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Per Diem for April 2014: Transcendence

Don Wentworth has long identified with that which surpasses our usual human experience. In this month’s Per Diem he examines how haiku poets through the ages have dealt with the same issues:

Haiku, as a form, is poetry of the moment, in the moment. Often in
traditional haiku with the coming together of two disparate elements a
moment of clarity or instant connection, a moment of understanding, is
evoked. Transcendence is that moment of clarity, an almost pre-linguistic,
pre-cognitive state of revelation. Capturing such a revelation in words so
it evokes a moment akin to revelation, for both the poet and the reader,
is, for some, the haiku poets ultimate goal.

My instruction to poets in soliciting this month’s Per Diem selections,
however, reflected none of this after-the-fact rationalization. What I
wrote simply was: “The topic for the month I’ve chosen is ‘Transcendence.’
I won’t be defining it; we all do that for ourselves.”

We do, indeed, and so I would never dream of holding either the poets
herein chosen or their poems to the standard I describe. What I would like
to think is that each of these poems, in their own way, refract the
essence of what I was seeking when I put out the original call.

Rise above it all this month via Per Diem, on the THF website.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I reread Don Wentworth’s interesting introduction yesterday and attempted a comment, but couldn’t find the words. This takes me back to my experience with chronic illness and beginnings with haiku. I wrote about this in the excellent Haiku – Three Questions series, edited by Curtis Dunlap at Blogging Along Tobacco Road. Many poets are included (note for new readers).

    I also thought of my mother, Enola Borgh, who was a professor in the English Dept. at UW-Milwaukee. During her last illness, part of her was observing the changes in her language and watching it return. I read aloud to her – poems deeply familiar to her and loved by her, and also new poems. I saw the connections that endure, deeper than language, yet possible through language and love. I called these times together, when we could read and share, “islands of time.” They grew smaller, yet still real. Many hours of rest around them. Now over ten years past her passing, I have forgotten the hard things about illness, for the most part, and the islands of time remain as cherished memories.

    Wonderful theme!

    Thank you, Ellen

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