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Montage #32

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Montage #32,
presented by Allan Burns,
is now up
on The Haiku Foundation website.

#32’s theme is “Looking with the Universe” and features the work of Lee Gurga, Robert Spiess, and Charles Trumbull.

                                                                        exploring the cave . . .
                                                                        my son’s flashlight beam
                                                                        disappears ahead

                                                                        —Gurga

Muttering thunder
  the bottom of the river
    scattered with clams

Spiess

                                                                        . . . but in the window
                                                                        of the doctor’s waiting room
                                                                        a cloudless sky

                                                                        —Trumbull

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Also, the respect we have for each poet and their styles, frees us to find the style that speaks to our own haiku. Each poet finds something that gives voice to thier thoughts and experiences…and it is unique in each one.

  2. Each Montage is like a haiku in a way. It offers so much…
    I not only enjoy reading the poems, but also find the gallery very useful to learn about the poets and reflect on their styles. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the poems in the latest gallery. Thank you, Allan.

  3. Allan, That interview by Michael Dylan Welch is great. Thanks for making that available. I know I have that issue in my collection but it’s been a few years since I’ve read it and it was wonderful to reconnect. Every few years I have to pack up my books and store them so it’s great having this venue for bringing us back to the present. Every few years I dig one of the boxes out and review some haiku that had been old friends too.

  4. I notice that a lot of haiku poets today write everything in lower case. vincent write most things in the lower case. If you hear him read one of his haiku you will instantly hear the way he emphasizes the first word…and in the snowbird note I did for him he sent me the haiku in lower case but when I sent him the prototype he had me change the first word to a capital. I have had the feeling that when some of the poets work with words so much it’s a bit of a pain to capatilize when they have so much to write so often…and it’s an informal thing that just got extended. I personally like lower case with no punctuation since to me the moment comes and goes so quickly it’s really part of a greater whole…so I like to indicate that there’s more in front and more after a haiku statement.

  5. Ron wonders when the use of capitals “went out of fashion” in elh. One clue is the Robert Spiess column in the current Montage. Note his use of caps through 1986 and then the shift to lower case by 1991, with “the field’s evening fog”. Of course, that’s just the case of one poet, and Spiess had been publishing haiku since the second issue of American Haiku in 1963 (and had been interested in the genre since at least the early 1940s!), so he may well have maintained some of the “old ways” longer than others. It’s really just a stylistic choice, and it’s worth noting that at least two contemporary masters of elh do still use initial caps: vincent tripi (who doesn’t use caps for his name) and Garry Gay. I don’t find that this choice interferes in the least with my appreciation of individual haiku.

    Btw, if anyone is interested in more information about Robert Spiess, click on my name. There’s a link to a Modern Haiku memorial (from issue 33.3, 2002), which includes a distinguished-looking photo portrait and links to an autobiographical piece and an interview by Michael Dylan Welch.

    Thanks to those who have commented on the current Montage!

  6. There are so very many haiku here that touch me deeply that it will be hard to comment on each one. Many touch me for very personal reasons, like this one by Charles:

    back from vacation
    looking through the photos
    to see what we saw

    When John and I went on the research trips, I always got so dizzy that it wasn’t till we got home and I could get my strength back that I could connect the images in my mind with the actual location. So often John would complete this by painting the place I didn’t have the strength to get to. Life with John was an amazing adventure.

    And Lee’s:

    exploring the cave …
    my son’s flashlight beam
    disappears ahead

    The image of the cave is for me the mystery of life itself…the origins of life…I belong to National Speleological Society and a couple of grottos. The whole of human history to me seems written in this haiku. Just amazing.

    evening haze:
    in the dead oak a bluebird
    broods her eggs

    This year I had to cut down the branch in my maple tree that supported the robin’s nest…the robin that came to nest there the year my parents died. To see her sustain several years of fledglings did a lot to heal my grief in my parents’ loss.

    And Robert Spiess’ use of words has always fascinated me:
    “Muttering thunder”…”Frost asters -“…the use of “hound” instead of “dog” just adds to the loping gate of animal and the
    echo between “hound” and “home”….as if every home should have a hound at the hearth.

    And I can’t leave before I comment on Charles:

    after the Renoir
    I look differently
    at dappled sunlight

    Take a look at the cover photo on Modern Haiku this issue! Every time he does that it makes me look differently at what I am doing…just wonderful. The photo of Antelope Canyon, Arizona reminds me so very much of a cave I painted that was located in Norther India. These geological formations sometimes are so amazing they truly give you a new perspective on life.

    I have to tell you, these selections are so fine, I almost felt as if there was nothing I could possibly say about them. Each one so much to learn from that it takes awhile to truly plumb their depths. Many thanks.

  7. I found myself choosing a favourite from each author and I have added a brief note.

    a little boy
    alone in the ripening wheat–
    hazy moon

    This one by Lee spoke to me on so many levels.
    A wonderful coming of age haiku fully immersed in the natural elements.
    The use of ripening wheat makes it a very strong haiku in the way it interlinks with the other images.

    Muttering thunder
    the bottom of the river
    scattered with clams

    Awesome visual experience and one of my very favourite haiku written by Mr. Spiess. I have never seen “muttering thunder” used before, or since in a haiku and it links so well with the clams. I like the use of capitals to start a haiku, perhaps we should go there again, not sure when that went out of fashion?

    . . . but in the window
    of the doctor’s waiting room
    a cloudless sky

    A lovely moment from Charles about the human condition and our place in the world around us. So much said in the brief statement that goes outside of the accepted ‘form’ of haiku and does it well. I found it very uplifting.

    Thanks again for putting these up and letting me express my appreciation.

    Ron Moss

  8. Although all the poems in this ‘gallery’ are very beautiful, two by Robert Spiess touched me most deeply. “No wind” and “the field’s evening fog’. The former is so visual that it took my breath away. The latter is filled with peace – the peace I have always found in the paintings by the British artist Constable. The image of the hound coming ‘quietly’, and not bounding along noisily, is just perfect – a true gem. Thanks, Allan, for sharing these lovely poems with us.

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