Haiku has been shown to be fruitful material in investigating the manner in which we come to appreciate poetic and literary texts, providing a promising path for understanding the neuro-cognitive processes of poetry reading. The latter accolade, by way of our first study, has now found further evidence in our second series of tests, which repeated and extended the first. Specifically, the use of the ‘cut’ in haiku creates a recognizable trace which is reflected in the pattern of eye movements that readers make in their efforts to understand the poem – with the eye movements telling us where attention, and mental effort, is focused during initial reading and re-reading. Our new findings show that the use of explicit punctuation to mark the cut in haiku (such as dashes and ellipses) modifies the eye-movement pattern in characteristic ways compared to poems with unmarked cuts. Following a sketch and discussion of the new findings and their implications for understanding how we read haiku, we consider a number of interesting questions and methodological approaches for further research on how the ‘mind-brain’ constructs poetic meaning.
Haiku and related forms, particularly haibun, by their very nature, invoke reparative ways of reading and knowing. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s haibun models (performs, even) these ways of knowing by utilizing the space between haiku and prose to queer the text, and appealing to the powering the power of dialogue in reader-writer relationships. This article highlights Sedgwick’s understanding of reparative reading as a theoretical practice, connects it to haiku aesthetics, and then identifies how these are reflected in the moving parts of Sedgwick’s A Dialogue on Love.
Through the aphorisms of his only book, Voices, first published in 1943, Argentine poet Antonio Porchia has proved to be popular around the world in various translations, especially those in English by W. S. Merwin. This essay reviews twenty-five selected aphorisms for their relevance to reading and writing haiku poetry in English, focusing largely on Porchia’s ideas regarding “nothingness” and how they apply to haiku poetry — leading to the conclusion that haiku may be considered “poems about nothing.” Porchia teaches haiku poets that they can embrace nothingness in the way they can embrace the mereness of now as simultaneously significant and yet insignificant in relation to infinity. The essay folds in numerous tangential but essential ideas, contexts, and other quotations, and includes seventeen haiku by various poets on the theme of nothingness.
Juxta Special Section: Women Mentoring Women