The Aesthetic Coordinates of Haiku: A Ginkō Towards Mount Fuji
by Dietmar Tauchner (translated from the German by Mag. Alexandra Bainschab)
As a student of haiku, I particularly like short essays that develop one, well-chosen, suggestive metaphor to get a message across quickly. For example, when Norman Mailer ran for mayor of New York some years ago, he wrote a prescriptive essay for the Village Voice in which he saw the city as a living organism with multitudes of ailments he intended to treat, if elected: restricted vision, congested arteries, local infections, arthritis, cancers, gigantism, age, neglect, malnutrition, addiction, etc. The possibilities were endless, and although he didn’t win the election, the essay nevertheless made for interesting reading. In this essay, Dietmar Tauchner also uses an extended metaphor as framework for his discussion of haiku aesthetics. In it, he maps for the reader an instructive ginko walk in the mountains and points out as he goes the landmark techniques the student haiku mountaineer will need to acquire as s/he approaches the foot of Fuji, holy haiku mountain. After many a convoluted definition of haiku, it’s a breath of fresh mountain air.
Garry Eaton is the Digital Librarian for The Haiku Foundation. On the first Wednesday of each month he will highlight some part of the Foundation’s holdings.
Please consider making a donation to The Haiku Foundation during our Fundraising Drive, November 26 – December 6, and help the Foundation continue its important work. And visit our Gift Shop to get cool haiku gifts in return for making your donation. Thank you.
2015 Fundraiser Schedule
- November 26: In Memoriam, a tribute to haiku poets who have left the community in the past 2 years; the release of Raymond Roseliep: Man of Art who Loved the Rose, a biography of the pioneering haiku poet by Donna Bauerly.
- November 27: The Haiku Foundation’s Black Friday Gift Shop promo; re:Virals 11.
- November 28: Linda Papanicolaou gives a final accounting of Renku Sessions 3: “A Bowl of Cherries”; a new Old Pond Comics cartoon “Goose Neck”.
- November 29: THF Reports: “Our Frogpond Journey,” Francine Banwarth and Michele Root-Bernstein’s discussion of their editorship of Frogpond; THF Social Media Day highlights of our social outreach from the Foundation’s social media director Stella Pierides.
- November 30: THF Interviews: Gayle Bull; a new Book of the Week: small town by vincent tripi.
- December 1: THF Galleries: “Haiga of Stephen Addiss”; the new World of Haiku country for December: Australia.
- December 2: “Librarian’s Cache”, selections from the Foundation’s holdings by Digital Librarian Garry Eaton; results from the annual THF assessment survey.
- December 3: THF Readings: Tom Clausen; a challenging haiku crypto-quiz from Anita Krumins.
- December 4: THF Lectures: Zinovy Vayman on “Humor in Haiku”; re:Virals 12.
- December 5: “Touchstone Gardens” around the world, where winners of the Foundation’s prestigious Touchstone Awards have displayed their award stones; a new Old Pond Comics cartoon “Jamming Crabs”.
- December 6: THF Lectures: Ruth Yarrow entertains and instructs us in “Haiku with Feathers,” from Haiku North America 2015; a report on the Foundation’s Grant Proposal to the National Endowment for the Arts in 2015.
- December 7: The summary report from our THF Fundraiser 2015; a new Book of the Week: jazztronaut by Geert Verbecke.