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
exposing the stamen fuckboi — Lori A Minor, ant ant ant ant ant (2020)
Lakshmi Iyer encounters a bold statement:
It was very difficult for me to analyze and comment on this poem. Not that I’m not familiar with the topics of sex, pleasure and physical identity, but I still have that personal inhibition to raise my voice and talk about the system that is the need of the hour.
I appreciate the way the poet has made a bold statement about the so-called men who only take pleasure in sex without giving the proper respect. Every word resonates with the hatred, the pain, the suffering. It is not that easy to face such challenges without any mental and physical support.
This is a very raw and crude way of explaining and exposing the attitude of such people. There are flamboyant and arrogant men who carry on with this system, aren’t there? The poem on its own stands out as the poet’s own experience fighting against this. It draws our attention to millions of such individuals facing this. With deep gratitude to the poet who is bold and brave.
Amelia Gorman finds humor:
Well that’s a very physical poem. I think good humor is hard to come by in nature poetry and erotic poetry, especially humor that doesn’t detract from those other elements. So I’m impressed that the poet can so swiftly combine the natural world, the sensual world, and a funny bit at the end.
Peggy Bilbro looks beyond the surface:
This startling monoku by Lori Minor will make the reader sit up and pay attention. Or at least it did for me! So I went exploring through the internet, and discovered that a fuckboi isn’t a flower as the first part of this monoku leads us to expect. It is indeed just what it sounds and looks like. But knowing that Lori Minor is an experienced writer of haiku, I looked beyond the startle effect to find a more delicate meaning. Flowers do have stamen and they serve the same purpose as the human male sex organ, and even sometimes have a similar appearance. They often contain thousands, or perhaps millions, of tiny bits of pollen scattered by the wind or bees or any passing insect they brush up against. Perhaps Lori is referring to this floral promiscuity and comparing it to human promiscuity. Or perhaps we should reverse that comparison and acknowledge that we humans are as much a part of the natural world as the flowers, even when our actions seem the least civilized. This is not a traditional haiku with a traditional juxtaposition, but it does what haiku is supposed to do: It makes the reader look deeper to find a more universal meaning.
As this week’s winner, Peggy 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!
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in my hand as if it could last . . . hailstone — Kath Abela Wilson, Frogpond, Volume 44:3 (2021)