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re:Virals 288

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

    haiku editing 
     a babbler enters
     the conversation  
          —  Neena Singh,  Failed Haiku,  Volume 6,  Number 62  (2021)

Lakshmi Iyer reflects on the collaboration:

What to say about this senryu? Already, the babbler has done most of the talking. The poet has beautifully captured the technique of association, where the babbler in line two reflects the work in line one, “haiku editing.” The poet’s attitude towards haiku is clearly visible here. But, maybe, she likes to have a companion to help her with the editing. That’s when she brings in her friend at lines two and three:

a babbler enters
the conversation

So striking and so fragile! Who is this babbler? The babbler is a chatty bird as we say; the loquacious! There may have been moments of joy, humor, happiness while chatting with her non-stop chattering friend. I would also like to pinpoint that maybe the babbler is her grandchild. Usually, kids make the most babbling of noises, chatting all day long the things they like the most. This must have in some way either motivated her to do the editing or leave the poem as is in line one.

A wonderful framework of minimalist poetry.

As this week’s winner, Lakshmi 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!

The Haiku Foundation reminds you that participation in our offerings assumes respectful and appropriate behavior from all parties. Please see our Code of Conduct policy.

re:Virals 289:

     hundred —
     Grandpa claims to be older
     than the banyan tree
          — Akila G., Creatrix #27 (2014)

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. haiku editing
    a babbler enters
    the conversation

    — Neena Singh, Failed Haiku, Volume 6, Number 62 (2021)

    I read Neena’s beautiful ku and the poem reassures me of the significance of simplicity. As a scientist, I could see the art of discovery germinates from simple thinking. The fragment ‘haiku editing’ depicts a familiar or normal image. There has been an implied kireji and the phrase juxtaposes amplifying an ingenious twist to the haiku. The use of words like ‘babbler’ and ‘conversation’ has an immense poetic spark with simplicity (iki) in expression. Rightly Robert Frost says, “Poetry is when our emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.” When I read this ku, it takes me back to Basho’s iconic ‘frog’ haiku. There is poetic parallelism of simplicity in manifestation and musicality. The poet might be searching for appropriateness while editing her haiku, and the process has been allegorically reflected by the use of the word ‘babbler’.

    I recall the beautiful lines of themes of Robert Spiess Memorial Award, “A haiku is a profound testimony that a most humble object of nature when put into the simplest of aesthetic forms can become a revelation.”

    “Haiku have three forms or manifestations: the written, which enters the eye; the spoken, which enters the ear; and the essential … which enters the heart.”

    Neena, with her ever finest craftsmanship, nurtures the above observations. The ku will cherish the joy of remembrance and resonance for a long time to come.

    1. Dear Pravat

      Your commentary touched my heart. The beautiful words and quotes used to describe my sentiments in writing this verse take my breath away.

      You are a treasure in the world of haiku with your deep study and research.

      Grateful to you for sparing time from your busy schedule to write here.

  2. Thanks to THF, its Editors and especially Theresa Cancro for this feature. I am honoured to be a part of it for the second time —my gratitude to Radhamani & Mona Iordan.
    This verse selected by Mona and kindly published by Bryan Rickert & Michael in Failed Haiku has been beautifully commented upon by Lakshmi Iyer & Radhamani sarma. Grateful to both of you and congratulations to Lakshmi for being the winner this week.

    This was an experiential poem and I share here how it came about.
    Sitting in the garden when spring has blossomed flowers of multi-coloured hues and birds and squirrels are delighting in the season, I was on a call with a haijin friend discussing my haiku. Suddenly a babbler came close, looked at me and her loud calls drew my attention and I felt she had joined our conversation as a messenger to help me!

    I have a small suggestion—the poet who selects the ku should also be given a chance to state reasons for the choice, this may add value to the feature.

    1. Thank you, Neena, for your kind comments. Thank you, too, for the background on your poem. I enjoyed reading what prompted your verse. In response to your suggestion: I welcome comments from both the poet selecting the poem and the author of the poem. Please feel free to add your comments in the comments section each week.
      Best regards,

      1. Thanks, Theresa for the response and the clarification.
        So glad you liked what triggered the verse. I love to visit the THF blog and enjoy the features tremendously.

  3. e:Virals 288:

    haiku editing
    a babbler enters
    the coversation
    — Neena Singh, Failed Haiku, Volume 6, Number 62 (2021)

    At the peak of summer here in Chennai where I am writing from, surrounded
    by all chattering birds, calls, doves moving around, commenting on Neena Singh’s haiku offers a similar/ different room for perspective.
    Writing haiku, involving a serious task from writers’ point of view, a committed one, a classic example of dedication and more room for
    Expansive and expandable permutations and computations, till now a very
    serious task takes a different mode with the arrival of a babbler;
    A single line, “ haiku editing” running through the entire forum of three lines,
    Offering us a more brooding perspective. In the second line, “ a babbler enters/
    Running through the third, “the conversation”/ more for the mind of critic, the commentator, the reader etc.;
    Either the haiku writer while composing , re writing with modifications of
    different editions or alignments with the image/ or content, ultimately
    satisfies his poetic oeuvre with the quick efficient incorporation of a
    babbler in his writing’; implying more lighted hearted tone; or when the
    serious minded composer breaks his /her mind how to fix the image, line
    formation, how to configure the image drawn, suddenly, some light veined
    person or image- could be a buffoon, or joker, singer entering the show, turning or tuning all shifts for unexpected change or progress.
    Next, to effect a light mood in the haiku, in the process of editing, in garden,
    A lovely, lively chattering bird / a babbler enters casually in his/her/ writing, while the haiku writer edits; edition is transformed to that of beautiful,
    Stimulated rendition subsequent to that of babbler’s notes.
    Next, another possibility of babbler entering: the serious composer
    Editor whether he or she,in all her/ his prolific editions,visualizes,or chances upon a babbler, stops for a while, forcibly listens to angry tones, looks, or
    Conversational notes; so much so, what is the next step? The editions become
    Blooming with unexpected turns or twists;

    “ conversation”, could also possibly suggest , in the process of composition,
    Incorporates the tone, chatter, or voice or converting all poetic beauty of calls
    In the utterance of babbling bird.
    We too have our own calls or distractions while haiku writing, either a courier
    Or messenger or post man or water can supplier or even a vendor. Our sagacity And mood alone should convert these who are of immense help – to incorporate their service in our midst.

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