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re:Virals 16

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

     leaves blowing into a sentence
          — Robert Boldman, Cicada 4.4 (1980)

This famous monoku was apparently too daunting for many to attempt an exegesis. Only Marion Clarke was willing to give it a go, imagining the moment of the poem’s creation:

This haiku highlights nature as a source of inspiration. I could see a writer staring through the window above his desk. His pen is poised, but he is not writing. Suddenly, a gust of wind scatters a pile of autumn leaves and blows them across the yard. His gaze carries the image of the leaves in through the window and onto the blank page in front of him . . . and he begins to write!


As this week’s winner, Marion 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 16:

     story hour
     we fall further down
     the rabbit hole
          — John McManus, bottle rockets 28 (2013)
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