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Pop Quiz: Is haiku in English a socially relevant poetics in the 21st century?

Started by Scott Metz, January 06, 2013, 06:27:52 AM

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Hey, Scott,

I've been following the discussions of your question, Is haiku in English a socially relevant poetics in the 21st century?, and although the responses have been serious, articulate and interesting,  they have focused on the social relevancy of haiku, not its "poetics," which is generally defined as "the art of writing poetry" or "the study of linguistic techniques in poetry and literature." * Two responses did refer to this  aspect, but were cursory.

So, my question to you is, Now that you have seen the replies, do they address your intent?  or if not, perhaps you would restate the question, guiding us to how we should look at  "socially relevant" with "the art of writing poetry." 


*Oxford Dictionary

Karen Cesar

"Is haiku in English a socially relevant poetics in the 21st century?"

It can be. Is not always. Sometimes is. 

For myself, I experience no cognitive dissonance in reading Views by Jack Galmitz ( highly recommend!) contemporaneously with  Bashō and the Dao The  Zhuangzi and the-Transformation of Haikai by Peipei Qiu (also highly recommend). I find the two books complement the other.

Both of these books are available on Scibd, if anyone is interested.

as is Barnhill's Basho's Haiku :

Which is not to say I have no perspective or opinions or that I am a pure relativist – I do discriminate – but at a certain point, each person reading/writing haiku must make an independent determination, based on what s/he has read, absorbed, been taught  or come up with on her own, how s/he is going to write. What theories are applicable and under what circumstances.Technique is not necessarily time conditioned. Some translations of early poems appear to be less nuanced than they are simply because we do not share a frame of reference with the poet who wrote them. Some things are subjective; some things are objective. So much has yet to be explored in haiku ... that  I give myself permission to use my own judgement and accord others the same freedom. If someone asks why I have written a given haiku a certain way, I am happy to share my rationale and what theory or theories I (currently) write under.   

When I sit down to write – and haiku is, after all, for most of us in the West a self taught craft/art – the following poem comes to mind:

choosing a swimsuit –
when did his eyes
replace mine?

mizugi erabu itsu shika kare no me to natte (Ibid.)

Mayuzumi Madoka

(Translation Makoto Ueda, Haiku by Japanese Women, Far Beyond the Field)

and this one:

Even with insects—
some can sing,
some can't.
Source: The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho Buson and Issa (The Ecco Press, 1994)

Happy singing!  ;)

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