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Montage #36


Montage #36,
presented by Allan Burns,
is now up
on The Haiku Foundation website.

Montage #36 (“With a Smile”) features haiku by Yu Chang, George Swede, and Jörgen Johansson.

stepping out
with my holey socks
summer stars
— Yu Chang

                                                                                dropping stone after stone
                                                                                into the lake      I keep
                                                                                — George Swede

a man serenading
the wrong window
— Jörgen Johansson

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. I am so glad to have this collection. Yu Chang has long been a favorite of mine and I believe he is coming out with a book, FINALLY!
    I do find a difference between “blind date” and “short night”..but can’t put my finger on it. I seem to feel that when it’s a totally human poem about humans and their behavior that it gives the poem a different character than when, say the loon enters the picture. It has something to do with “the other”…something to do with admitting something of a mystery into the poem…since we can’t be quite sure what the loon calls are. I can’t put my finger on it… it’s just one of those things I feel. What to name it? That’s for others to decide, I guess.

  2. Gentle humor, the wry remark, words tossed into the wind which cause you to look back and smile, what used to be common in drawing room comedies as practiced by Oscar Wilde and Noel Coward is alive and well with these poets. I especially like George’s

    alone at last/I wonder where/everyone is”


  3. I enjoyed reading all of them. Humour is so personal, isn’t it? I’ve read these several times over the past couple of days and my favourite is George Swede’s:

    thick fog lifts
    unfortunately, I am where
    I thought I was

    Well, let’s just say I can relate.

    Yet it’s really good to see quite a few together. I find I’m drawn to this writer’s particular way (though I also appreciate the others) Thanks so much for putting them together, Allan, so I’m able to discover this!

    What a gentle, self-knowing and perhaps a tad wistful touch is this written with:

    her bed
    my imagination
    left no wrinkles

    And how unusually understanding of the woman! How many haiku / senryu written by men achieve this sensitivity, though it is understated, lightly expressed? It does rather make some other haiku/senryu seem self-absorbed and even voyeuristic.

    Also , I find that the ‘I keep reappearing’ one that Kala quotes above has this same kind of self-deprecating humour.

    The ‘crabshells’ one is wry observation, again observant and knowing, but it doesn’t strike me as humorous. Astute, Insightful and quite discomforting.


  4. Exquisite!

    Enjoyed reading this selection, and was particularly taken up with:

    dropping stone after stone
    into the lake I keep

    — George Swede

  5. When I first read, in a New Resonance anthology, I think, Yu Chang’s

    parting her pink robe

    right away I liked it, but wasn’t sure why. My first impression was: parting her pink robe is as pleasurable and life-affirming and full of possibility as daybreak, and sometimes even the same color. My second thought was: the situation is akin to a Hollywood movie from the censorship days, now long gone…as in, 2 lovers sit on a bed or bear rug, a foot leaves the floor, and the director cuts to the next scene, daybreak. Mustn’t show too much. Chaste and knowing in the same moment. Either way, sexy and amusing.

  6. I think humor is essential to haiku; as a tiny form of poetry, it is by definition “radical” and subversive of bigger types of poetry. The poem by Yu Chang manifests the strength of the haiku folded structure: with the completion of the poem, the insight, which involves contrast as well as identity, is complete, and resonant. This tiny poem situates the poet AND the reader in a complex reality: the self of the observer, his all-too-human qualities, and the hyperbolic vertical of the final line. Thus it engages three steps in a sequence of transcendings: first the “self” — “stepping out” has just the right touch of self-consciousness; then the immanence of the “holey” socks (and it’s a nice touch that the sound of that humble word re-sounds with the completion of the poem in its twin: holy! Finally, the summer stars bespeak “transcendence as other” since they continue to absorb the act of attention, now diverted from the compromising holey socks to the cosmic order and beyond it, all the questions that have no answers, the abiding presence of the sacred Other. Bravo!

  7. I enjoy these so much!

    Please consider putting these, or a selection of Montages, into a book. I buy few these days but I would buy a Montage book in an instant! Also the Virals. Some of the best reading about haiku that is to be found, currently. Once again, congratulations. All of you!


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