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And this is a haiku because . . . ?

Started by devora, November 10, 2012, 04:54:25 PM

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Don –

As you saw, I loved Tundra, and so, now that you mention it, I, too, am curious as to why Cor van den Heuval withdrew it from later anthologies.

It is possible, I believe, to ask him. I heard him speak last on a Haiku Chronicles segment called "Sequences," which aired on July 14, 2012.  The site is hosted by Donna Beaver and Alan Pizzarelli, so perhaps if anyone knows them well enough, they could be contacted for an email address for him.


Scott Terrill

Hi Devora

I did find this on a recent search:

Haiku Clinic #3:
From One-line Poems to One-line Haiku
Part One: The Invitation

"Van den Heuvel experimented with all lengths of brevity, and had already written his famous poem "tundra"—the ultimate one-line haiku. (11) (Evidently, van den Heuvel did not recognize the one-line aspect of "tundra", for in a footnote in his introduction to the second edition of his Anthology, he says "The first edition had only a single one-liner, Michael Segers' 'in the eggshell.'" (12) Accordingly, I will consider "one-word poems" as a different category from "one-line poems" for the purposes of this essay.)"

— Bill Higginson, Haiku Clinic Editor

I think Cor can be found and messaged on Facebook

Hope this helps


Snow Leopard

Going back to the point Don made about Lamb's poem that "there is nothing left unsaid"  I think something like this would offer an ordinary reader like myself more of an opening:

the child reading my poem with her fingertips

The blindness being 'suggested' rather than 'stated' and at yet another level, offering the possibility of the poem being a piece of art like a sculpture or a face or even being engraved on a rock.

I've enjoyed the fantastic discussion here. :)

Snow Leopard

Don Baird

Yes, I agree with this.

"the child reading my poem with her fingertips" ........ is a much more open poem even though it states much it leaves something for the reader to ponder in the "unsaid" (Basho).

I like this edit very much.  Good eye!
I write haiku because they're there to be written ...

storm drain
the vertical axis
of winter

Snow Leopard

Thank you, Don. :)

I am still learning.

A thought - do poets edit a published poem and publish it again?

Snow Leopard


Thanks, Scott, for that link to Higginson's "Clinic" on one-line haiku, which I have read many times, and always learn something new.

I wasn't sure, though, that the quote you quoted answered the question as to why van den Heuval didn't include his Tundra in future anthologies. Did I miss the answer (i.e., that van den Heuval didn't consider Tundra a one-line poem, and thus should not be included in anthologies that contained one-line poems?).

Oh, Facebook as a place to contact van den Heuval. By choice, I don't have a FB account, so it never occurred to me to go there. If you "do" FB, perhaps you could ask him – or someone else.


Yes, Snow Leopard, I like your suggestion about Lamb's one-liner very much, it has places to "ponder." Don said it well.

Adam Traynor

John McManus's take on the Lamb poem, where "reading" is both "she is reading" and "I am reading", definitely helps. Each version juxtaposes the other, and gives a sense of communion between the author and the blind girl.

However, the average reader coming across this poem will probably not be sensitive to the haiku convention (code) of implying an "I" where it is unstated before a verb. Is this a problem?

It is hard for me not to regard the subject of a "blind child" as sentimental. Maybe I'm being a "tad harsh" with this. I would prefer

blind reading my poem with her fingertips

but I don't believe this is the kind of poem ESL would have written.

What Paul Miller says about Tundra makes sense to me, that the blank page juxtaposes the word. Seen this way, the imagination can project itself endlessly on the field around the word.

It is also true, however, that even a "statement" is juxtaposed by the silence surrounding it and calling it into question.

Adam Traynor


Not to start an argument, just thinking aloud. I have hard time to believe that a poet like Elizabeth Searle Lamb did not consider the possibility to have the poem with or without "blind." Maybe if we knew more about the circumstances that led to creating the poem, or about the world in which the blind people live, we would understand it better.
In any case, this is very interesting thread. :)

"The pain felt in my foot is not my hand's,
So why, in fact, should one protect the other?"

John McManus

Adam, I thought your point about sentimentality might have been in relation to the fact that the girl was specified as blind. I think you might be confusing sentimentality for vulnerability.

To say a child is blind is not a sentimental statement. It is stating what is, although I will admit that it's an emotive statement.

I for one am very interested in haiku that deal with dissability in a respectful and honest way, but I am probably biased due to my profession.


Adam Traynor

No, not confusing sentimentality with vulnerability. I don't have the ability I think to convey why I feel the tone of this haiku is sentimental. Feels like a line from a Victorian song or something to me. But I am probably alone in thinking this.


Adam Traynor

Gabi Greve

I have not been visitiong for a long time ... sorry, Old Man Bananas is taking up my time.

As for the question,  And this is a haiku because . . . ?

I find it difficult lately to use the word HAIKU without any qualifying adjective, since there are so many different kinds of HAIKU . . .

It seems a "haiku jungle" out there  :-\
Adjectives are used to define types of Japanese haiku
in ABC order

Association of Japanese Classical Haiku -
Nihon Dentoo Haiku Kyookai 日本伝統俳句協会
Traditional, Classical Haiku - Dento Haiku 伝統俳句

Essential Haiku - Kongen Haiku 根源俳句

Experimental Haiku - Jikkensei Haiku 実験性俳句

Free Autonomous Haiku - Jiritsu Haiku 自律俳句
free form haiku

Modern Haiku - Gendai Haiku 現代俳句

Muki Haiku - Haiku without a season word 無季俳句

Neo-classical Haiku

New Style Haiku - Shintai Haiku 新体俳句

New Trend Haiku - Shin Keiko Haiku 新傾向俳句

Objective sketching from life - Kyakkan Shasei 客観写生

Vanguard Haiku - Zenei Haiku 前衛俳句

Young and New Haiku 新興俳句 shinkoo haiku, Shinko Haiku
New Style Haiku

muki haiku 無季俳句 haiku without a season word
. Muki haiku and Kaneko Tohta .

eigo HA.I.KU 英語ハイク English Haiku
(spelled with katakana to show they differ from 俳句)

Anglo-Western haiku-like poems :

ELH - English Language Haiku
WLH - Western Language Haiku

one-line haiku, monostitch

Japanese hokku 発句
English language hokku - Hokku

free-style haiku
new ku

haiku-like short poetry
haiku-like free verse

sangyooshi 三行詩 Sangyoshi, poem with three lines
gogyooshi 五行詩 Gogyoshi, poem with five lines
Gogyōshi - invented by Taro Aizu in May 2011
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

You find more if you google!
And this is a haiku because . . . ? The author says so.
But the reader is free to think something else, add his/her own lable
or just enjoy it as is !!
Greetings from Japan

Don Baird

LOLL Gabi!    ;D

I say it's a Ford; it doesn't matter that it is a Chevy!  I hear ya my friend.  From now on education just became easier.... all answers to any question redefine truth and the answer becomes the fact.  It makes it so much easier to take tests in high school.  Everyone is a A student now as they define truth on an "as needed" basis!  Wow... I want to go back to school ... improve my grade average with absurd answers that become truths.  Of course, that has never changed.  Most absurd answers did become truths and now we're dealing with that re-alignment today - pluto no longer a planet etc. truths change as perspective changes.

A haiku is anything anyone says today!  Rap is a haiku ... I saw a chopstick haiku the other day ... and soon there will be a car called a haiku!  And when I sneeze, I say HAIKU!!!

Just for fun ... and sillies.  But poor Shiki!

the person, not the mod!  hahaha!   modku!

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

storm drain
the vertical axis
of winter

Gabi Greve

my cat is called HAIKU kun ...


and I sneeze   HAI-CHUM !

:-*  :-*  :-*

Greetings from a cold morning in Japan.



Hello, Gabi,

I love Don's answer to your post – it's akin to Colbert's "truthiness"* – so I hope you don't mind my take.

First, thank you so much for that meticulous list of the different kinds of haiku; who knew?

Thing is, though, I would like to think that some of the more well-known types of haiku on your list have rigorous criteria – a pedigree, so to speak – which distinguishes one from the other and which is recognizable to the reader and writer. In other words, each form is not – or should not be – expressed without some compliance to the paradigm; otherwise, we get back to the question of "anything goes" – which it doesn't (despite such a category on your list).

Re: "this is haiku because the author says so." I am so admiring of your work, Gabi, but here I must respectfully disagree with this assertion. To me, that is just a reiteration of the "anything goes" assumption and does not suppose adherence to any guiding rules and whether they have been met, nor to the internal quality of the haiku, both of which were the original intent of this discussion.

With respect, 

*Truthiness is a quality characterizing a "truth" that a person claims to know intuitively from the gut" or because it "feels right" without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination. Source: Wikipedia.

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