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re:Virals 143

Welcome to re:Virals, The Haiku Foundation’s weekly poem commentary feature on some of the finest haiku ever written in English. This week’s poem was

     a fishing fly loosed
     at riverine shadows
          — David Briggs, Haiku: The Keyhole of its Details, Blithe Spirit 25:3 (2015) 

Alan Summers offers us a fragment from an interview, with David Briggs, in which this week’s poem appeared (albeit in a variant version):

We often leave out words and phrases that another kind of poet would and should keep, and why not? I feel, on a personal level, that haiku works to enable readers differently. Haiku, to me, revolve around something like a wheel with its spaces between its spokes, and it’s those gaps that add to the particular counter-intuitive poem, to some, as its design (form).

For example:

unspooling whisk and tick
of a fishing fly loosed
at riverine shadows –
thought swims off downstream

“Riverine shadows,” a wonderful phrase adding to a hauntingness that haiku can be so good at as well.

As this week’s winner, Alan gets to choose next week’s poem, which you’ll find below. We invite you to write a commentary to it. It may be as long or short, academic or spontaneous, serious or silly, public or personal as you like. We will select out-takes from the best of these. And the very best will be reproduced in its entirety and take its place as part of the THF Archives. Best of all, the winning commentator gets to choose the next poem for commentary.
Anyone can participate. A new poem will appear each Friday morning. Simply put your commentary in the Contact box by the following Tuesday midnight (Eastern US Time Zone). Please use the subject header “re:Virals” so we know what we’re looking at. We look forward to seeing some of your favorite poems — and finding out why!
re:Virals 143:

     finding a home
     on her naked skin -
     the kingfisher

          — Eva Limbach, failed haiku Volume 2, Issue 20, (2018) 

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. How important is *sound* in haiku? One supposes very, but I don’t get the impression that many who write it pay a great deal of attention to it. This may be because such emphasis is placed on *image*, as if image were only a visual thing. I suspect that many who read haiku do so primarily with there eyes. I mean, they don’t listen to it.

    There are a lot of sounds in this haiku, but if you speak it out loud, you’ll notice that all the sounds crowd to the front of the mouth, making it something of a tongue twister. To me, that muddies the river, so to speak, and I end up imagining very slow moving water favored by catfish more than by trout.


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