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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 Baird

#45
A quote from one of my essay rants:


"First we discover the river banks and accept its banks. We just might splash over the top of them occasionally but we contain our water (our haiku/hokku) within the banks and search for freedom within the construct of it all. The banks hold inward; the water expands outward. There is an interplay. But to destroy the banks is to deplete the water to nothing ... leaving the land, in the end, barren in a drought of no return. To not push the banks is to stagnate and water becomes stale and unhealthy to body and spirit. It's a balance - a perfect balance that gives birth to perfect haiku/hokku while remaining within the bounds of their respective dna.

In a way, while we are poets, we are protectors of an art. We are students; we are teachers; we are explorers who go up and down the river a thousand times looking for new and wonderful places to explore. There is no boredom. There is no need, in some esoteric way, for excitement either. There is only searching the banks of the river for evidence of a leaf falling and then discovering within oneself a way to convey it without disturbing what really happened - at a physical, spiritual, emotional and zoka level." ~ don

I agree with this following thought one hundred percent: "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)."  devora

When you are asked to a dance/gala event and the person asking suggests that it is a night of waltzing, you have a reasonable expectation that the music will be primarily waltzing.  There may very well be a "break" in the style of music, but mainly, the waltz will be the guide of the night.  That's a fair assumption.

Later in the evening, you arrive.  All you hear is Rap.  It's loud, poetic ... aggressive ... and you're wondering, "where is the area for waltzing?".  Then, the startling news, "this is our style of waltzing and its music."  You're stunned, in a tuxedo and your date in a long, gorgeous dress - ready to waltz. However, you arrived on a fair assumption that there would be waltz music "as understood by the general public (as to what a waltz is).  You discover that the sponsors of the evening have "their own take on the waltz" . . . having nothing to do with a waltz, actually.

Communication breaks down completely once the renegade concept of anything is anything someone wants it to be:  a ford is a chevy; a tennis racket is actually gatorade; a piano is a cello; the sun is a light bulb; a haiku is a concerto; and, Basho, is a fine wine!  The essence of communication is the agreement as to what it is and how to do it - and of course, that language is, today, the primary aspect of it.  We have a general agreement as to what words mean and how they are used.

In a discussion, what does haiku mean (what is its dna?), what does hokku mean (haiku's dna), what does tomato mean, what does filet mignon mean, there is a general agreement amongst folks that words have meaning (the river banks) and that expansive creativity lies in how we use them.  Haiku/hokku is not outside of that expectation.  We can use new and vigorous names for variations of these forms; that's dandy.  But, to transform any form from concerto to rap to sonnet and say, "it's anything the composer or poet says it is" is outside of "what's generally considered communication". 

We must be careful here.  We are the guardians of these old and respected forms of music and poetry and we should take that charge seriously - respecting the amazing folks that either created them (the form) or perpetuated them through their lifetime efforts.  Anything less is self-centric.

I offer this with the greatest respect and have no intention to cause an argument or dissonance.  I'm just pondering out loud and have been for years!  :)

Don



Ps ... and thanks to Kala for here river bank metaphor of which I have grabbed and run with.  It's very similar to things I teach in martial arts and have for years.
I write haiku because they're there to be written ...

storm drain
the vertical axis
of winter

Gabi Greve

Thanks Devora ...
I do disagree with myself sometimes ... but "anything goes"

is a statements you can find when reading online . . .

As for traditional Japanese haiku, you can find the definition from here

Inahata Teiko:
It is very important that you feel free to Write a haiku your way.
But there are certain basic conditions which you as a haiku poet are supposed to observe. .
.
And they are 5 7 5, one season word (kigo),  one cut marker (kireji) .
Haiku is a poem born from a "season word."

Read it all here
http://www.kyoshi.or.jp/inv-haiku/inv-haiku.htm
.
Greetings from a cold morning in Japan
Gabi
.

Don Baird

#47
This is the haiku river banks:

"And they are 5 7 5, one season word (kigo),  one cut marker (kireji) .
Haiku is a poem born from a "season word." ~ Gabi 

Haiku is a Shiki development/creation and based on the dna of hokku.  Of course, he radically changed things up, as we know.

This is creativity within the bounds!  :)   ... and in English we often see s/l/s in place of the natural 5/7/5 "on" (sounds like 'own') meter in Japanese.  This is creativity with in the bounds!  :)



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

storm drain
the vertical axis
of winter

Adam Traynor

My poems resemble the bread of Egypt-- one night
Passes over the bread, and you can't eat it anymore.

So gobble my poems down now, while they're still fresh,
Before the dust of the world settles on them.

Where a poem belongs is here, in the warmth of the chest;
Out in the world it dies of cold.

You've seen a fish-- put him on dry land,
He quivers for a few minutes, and then is still.

And even if you eat my poems while they're still fresh,
You still have to bring forward many images yourself.

Actually, friend, what you're eating is your own imagination.
These poems are not just some bare statements and old proverbs.

Gabi Greve

the natural 5/7/5 "on" (sounds like 'own')

ON is pronoucned with a short o (btw, AEIOU in Japanese are the same sounds as in the German language... good for me)

I think it is better to compare the sound with the beginning of

ongoing  ONgoing

音字 onji

http://happyhaiku.blogspot.jp/2000/07/theory-5-7-5.html
.
Greetings from a cold morning in Japan.
Gabi
.

Don Baird

It's the same a spanish  a,e,i,o,u as Japanese.  Didn't know they had a "short" O in Japanese.  I figured it was always a,e,i,o,u without variation.  But I don't study the language.  "ongoing" seems like it, but I'm not sure.  That would be the same as saying go ON down the road.  Our simple sound for ON - än, ôn.  I wonder if it sounds truly like English "on".     ?    Interesting stuff.  But, honestly, I'm not sure I care!  LOLLL 

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

storm drain
the vertical axis
of winter

Gabi Greve

In Japanese
all the vowels come in long and short versions ...

a and aa
e and ee
i and ii
o and oo
u and uu

and the pronounciation is different for each one.

zoka in Japanese is different from zooka
.
my husband is my shujin, but not a shuujin (a prisoner)
.
It is the fine difference that is important in spoken language understanding.
.
Gabi



Julie B. K.

Touching back to devora's original question, I thought I should clarify why I found John's edit so powerful.

To me, Elizabeth Searle Lamb's original -- 

the blind child reading my poem with her fingertips

is a passive observation of the writer watching the child.  As a reader, we simply watch the child too, and the poem has no entry point.

However, John's suggested line break

the blind child --
reading my poem 
with her fingertips

opens a door for the reader.  Both the reader and the blind child are reading the poem now.  Since the child can not read the printed word, the poem must be in raised print or Braille.  And since I can't read Braille, the blind child must use her fingertips to guide my fingers over the bumpy Braille.  Her hands over mine provide an unexpected, active experience.  The writer (and reader) marvel at the feel of the poem in Braille.  Perhaps the writer recognizes -- in a very concrete way -- that without the reader, her words lie dormant on the page.  Whether or not this meets the definition of a haiku, this poem expresses a beautiful, intimate moment.

So, were I to critique this poem, I would agree with John and say that it suffers from a missing line break.

For those who found the poem "flat", so to speak, I hope this helps.

martin gottlieb cohen

Quote from: Don Baird on November 17, 2012, 12:47:56 AM
Agree with you, Scott.  I haven't come across any true study of hokku where something like "show don't tell" is stated as a rule.  Basho was very clear however, that there should be much for the reader to do and that hokku, in particular, should bring about the unsaid just as much as the said (if not more so).  The reader completes the poem.

teetering grass . . .
just moments ago
a dragonfly

This hokku when broken down "teetering grass" absolutely states something and it does so clearly.  When moving on to the second part "just moments ago a dragonfly" you will see that it is another statement.  But, when combined, they produce room for the reader to enter and begin to ponder - to read/misread/continue to read for meaning.  There is significant "dream room" in this poem.  It is birthed from the pairing of L1 and L2/3 (toriawase) which leaves the reader in a resonant atmosphere of meaning(s).

朝顔は下手の書くさへあはれなり
asagao wa heta no kaku sae aware nari

morning glory:
even when painted poorly,
it has pathos

Tr. Barnhill
.
Written in summer of 1687 貞亨4年夏.
posted to facebook by Gabi Greve

This Basho hokku is paired excellently as fragment and phrase but seems to operate from a single subject instead of two.  It still works amazingly well in encouraging the reader to read and read again for meaning - dwelling in the resonance of the unsaid.

I believe when most critics say "it's a statement, show don't tell" they are actually referencing the poem as being complete in and of itself without the need of a reader to "fill in the blanks" so to speak.

the blind child reading my poem with her fingertips

-- Elizabeth Searle Lamb

This poem is what I call closed off (to me).  It is the classic statement versus showing - meaning that once you read it, there isn't anything left to do ... not even read it again.  There is no reading/misreading/reading again process that should exist in a haiku (hokku) that is paired well for resonance.

the blind child      reading my poem      with her fingertips      (not haiku meter either, s/l/s)

These are the three statements.  They remain that way with little to nothing for the reader to do but possibly imagine the scene itself - like a photograph.  So now, is this a shasei and therefore a haiku and not a hokku?  Is this a Shiki style haiku?  The answer to that could be a resounding yes.  ahhh ... so now we might know what Shiki stylists could be shooting for versus what Basho stylists are shooting for - definitive differences as to compositional aesthetics.  Shiki stripped the hokku to bare existence creating an accessible poem he referenced haiku.  Basho delved into writing hokku based on zoka and karumi ... with yugen, ma, kigo, kokoro and so forth which became a rich study of artful creation of hokku (something that seems to be missing from Shiki style haiku even when written well). The hokku engine is zoka; the haiku engine just might be image with kigo.

Then again,

example 1:

it's raining outside
the moon is full tonight
autumn clouds

example 2:

autumn clouds –
the full moon washes
from the window

#1 leaves much to be desired ... employing lines of imagery and descriptive writing but not much for the reader to do or place to enter the poem as a reader.  #2 consists of 2 primary statements but directly draws the reader into the poem's "left unsaid" area to ponder and enjoy.  The first one, once read, the reader is done.  The second one, the reader is left to "bounce around" the internal meanings of meanings - expanded or contracted more and less according to the reader's connection to the poem. It is a zoka engine hokku leaving much for the reader to do.

The Searle poem above has no apparent engine other than imagery.  Therefore, it is a statement with little for the reader to do (what I think is the definition of "statement" is when another poet uses the word in a critique). 

Just thinking out loud.  Not trying to be right; just sharing what I'm pondering in regards to the subject(s) at hand.

Don, I have cataracts and I read Searle's poem without my glasses like this:

the blind child  leaving my poem  in her finger tips

Honest...but other then not having the rhythm doesn't this have a little hokku in it?

Just trying to understand... ;D

martin gottlieb cohen

#54
Quote from: Julie B. K. on November 26, 2012, 04:12:26 AM
Touching back to devora's original question, I thought I should clarify why I found John's edit so powerful.

To me, Elizabeth Searle Lamb's original --

the blind child reading my poem with her fingertips

is a passive observation of the writer watching the child.  As a reader, we simply watch the child too, and the poem has no entry point.

However, John's suggested line break

the blind child --
reading my poem
with her fingertips

opens a door for the reader.  Both the reader and the blind child are reading the poem now.  Since the child can not read the printed word, the poem must be in raised print or Braille.  And since I can't read Braille, the blind child must use her fingertips to guide my fingers over the bumpy Braille.  Her hands over mine provide an unexpected, active experience.  The writer (and reader) marvel at the feel of the poem in Braille.  Perhaps the writer recognizes -- in a very concrete way -- that without the reader, her words lie dormant on the page.  Whether or not this meets the definition of a haiku, this poem expresses a beautiful, intimate moment.

So, were I to critique this poem, I would agree with John and say that it suffers from a missing line break.

For those who found the poem "flat", so to speak, I hope this helps.

Bear with me; it's interesting what you said, but the pivot in the 3-line poem L2 "reading my poem"   continued to L3 "with her finger tips" meaning the girl guiding Elizabeth's fingertips over the Braille as Elizabeth reads it shows room to explore.  However, with that understanding, doesn't it show in...?

(the blind child)  (reading my poem)   (with her fingertips)

the blind child reading my poem with her finger tips

Thanks for Your Patience,

martin



newtonp

A fascinating read all these months later.

Pond
err ing
hike-ku 

--Peter

martin gottlieb cohen

heat (lightn)ing (blossom)ing (r)egret

Don Baird

"the blind child  reading my poem  in her finger tips" ~ searle

I would have to say, no, Martin ... this poem does not have the qualities of historical hokku (Basho era).  It seems more like a sentence/statement without much for the reader to do.  It's all said and done.  Anyone that is blind must read with their fingertips.  This is the frank and clear truth (about reading).  It's a sweet moment that has a haiku-like quality but not that of hokku.

Just my ponderings - out loud.  :)
I write haiku because they're there to be written ...

storm drain
the vertical axis
of winter

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