Author Topic: Field Notes 5: Criticism  (Read 41016 times)

Richard Gilbert

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Re: Field Notes 5: Criticism
« Reply #60 on: March 02, 2014, 11:34:20 AM »
Ghetto Creep

Precis
Phil's post above offers much to think about.  My post follows as divertissement, from Don's, "Claiming 'this or that' [work of art, haiku] as excellent is frivolous with the exception of amusement." Charles Bernstein might agree -- he critiques with both frivolity and amusement (though with relevance, bite and depth). My post draws on various additional statements made, for example (italics my emphasis):

Quote
"Michael Dylan Welch and others argued for promoting the work of the best haiku poets so as to reach a wider audience."

"A lot of what is published in haiku journals does not look like, or appear to be poetry. It looks like haiku."

"Sometimes one receives an actual comment by the editor for the rejection ... I don't have a way to judge good ones from bad ones."

"self-awareness [for ELH] regarding these roots is limited by circumstances"

"An excellent haiku needs to possess a certain clarity"

"I find overly intellectualized dense wordliness inscrutable as stone soup"

"haiku is at best a tiny spot on the fringe ..."

"[T]hey do not know what thought is like (Pound)"

"[Is] haiku written in historical perspective or is haiku out of this world?"

"... this last post of mine is not the kiss of death."

Quote
“ELH should take steps to break out of the “haiku ghetto” and position itself, by various means, in the larger poetry community.

"... it's a good way to get haiku out of the ghetto and into the hands of poets and poetry lovers in the mainstream."

"Such poems may solve the ghettoization of haiku, but at a cost."

Skip to this part
Is haiku really in a ghetto – or is it a ghetto? It may be worth unpacking this image, tweeze out some of the thinking and assumptions behind it.

A ghetto is a place a minority group lives, especially “due to legal or economic pressure” (wiki). Is an implied sense of oppression appropriate here? Perhaps these synonyms are more fitting: shanty town, skid row, slum. “Gay ghetto” (wiki) is less of a stretch. We are all of a certain color (color me haiku) “with generally recognized boundaries,” yes.

Reading some of the above-excerpted posts (only back to page 2), expressed is the notion that acts of negative discrimination (ignoring, willful ignorance) rain on our parades, our notorious? bookstores and boutiques. Even if a friendly oasis (e.g. "Otoliths -- a magazine of many e-things”) or two exists, will our “difference” ever be understood, much less condoned? Will the power-hungry-money folk of city centers deign someday to stroll further than our outskirts I hear you say?

Is there lurking in this imagery of castigation and oppression a sense of victimhood, a resistant pride?

Do you want this genre to be different or not? Is to me an important question. If haiku (say for the sake of argument it exists) is a style of short-form poetry, a stylism – with its peculiarities yes, yet all told, of a piece as a province of the short form – then we have really hardly handy the stuff of identity politics. So let’s face it, the question of “placing” haiku as genuinely (generically) different, whether as a ghetto or as the rejected, lands squarely in the gaping maw of ideology, in that we are dealing with hidden biases and assumptions regarding the politics of self, poetry, art, society.

But, we do dare to be different and insist upon it, yes? Critics and pundits write about “the [haiku] tradition.” Even if ideological fallacy, this is one way identity “becomes.” Our becoming draws upon the stepping stones of cultural myth, mis-translation, a brooding even haunting sense of esoteric knowledge (as mostly Japan-feudal stories of enlightenment, purity, truth).

More, aesthetic terminology like wabi-sabi or yugen is assumed as central to haiku “difference.” By corollary, this means we shall not apply such terms to other poetic genres. So who's doing the ignoring here?
Quote
    glazed with rain
    water

    beside the white
    chickens

Yugen jya nai!” trans. “Yugen, NO WAY!” (Note. If you don't know what yugen is, you can't claim to write haiku, by some accounts.) Yes we hoard our terminology. Perhaps there’s some crossover to ikebana, kyudo, some additional Japan-based contemplative arts, that's about it.

It’s odd to think of a ghetto, when it’s our own method which not only creates difference but seemingly recoils from trans-genre similitude. If there is no phobia (specific pathology) which has been named for this disorder I would suggest Generaphobia (nearly a googlewhack).

So you want to join the crowd, but also stand tall and be proud. Find haiku in The New Yorker and also in the latest, greatest literary journals and anthologies? Best educate the masses. No, that can’t be right!? Best educate editors and critics. Poetry isn’t really popular anyway.

Let’s imagine then there is seduction and education. If haiku is “poetry with a difference” (for argument’s sake) then it must and readers must necessarily be reminded of this fact (in print). So must we then find in the general anthology a poetry section, perhaps a short-form poetry section, and absolutely a “haiku” section. Is it reasonable to expect haiku to be lumped in with (often similar) short-form poetics, when everything about our banner “THIS IS HAIKU” screams “THIS IS DIFFERENT”?

Excerpt from HNA Seattle 2011
Quote
The Imagining of Japan

The history of haiku in English in terms of its use of, and approach to language has less to do with Japan, than modernist movements – haiku in English, from Blyth to the present has taken genre-defining concepts from the Japanese haiku (such as kire, ma, kireji, kigo, disjunctive compressive phrasing), but their application has always involved a transmutation and integration (for North American haiku) into the Modernist continuum. The Japanese haiku is something we imagine as a modality of and impetus for exploration and inspiration – we exist in a modern literary continuum. (Gilbert)

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“… A poem isn't just some abstract letters on a page; it exists within its social environment. And not just the given historical world of jobs and states and family, but the ones we make through our writing, our publishing, our exchanges. The value of poetry is also the value of articulating specific, yet contestable, aesthetic values. . . .

[W]e tried to focus our work more on an acknowledgement of the structures of language, forms, styles, and also the relationship of ideology to syntax, you might say, ideology to grammar, ideology to rhetoric, with the recognition that language is never neutral . . .” (“Charles Bernstein Interview with Romina Freschi,” 2005)

Quote
done you know and

it comes again for a moment

you thought what was you knew

Quote
There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to  . . . (“The Control Voice,” Outer Limits, 1960s).

An aspect of hidden ideology for haiku has to do with value, esteem, estimation, by comparison to other genres. Negatively expressed, generaphobia may be indicated. What is this implied demand for recognition (of haiku) based upon? Thinking normatively, critics and scholars expect to find 1) group of excellent poets with 2) excellent books 3) presented to the world. Show me the money. List these award-winning books (generally recognized as excellent, not "haiku-recognized"). Name the authors. In Japan,  excellence in haiku requires of an author several books each containing minimally 200 haiku, critically reviewed and recognized, plus at least a few published critical essays of excellence (published in important journals, read by various national haiku groups and schools). One's professional reputation is based on such credentials. What does it say that we choose not to follow Japanese haiku culture in this regard? By this high standard could it fairly be argued that haiku in English has not yet achieved much as a literature? Our critics on occasion praise books of 60 poems, only a few of which may be really fresh -- very few haiku poets are studied enough to competently publish a critical essay in the field. This comment is offered objectively, as cross-cultural comparison, I hope you take it that way. Yet isn't the standard of contemporary poetry in English more or less similar to that of the haiku world, in Japan? You may argue that a poet needn't write in prose, and yet still be acclaimed. The trouble is, over the last century it's hard to find one. (Even Billy Collins writes essays; flat and droll as death in Kansas, that man. Collins by example presents a cogent argument against popularity and acclaim -- a one-man wrecking ball. Many haiku are "Collins ku" unfortunately.)

The question of critical standards aside, let's say haiku ideology demands that haiku be ghetto enough that the individual poem (and poet) can never be claimed as a true center. That it takes an anthology “to make a village.” This would be an interesting approach. Pursued for a paragraph:

Haiku in English remains a tenuous proposal – it may be that some find this very tenuousness related to excellence. There was a negative comment offered previously, that a given author cannot be determined from a given haiku. An old, old story for haiku, and no myth. Haiku an extremely short form, is distinguished by its fragmentary, non-narrative nature. How can there remain any question as to why authorality cannot be reliably determined? Who are we kidding? In rock music, one instantly knows the name of a great guitarist (singer, etc.) from one or two notes of any phrase or lick. Popular music! How much less possible for haiku. I think this will never be true for the genre. And a lick or two is really at most what we have to work with: we are calling it our song. This is a social-literary problem. There may be a phobia. A defensive resistance to the obvious. Ghetto pride?

Bernstein's literary politics, ideological arguments, nearly insane yet lucid rants, attracted a large Gen X crowd to U. Buffalo to study a new (ideological) school of writing. Some of the vaguest stuff, Language poetry (as John Cage never said, “Everything you hear is language”). His encouragement was to take back public spaces – Bernstein urged poetic radicalism, urged that the art of the poem and the desire to reform and reframe society was a relevant synthesis. Voices that speak to this issue with authority have spurred new movements in poetry for quite some time. Might we re-orient critical acuity to the question of haiku and social engagement as a central feature of excellence.

I have little interest in The New Yorker, regarding haiku and social presence. Rather, YouTube, public parks, subway walking tunnels, graffiti, museum eateries, penetrations of the flaccid walls of industrial ugliness, mixed media  -- modes of presentation and spaces stolen from us (the demos), by advertising and other propaganda; even LOL cats (though they are amazingly cute). How to use the power of haiku to reach those with open minds. Take back our (virtual) streets!
Quote
or as was what one was

comes rolling in

as a you and a huge !

I can’t get there, maybe you can.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2014, 12:28:52 PM by Richard Gilbert »

Peter Yovu

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Re: Field Notes 5: Criticism
« Reply #61 on: March 02, 2014, 12:41:55 PM »
This follows the immediate topic centered (more or less) on the last several posts related to criticism--
"excellence"-- promoting haiku beyond the "ghetto etc.


Because I heard my high pitched name whistled in a tree in Richard's post, I will go there before saying anything else (and anything else requires of me that I study the past posts a bit).

Richard says:

 "There was a negative comment offered previously, that a given author cannot be determined from a given haiku".

I think what I could have said, though it may be no more pleasing, is that many haiku poets often seem to be writing versions of the same poem. Why is this?

It would be hard, in most instances, to determine authorship from one or a few poems. But for some who write haiku, look at a dozen of more of their poems and one can be more certain. I think this is true not
because they have promoted their individuality or sought to be different but because they have not denied it.

Again, I don't equate individuality with ego, but more as what I tried to present in my past post:
being oneself is being open to other.

But here, for me, because I am not skilled at it, (I shy away from agoric hubbub) is where things become potentially sticky and where a patience almost impossible to find on a "forum" is required: many of us have come to very different views about what "the individual", "the author", "the self", and "ego" are.




« Last Edit: March 02, 2014, 06:53:07 PM by Peter Yovu »

Karen Cesar

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Re: Field Notes 5: Criticism
« Reply #62 on: March 02, 2014, 03:18:09 PM »
A question I have had for sometime regarding the notion of a "haiku ghetto" and the perceived desirability of promoting haiku to a wider audience is this: Such books as 'Baseball Haiku,' 'The Essential Haiku,' Haiku Moment,' 'The Haiku Anthology,' 'The Haiku Handbook,' etc etc etc have been published by publishers such as Harper Collins, Norton & Co, Tuttle etc. These books and scores of others over the years  are presumably intended for a wider audience than "the haiku community." Would these publishers continue to publish haiku were it not being bought and read?

Consider also:

"Roberta Beary (www.robertabeary.com) is the haibun editor of Modern Haiku; she tweets her photoku @shortpoemz. Her book The Unworn Necklace was awarded a William Carlos Williams finalist award by the Poetry Society of America in 2007, the first such honor for a book of haiku." (Haiku Foundation Site)

Seems like pretty good recognition for haiku from the wider poetry community to me.



              Blue tiger
    Because life is suffering,
        We need one another

                      - Jack Galmitz, (Driftwood)












« Last Edit: March 02, 2014, 03:45:38 PM by Karen Cesar »

Philip Rowland

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Re: Field Notes 5: Criticism
« Reply #63 on: March 02, 2014, 08:05:07 PM »
Karen Cesar rightly points out that the haiku anthologies published by commercial publishers are reaching a wider audience. But perhaps a distinction needs to be made between attracting a popular audience (to a small but presumably not unprofitable extent) and serious recognition by “official verse culture” (as Bernstein has called it). How many reading lists for higher educational courses in modern and contemporary poetry are any of those haiku anthologies on, for instance? Which poetry journals, other than specialist haiku ones, have they been reviewed in? Where are the haiku in other, widely respected poetry anthologies – except perhaps the token sample by poets represented mainly by the other kinds of poetry they wrote? Haiku does sometimes put in an appearance under broader cultural headings, e.g., What Book?! Buddha Poems from Beat to Hip-Hop, and occasionally a sequence of haiku by a poet whose take on it bears little resemblance to that esteemed by the “haiku community” makes it into the pages of The Best American Poetry or the like. Whether any haiku that has come out of the community merits inclusion in anthologies like The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry or The Oxford Book of Short Poems is another question. (I do think an anthology such as the latter – which was reissued, unrevised, in 2003 – should have included some haiku, by the way.) My guess is that haiku – perhaps groups or sequences of haiku that resemble average-length or longer poems – will creep in to such anthologies where it forms part of the work by poets who write in other forms as well. But the more immediate, desirable thing, in my view, is simply the wider appreciation of the best of haiku in English by other poets and readers of poetry, even if that’s mostly in the realm of little magazines and small press publications (as is the case for most contemporary poetry).
 
Ron Silliman's recognition (as judge of the William Carlos Williams award for that year) of The Unworn Necklace was great news, though it seems to have been a bit of a one-off. It’s not as if Silliman has followed through by promoting other fine collections of or with haiku, though he did post a joint review of Haiku 21, Jim Kacian’s long after and John Martone’s Ksana on his blog. So perhaps I’m being unfair: that’s a fair bit of interest shown by a critic who covers such a wide range of work. But where are the others?

Revisiting Silliman’s comments on The Unworn Necklace... the following paragraph sums it up:
“If slam poets & visual poets go around thinking that nobody takes their genres seriously as literature, haiku poetry has been off the map altogether – a genuinely popular literary art form that receives no attention whatsoever from what Charles Bernstein would call Official Verse Culture unless it is for a new translation of one of the classics, or work by a poet, such as Anselm Hollo, already widely known and respected for writing in other forms.”

Richard Gilbert

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Re: Field Notes 5: Criticism
« Reply #64 on: March 02, 2014, 10:28:03 PM »
Phil writes:
Quote
Whether any haiku that has come out of the community merits inclusion in anthologies like The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry or The Oxford Book of Short Poems is another question.

Phil, could you say something more specific, in terms of the question you raise, concerning inclusion in such anthologies? How do you scope out the situation?

Phil writes:
Quote
(I do think an anthology such as the latter [the Oxford] – which was reissued, unrevised, in 2003 – should have included some haiku, by the way.) My guess is that haiku – perhaps groups or sequences of haiku that resemble average-length or longer poems – will creep in to such anthologies where it forms part of the work by poets who write in other forms as well.

Are you thinking of someone like Martone here? Ashbery is a given, though it's doubtful his haiku (as so-titled) have but a glancing relation with "the haiku community"? Adding to the confusion might be Ginsberg's "American sentences" which do appear in a few major anthologies -- he referred to them as haiku, didn't he? And there's Kerouac (to the extent he's recognized as a poet). Would you consider these three luminaries most representative of haiku (experiment) today, from the viewpoint of wider literary culture? If so, haiku, where it appears as experiment, seems to bear little relation to "haiku tradition" or "haiku community"?

Phil writes:
Quote
But the more immediate, desirable thing, in my view, is simply the wider appreciation of the best of haiku in English by other poets and readers of poetry, even if that’s mostly in the realm of little magazines and small press publications (as is the case for most contemporary poetry)

I appreciate what you're saying -- your thought seems to follow from the problematics of "wider audience" reception. But how to get the word out? Would it be possible -- here (or elsewhere on the THF site) -- to present a cogent shortlist of those online and print magazines you are thinking of? There's a plethora of materials; ceaseless research is required to follow them -- not to mention, an ongoing interest in non-haiku-associated poets and works. Your list might be good, for a start -- could you present some concrete recommendations?

Phil writes:
Quote
It’s not as if Silliman has followed through by promoting other fine collections of or with haiku, though he did post a joint review of Haiku 21, Jim Kacian’s long after and John Martone’s Ksana on his blog. So perhaps I’m being unfair: that’s a fair bit of interest shown by a critic who covers such a wide range of work. But where are the others?

Right--. My chewing on this conundrum of haiku and wider audience reception has moved in a different direction. In my last post, toward the end: " Might we re-orient critical acuity to the question of haiku and social engagement as a central feature of excellence. I have little interest in The New Yorker, regarding haiku and social presence. Rather, YouTube, public parks, subway walking tunnels, graffiti, museum eateries, penetrations of the flaccid walls of industrial ugliness, mixed media  -- modes of presentation and spaces stolen from us (the demos), by advertising and other propaganda..."

My perspective has been most directly inspired by Bernstein's lectures and essays. This led me to propose (to Red Moon Press) the The Natural Night Haiku Anthology -- which represents a move away from literary community, as primary audience -- particularly if an ebook (amazon, etc. downloadable) is envisioned, as an aspect of the proposal. The sky is (or was) a kind of ultimate public space--rather larger than a park. It's my feeling that the power of haiku may be limited by those contexts they are typically presented in: the journal, and small-press haiku-only collections (presenting basically the "self" of the poet). I feel that haiku often speak to a larger context, but are not being placed into these contexts, for the reader. Haiku of excellence are potent messages, provocative and deepening. You mentioned the "sequence" (in relation to anthology inclusion creep) -- I'm interested in how haiku might be "sequenced" within stories (like the story of the night sky) which contain "non-poetic" information (scientific, photographic, etc.) and, with a very loose approach to the meaning of "haiku." (You can check out the concept in detail from the link.)

Another decision with "Natural Night" was to retain "haiku" in the title. In my opinion the term retains social value and a sense of history--when aligned with non-haiku topics (e.g. night sky issues with lighting; issues related to ecological awareness). The conflation has aroused curiosity. It strikes me that there are any number of topical issues in which haiku could play a powerful role. We need to step out of brick wall thinking, regarding haiku and “official verse culture.”


AlanSummers

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Re: Field Notes 5: Criticism
« Reply #65 on: March 03, 2014, 05:18:15 AM »
On two side notes but I hope prove useful:

Roberta Beary's award-winning collection was edited to be as close as possible to a verse novel as possible.  This further brought the collection closer together than even a well thought out collection, and would engage readers, and judges alike, in my opinion.

Verse novels can be popular like the haiku titled The Monkey's Mask which was also made into a movie.

Narrative seems to be a strong feature in poetry which is why it so successfully translocated to HipHop and Rap for instance with Eminem, The Streets, Tupac, and slam poet/rapper Polar Bear.  A public can identify themselves with these narratives, and perhaps where haiku is often seen as 'extreme brevity' and anti-narrative within each poem and in some collections, it struggles beyond being recognised as bodies of work.

Regarding fairly new The Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry it has broken away from the predictable and sometimes stuffy other poetry awards.   This year the shortlist includes well-known Hannah Silva (performance poet etc... who studied at the same university as myself):  http://www.poetrysociety.org.uk/content/competitions/tedhughes/
http://www.poetrysociety.org.uk/content/competitions/tedhughes/tedhughesshortlist#silva

A weakness I've observed is that unlike other page poets, haiku writers are often not engaged with performance poetry skills, which are more and more vital nowadays to communicate and connect with an audience.

American Poets Laureate often come over to the City of Bath, England, next door to my town, and know how to perform their poetry and engage in a narrative around their work, and include humor, and capitivate a very discerning audience often made up of published poets, and editors of small presses, and even larger presses.

Hannah Silva has worked long and hard at her craft, and though some may consider her young she is an award winning writer and theatre maker, described by The Times (British newspaper) as 'one of the most ambitious and entertaining poets in the country'.

Many poets are expected to have at least some performance skills, perhaps written a play or two, a novel, a collection of short stories.  It's becoming rarer that a poet just writes poetry 'off stage'.


Revisiting Silliman’s comments on The Unworn Necklace... the following paragraph sums it up:
“If slam poets & visual poets go around thinking that nobody takes their genres seriously as literature, haiku poetry has been off the map altogether – a genuinely popular literary art form that receives no attention whatsoever from what Charles Bernstein would call Official Verse Culture unless it is for a new translation of one of the classics, or work by a poet, such as Anselm Hollo, already widely known and respected for writing in other forms.”

Slam poets, of which I've been a judge on a few occasions, have moved on and attract big audiences for their work.   And often cut their teeth or maintain those teeth in challenging festivals as the world-wide famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  I think some British haiku poets attempted the Fringe, a couple of years back, perhaps it's time for an international group?

warm regards,

Alan

Philip Rowland

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Re: Field Notes 5: Criticism
« Reply #66 on: March 03, 2014, 08:42:36 AM »
To attempt to answer Richard’s questions in reply #64:

I’m afraid I can’t really “scope out the situation” re mainstream anthologies and haiku (at least, not without more thought than I’m capable of right now), though when it comes to anthologies focused on short poems, tend to think that the omission of haiku is largely due to lack of awareness on the part of the editors, or their being biased towards recognizable (well-known) names.
 
When I wrote,
"My guess is that haiku – perhaps groups or sequences of haiku that resemble average-length or longer poems – will creep in to such anthologies where it forms part of the work by poets who write in other forms as well"
I didn’t have any particular poets in mind, was thinking of possible future scenarios, though yes, Ashbery first published his “37 Haiku” as a group in the magazine Sulfur, and Martone tends to present his poems in clusters. I guess I was also thinking of how some poets, notably Rae Armantrout, often construct poems from several very short pieces separated by asterisks or such, that connect in ways that are quite oblique.

Where I wrote of the desired
"wider appreciation of the best of haiku in English by other poets and readers of poetry, even if that’s mostly in the realm of little magazines and small press publications (as is the case for most contemporary poetry),"
you asked,
"Would it be possible -- here (or elsewhere on the THF site) -- to present a cogent shortlist of those online and print magazines you are thinking of?"

This will be eclectic rather than cogent – I tend to follow my nose, and to think that poets who write haiku should try submitting to whichever magazines they enjoy reading or are interested in (after all, if you like some of the work that the editor has chosen, perhaps s/he might like yours as well) – but off the top of my head, some poetry mags that have been or might be open to haiku (though don't quote me!) are:
Print: Shearsman, Versal, CLWN WR, Poetry Salzburg Review, HQ Magazine (not sure if that’s still going), Longhouse (prolific publishers of booklets), Inch, Bongos of the Lord (defunct?), Vallum, Hummingbird, Lilliput Review, Poetry Kanto
Online: Big Bridge, Ekleksographia, Otoliths, Oyster Boy Review, Cordite
and of course there's always (touch wood) Noon: journal of the short poem…

As for 'how haiku might be "sequenced" within stories which contain "non-poetic" information'
as compared to more traditional modes of presentation, it’s a case of both/and, if possible, I hope.

Richard Gilbert

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Re: Field Notes 5: Criticism
« Reply #67 on: March 03, 2014, 09:11:46 AM »
Phil,

Thanks for your further thoughts -- and for the eclectic list! Each new name will be an exploration. I've commented to you before that one of the aspects of Noon that has influenced me is the sense I feel of content-selection as "community" (I think of a forest) -- with a sense of reader-journey. As well, to an extent there are (with a light touch)  thematic issues woven through the pages -- one might opine this approach, intentionally or not, intriguingly addresses issues of narrative and "story" vis a vis haiku. I appreciate the editorial vision and clarity. This may sound like flattery, but what the hell.

I mention this because I too feel potential in the sequence, or strands of sequences. I was not exactly joking with "let's say ... that haiku [are approached as] ghetto enough that the individual poem (and poet) can never be claimed as a true center. That it takes an anthology 'to make a village.' This would be interesting..."  For sure, there have been some powerful single-author collections of late. I don't want to imply a diminishment of the importance of personal achievement -- on the other hand, the fact that haiku can "speak" to each other, via editorial placement -- I feel this potency in the genre is critically under-appreciated. That Noon blends what are considered haiku with more extensive poetic forms is likewise provocative.

I doubt that readers or critics (or authors, perhaps) are quite prepared for the idea of an editor "cohering" multiple works of a variety of authors into a single co-authored work -- I'd like to see a book like this. Reader-journey: I think about this, and I imagine you also consider this aspect deeply, within the process of developing a Noon issue?

(The mea culpa here for going off-topic is that editorial excellence, in terms of presentation, may perhaps be relevant to the future of haiku as a genre.)

« Last Edit: March 03, 2014, 11:45:06 PM by Richard Gilbert »

JGalmitz

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Re: Field Notes 5: Criticism
« Reply #68 on: March 03, 2014, 09:51:01 AM »
Response to P. Rowland re me and the 1927 commentary of the language orientation of language :
I have to say, Philip, that I am all too well aware of what Riding and Graves were speaking of: after all, in the early 1980s I had already read F. De Saussure's lectures, and if I might be so bold, if anyone had been paying attention to my ouvre (dare I?) they would have noticed that around 2005 or so I was already moving in the direction of language poetry in haiku (with Driftwood, A New Hand, For a Sparrow), to be followed by nothing but language poetry haiku. Well versed in semiotics, as well, and the entire language philosophy and self-referentiality mentioned as early as 27 by R & G.
So, it was surprising, me thinks, that as usual all that could be found to represent my contribution to haiku in the recent anthology and even the H21 was one poem and then a few that were hardly representative.
My problem with the quote from R&G was its speaking of Pound et al as dead letters: what nonsense and self-promotion. After all, language either does or does not refer and though it always has a meaning, a referent, it does not have a reference (directly) to a world, given that language is non-motivated, negative in so far as words do not bespeak things, negative insofar as non-mirroring is its ambience.
So, whether or not, say Pound and the Imagists, including WCW, thought there was or was not a world to which words referred and could come closer to, the very nature of language kept their language self-referential and non-enclosed and finished re interpretation.
Whether there is realism or not does not matter given the self-signifying nature of language, right? It is always language speaking itself, never achieving a cinch with the world- even the basic premise that language is abstract and cannot refer to individual existences should suffice to close the argument on realism.
Anyway, thought I'd champion myself,since I've always felt, and not with delusion, slighted and underestimated and over-looked in the slums of haiku. Thank God for Karen Cesar!!

JGalmitz

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Re: Field Notes 5: Criticism
« Reply #69 on: March 03, 2014, 10:06:57 AM »
and to light the molotov cocktail
I would add that the cut
does not the thing make
that I have used ambiguity
the indeterminacy of language
as the american way of stopping
the mind- what someone called aesthetic arrest ( i thought that was joyce's).
To think that the dash, ellipsis, whatever take your choice
brings us before the Almighty, the Void, the Supreme, etc.
is the most presumptuous thing I have
ever in my long life heard;
what audacity to think that this particular
between- as if every single letter beside what it is
not is not how we distinguish difference and identity
and this dash dot dot is the Ultimate bespeaks a naivite
that I cannot fathom.
to speak of the dao god help us
there is a leap between every letter and every word
so I don't write haiku anymore- turned to short short fiction
and free verse just to get away from the sledge hammer
of this tiny tiny little bitsy poem

Peter Yovu

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Re: Field Notes 5: Criticism
« Reply #70 on: March 03, 2014, 10:20:15 AM »
I am a reluctant moderator-- but nonetheless want to say here that it is important to stay on topic as
much as possible. This does not mean that topics introduced are to be abandoned-- they can be
picked up (by anyone) in a separate thread if so wished. That can be done in the In-Depth Haiku: Free Discussion Area.

The subject of language, in the way it is being used here, is an important one, and I hope it will be looked at, either in the aforementioned way, or as a Field Notes subject in the future. I realize that in many respects the subject relates to criticism and "excellence", but it feels to me to be a subject which requires its own base.

Richard Gilbert

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Re: Field Notes 5: Criticism
« Reply #71 on: March 03, 2014, 10:25:19 AM »
Jack,

I think you are way off topic -- we could start a different thread in the "in depth discussion" section of the forum on this (your focus and brief).

That said I know what you mean. You wrote "Thank God for Karen Cesar!!" (Two exclamation points, my god.) You wrote:
Quote
Whether there is realism or not does not matter given the self-signifying nature of language, right? It is always language speaking itself, never achieving a cinch with the world- even the basic premise that language is abstract and cannot refer to individual existences should suffice to close the argument on realism.

So as Karen wrote:
Quote
A question I have had for sometime regarding the notion of a "haiku ghetto" and the perceived desirability of promoting haiku to a wider audience is this: Such books as 'Baseball Haiku'...

Do you then place "baseball haiku" (being as language-self-referential as anything else) into a similar arena as, well, the kinds of things you aren't recognized for? (And really, who is recognized for any haiku?) I think your notion of a fait accompli concerning realism misses the point: the problem of, and assumed stance, of literalism.

Now tell me literalism is a language feature, and I'll ask you about paying the rent. As per Peter's post, above? We do move now away from excellence in haiku. So let's move back into it. Jack: can you speak directly to what strikes you as valuable, in terms of excellence in haiku -- succinctly, as possible. As you know, I think (mono-dimensional, fixated) literalistic thinking is a kind of pathology, and it's a problem vis haiku and excellence, for me. What resonates with you?

A further goad. pnewton posted Anita Virgil's "Do's." Here is
Quote
#4.    Does it avoid simile, metaphor, personification, clichés?

False, false, false, true (if cliché is merely that, lacking deformation, irony or what have you). It's also hard to think of haiku as an "it" -- but I quibble.

« Last Edit: March 03, 2014, 11:10:50 AM by Richard Gilbert »

JGalmitz

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Re: Field Notes 5: Criticism
« Reply #72 on: March 03, 2014, 11:13:23 AM »
Well, Richard, off topic or no, I couldn't imagine going to another site when what I wanted to talk about was referenced (literally) in this thread.
Now, as for Karen Cesar: the !! is because nothing more than Karen acknowledges my existence, quotes a poem I wrote and all in all knows my work.
As to literal, well, there's an interesting problem, because the original meaning (and that's all we have isn't it?) of the word is reference to what is said in Scripture (as opposed to interpretation of it, allegorical readings, mystical readings, and I would add exegesis), and also refers to what is literary, belonging to letters or writing, and in this etymological sense, yes, I have no problem with the literal.
On the other hand, I take what you mean to be that realism as a form of literalism means the vacancy of language when used or the transparency of the world and what is referred to in the use of language and no I do not hold to that view.
Yet, if you know, as you know, that words always refer to words and more words and never reach finally their destination in the thing referred to, but only in a referent (meaning) and not the "thing," yes I agree with you.  But, interpretation is available, I am saying, even in realism to something non-literal, but let me not be too coy here.
As to baseball haiku, no I don't recognize its excellence, yet there is in it- inter-textually- reference to Coover's Universal Baseball Association, Inc., and perhaps Shoeless Joe Jackson, and all the narratives that combine in the give and take of announcers doing a baseball game.  You have a literal book about baseball in the greatest book of haiku about baseball ever written (the only one of course) and does it not bring with it the entire history of the game and the history of history that was coexistent with it?
Or am I playing too much here.

JGalmitz

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Re: Field Notes 5: Criticism
« Reply #73 on: March 03, 2014, 11:16:17 AM »
Would it be too far off topic of excellence if I mentioned my father's telling me as a boy that Ty Cobb was so disliked that at his funeral only 2 men showed up. And, if my wife, who is 8 years older than me should pass away before me, then there will be no one at my funeral- so so much for Ty Cobb and determination and kindness.

Richard Gilbert

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Re: Field Notes 5: Criticism
« Reply #74 on: March 03, 2014, 08:08:34 PM »
Jack, you said
As to baseball haiku, no I don't recognize its excellence . . .

Why not? What's the issue? The topic is haiku and excellence. Could you quote say 2 or 3 haiku (not your own) that you feel have excellence, by contrast?
« Last Edit: March 03, 2014, 11:13:57 PM by Richard Gilbert »