz


The first essential is met, Scott is evoking a virtual representation in our mind's eye. Furthermore, he has made his point transparently and succinctly. There is juxtapositioning - sparking meaning across the gap. Yes, his use of caesura give us visualisation space in which each segment of the unrhyming tercet is allowed to 'breath' (vivacious life into the substance). The mysterious MA arena between stimulus and response is populated by an evoked or invoked vision. The locale of that numinous silent void of ubiquitous mystic endeavour. There is even a potential kigo (or, more typically, outside of Japan, a seasonal reference). So, all is well. Until we get to the stumbling block. OMG! What's this about a blue apple! Then, as we puzzle this riddle, a blue Apple product pops into our understanding via some capricious lateral thinking thing. Sorted. But. Hang on a minute. Is it? Where's the capital 'A' for a proper noun? Drat. Scott must be meaning something else. Well, in that case this apple must be a Photoshop job, or some other piece of 2D art. The only other explanation might be something triggered by Issa's 'laughing mushrooms', or whatever. If the latter then we are pushing into multidimensional haiku. (Which some may believe is the future of haiku. As mentioned elsewhere, Charles Tart's 'state specific; where all levels of possible consciousness, once charted, are to be put to use by science and science's mutable consort, Maya, in her twin roles of art and religion.)


This is what is presented in 'the blue apple' item, among other things. Is it a haiku? Is it not a haiku? Well, yes and no, depending on which lenses we can access with personal credibility. Should this controversial example be hidden from the general global public on the grounds that it will add even more confusion to the formal criteria of haiku? Who is to say? Certainly not I.


haikurambler

#34
Hi, al fogel.

Yes, that's the way to learn - like your style. Also your reference to left/right brain (not to mention the rest). For any readers of this thread who are maybe in the dark about the 'bilateral symmetry of the human brain' (cough), here's quite a good introductory link . . .

http://painting.about.com/od/rightleftbrain/a/Right_Brain.htm

Also, incidentally, do blow the dust off (or buy for a penny on Amazon): The Dragons of Eden, by Carl Sagan. A superb introduction to all and everything; much of it adaptable to haiku 'word exploding' (hairon: haiku theory, or essay).


Scott Metz

#35
i'm assuming the question of whether this poem of mine is a haiku or not has to do with its imaginative elements (blue apple, mirror-birth) and not the form of the poem (in this case: 3 lines, short-long-short, a kire/cut after the first line, creating two parts, and, as Paul Miller pointed out, a possibly strong, mysterious, ambiguous juxtaposition because of the word "it"—all standard-bearer elements and western traditions, in some way or another, since haiku pretty much began in the english language). if it is not the imaginative elements, then i am afraid pretty much nothing written in english that calls itself haiku will apply to whatever definition "lulu", and others, are holding so dear, whatever puritanical lamentations they have such sorrow and woe for.

this ku and the "blue apple" series (about 90** ku in total) was inspired, in some way or anther, i guess, by:

Jorge Luis Borges; magical realism; David Lynch; Ban'ya Natsuishi's Flying Pope series; Michael Pollan; frankenfood; genetics/modern science; Lewis Carroll; Adam & Eve/Genesis/knowledge/Satan; Haruo Shirane's "vertical axis, the movement across time"; Stanley Kubrick's films (wherein there is a mirror scene in each one, oftentimes during the most critical scenes); Johnny Appleseed; Snow White & the Seven Dwarves; surrealism; cubism; the mythological and the fantastic; Ban'ya Natsuishi's concept of "the totality of reality" (which includes the imagination, not just, or only, "direct experience"/objective reality); evolution; mystery and depth (yū gen); playfulness (with tradition, with the concepts of Nature/the Wild and with season); Bashō's imaginative, radical and non-traditional "old pond" ku and compositional philosophies; automatic writing, particularly that done by and promoted by Shiki and explained by Tsubouchi Nenten ("And for each topic, he composed 10 haiku as part of his formal compositional style. . . . Then, whenever he and his friends would gather, he lit a stick of incense, and they would write as many haiku as possible before the incense went out. This may seem merely playful—but the process requires intense concentration. As a result, something of the unconscious is revealed: this is similar to a kind of automatic writing, the automatic writing of the surrealist poets, I believe" [Poems of Consciousness, Richard Gilbert, 155] [interestingly enough, Kyoshi found this method "too playful"].

in addition, these quotes about the long history of imagination in haiku and  how vital it is from Haruo Shirane's "Beyond the Haiku Moment" (http://www.haikupoet.com/definitions/beyond_the_haiku_moment.html) have made their inroads on me:

"The joy and pleasure of haikai was that it was imaginary literature . . . . [T]o create a new and unexpected world. . . . One could compose about one's daily life, about being an official in China, about being a warrior in the medieval period, or an aristocrat in the ancient period. The other participants in the haikai sequence joined you in that imaginary world or took you to places that you could reach on with your imagination.

In short, linked verse, both orthodox linked verse (renga) and its comic or casual version (haikai), was fundamentally imaginary."

"For Basho, it was necessary to experience everyday life, to travel, to expose oneself to the world as much as possible, so that the poet could reveal the world as it was. But it could also be fictional, something born of the imagination. In fact, you had to use your imagination to compose haikai, since it was very much about the ability to move from one world to another. Basho himself often rewrote his poetry: he would change the gender, the place, the time, the situation. The only thing that mattered was the effectiveness of the poetry, not whether it was faithful to the original experience."

Also the following from Janine Beichman's Masaoka Shiki, His Life and Works:

"Shiki found Bashō's work deficient in one area, however: he had not used imagination. In Some Remarks on Bashō, he wrote: "Basho's haiku speak only of what was around him [emphasis in original]. That is, his subject was either an emotion he felt subjectively or else natural scenes and human affairs that he observed objectively. This is of course admirable, but the fact that he discarded scenes which arise from imagination and are outside observation, as well as human affairs he had not experienced, shows that Basho's realm was rather small" (p77).

of course this has been proven to be historically a little off. Bashō did, at times, make up scenes (wrote of and about places he had not been to) and scenery, yet combined them with objective reality and simplicity. and so he did use imagination at times, though not to the extent, perhaps, Shiki would have liked, or that someone like Buson utilized at a much higher percent. this quote also shows that Shiki was not only or all about shasei and objective writing, but that using one's imagination was very important to him (and recently we have been reminded of this by Nenten [as mentioned above] and also by Kaneko Tohta in the new book Ikimonofūei (Poetic Composition on Living Things).

there's also this from Beichman's book:

"Four years later, in The Haiku Poet Buson, [Shiki] wrote of Bashō: He simply took himself as his basic poetic material and went no further than expressing the truth of objects related to him. In modern terms, such poverty of observation is really laughable.

Of all haiku poets, Shiki wrote in the same work, only Buson has used imagination successfully. In this lay his uniqueness.... Using imagination to write haiku, said Shiki, meant writing about what human beings cannot experience, what does not exist in reality, ancient things, places one has never visited, or societies one has never seen."

". . . Shiki's analysis treats the history of the haiku as a kind of evolution . . ."

and so i think this is where the "haiku vs haiku" (the unfortunate title of this thread) comes in. thinking of the haiku art form in such a way is exclusionary, closed, puritanical, not to mention antagonistic. it's a fundamentalist perception of, and approach to, haiku instead of an evolutionary one. i strongly disagree with this approach. if someone wants to call what they write haiku, so be it. there's nothing "sad" about it ("chibi575"'s word), nor should work that doesn't jive with some conservative definition "be encouraged to become its own genre (as the Japanese have named modern haiku, gendai haiku)". it's all part of one expanding web, one genre, one family, "expanding with each poem that's written" (Martin Lucas); nor is Japanese post-war haiku (gendai) considered a separate genre in Japan. that's perhaps wishful thinking (for some reason), but simply malarky. it's all one. a progression. an evolution.***

what the real and vital questions should be are: is it good poetry? is it quality? is it art?

i don't think i'm going out on a limb here to say that if one is only going to write haiku (and want everyone else to write haiku) based on a very specific and closed definition, and strike a pose of fundamental puritanicalism, or write haiku based on poll results of common characteristics, or the uninformed teachings of elementary school teachers (bless them), or some hyper-specific "way" or technique of some poet from centuries ago, or whatever else, then the poetry will more than likely be empty, trite, boring, disingenuous, cliche, pretentious, phony, lifeless, forgettable, and disposable.

those who are longing for haiku to be one thing, one kind of poetry, one kind of box—this mindset—seems contradictory to the entire haiku art form itself.

yes, experimental, avant-garde, nu haiku, or nu ku (new/naked ku), can be just as pretentious, and that's a sincere danger and something poets need to be mindful of, but it is a movement based on openness, excitement, playfulness, elasticity. . . . It's an evolutionary (not fundamentalist) view of haiku's extensive and amazing, and ever-expanding history, and is directly in tune with its fundamental nature of freshness, and experimentation—the idea of haiku being both a folk art and a radical/revolutionary art form, and one which challenges traditions—not one that's over-protective and putting on a coat of phony purity airs that has never existed in the first place.

as i mentioned at the beginning, the "blue apple" ku were a series, and my first at an attempt to take one topic and experiment with it. i have done others ("the queen of violets" and "the king of sharks"; and of course there is Ban'ya Natsuishi's "Flying Pope" series; John Sandbach's "invisible castle" series in his collection a dragonfly and facts; Chris Gordon has done likewise with his "Invisible Circus" and "Chinese Astronauts"; there are Tanya McDonald's "seven moons"; Michael Dylan Welch has played with "seven suns" and the "neon buddha"; Johannes S. Berg's "fun house" ku; the Gordon, McDonald, Welch and Berg can be found in Roadrunner and MASKS). i think it would be fun and exciting to see others play with this concept of personal mythology/topic and automatic/series writing. perhaps great things will come of it, or, perhaps more importantly, inspire new work by others.

i'd like the share the five ku* from that series that were selected by Ban'ya Natsuishi for issue #42 (April, 2009) of his Ginyu journal:


blue apple
it gives birth
to a mirror


cloudless
a day balanced
on the blue apple


in a pool
surrounding the blue apple
the tears of a crow


deep underground―
the blue apple reflecting
billions of suns


on the blue apple
the spider dreams dreams
in shades of blue


and two others from the series that i think are decent:


what if
the blue apple were
a blue rose


the blue apple
sending out waves
to a red apple


*edited: it was 5, not 7, and so two were removed
**not 20 like i originally posted but actually 90 (i was going off an edited document)
***some deletion, revision and additions here

hairy

Scott: Thanks for your wonderful explanation (I've learned a head and heartful and will read and re-read for inspiration and insight) and thanks for posting your  additional "blue apple" sequence. I love "what if" (and "rhetorical") ku so your final   

what if
the blue apple were
a blue rose


the blue apple
sending out waves
to a red apple


resonates strongly with me!

Much gratitude,

Al

AlanSummers

All I can say is this is incredible work, and really helps to keep haiku fresh, whether other writers want to go this way or not, as good writers they will and absorb, and go their own creative way.

You've already mentioned surrealism, and of course, to me, came Rene Magritte's The Son of Man:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Son_of_Man_%28Magritte%29

He may not have been a surrealist you were thinking of yourself, but a good haiku is a good haiku and adds to its already full vertical axis. ;-)

Thanks for explaining so much in depth, it's been a real treat, and an honour, especially as rightly or wrongly (I'll leave that to others) you are adding to the much-needed freshness and originality always required to keep an art form going.

all my best,

Alan

Jack Galmitz

See Wallace Stevens' The Man With the Blue Guitar!
And, please stop passing up my comments on language philosophy as if they were so imbued with their surroundings that you didn't see them (Just a personal feeling of being miffed).

Jack Galmitz

And btw, the haiku rambler is none other than the reincarnation of that man we all came to love, The Haiku Master!

AlanSummers

Hi Jack,

Thanks re Wallace Steven's The Man With the Blue Guitar as I am not familar with that work and constantly want to learn more.

I personally find all your posts, both here, and elsewhere, not only useful and important, but as vital as medicine.

Keep posting! ;-)

Alan

p.s.  Yes it is John, but he did get some powerful comments from you and Scott, so I'm grateful both to John Potts and the mysterious Lulu. ;-)



Quote from: Jack Galmitz on August 17, 2011, 06:42:35 PM
See Wallace Stevens' The Man With the Blue Guitar!
And, please stop passing up my comments on language philosophy as if they were so imbued with their surroundings that you didn't see them (Just a personal feeling of being miffed).

Jack Galmitz


Mark Harris

from the Borges story, The Library of Babel, which begins, "The Universe (which others call the Library) is composed of an indefinite, perhaps infinite number of hexagonal galleries...."

"In the vestibule there is a mirror, which faithfully duplicates appearances. Men often infer from this mirror that the Library is not infinite--if it were, what need would there be for that illusory replication? I prefer to dream that burnished surfaces are a figuration and promise of the infinite..."

haikurambler


So, in a nutshell, or a pea green boat, even, we are moving into a new haiku world. On the shoulders of a geophysical/kigo model, utilising; show not tell, kireji... and all the other fundamental haiku devices that make the original haiku form tick. These devices being our tools, to select from; perhaps carried over our shoulder on a stick as we walk off the mesa, like that Tarot fool, Carlos, out  in old Mexico. Maybe even getting back home from Nutwood, like Rupert Bear, in time for tea! The idea of identifying levels of distinct consciousness. These 'other worlds' of mythic and mystic experience. Perchance, blending these transdimensional universes, eventually (or initially more like), whilst we focus our rose-coloured spectacles, our psychic goggles, on these strange new landscapes. Yes! I can dig that. Let's evolve. Haiku: Level-42. Cool.


in a flight of fancy—
the butterflies seem more
than their wings


-
You've got some interesting ideas going for you there, Scott. May the Force be with be with us all.



chibi575

Scott, thanks for recognizing my "sad"-ness.  I might add that I encourage out-of-the-haiku-box thinking as such, my "sad" comes from calling it in-the-box of haiku.  Yet, poetry can (should?) be any darned thing... I saw a recent documentary on Herba and Dorthy Vogel, when asked what they considered art they would collect had two criteria: it had to be something that they liked by an artist they liked and it had to fit into their one bedroom New York City, appartment.

I love haiku... that pretty much sums my criterion.

ciao... and thanks for all the fish
知美

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