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re:Virals 321

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!

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 322:

     in my hand
     as if it could last . . .
          — Kath Abela Wilson, Frogpond, Volume 44:3 (2021)

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Wow–what a great one-liner from Lori A Minor, with very interesting comments from Lakshmi, Amelia and Peggy.

    Although the reference to the male reproductive organ of a plant seems innocuous enough, for me the use of “exposing” hinted at a murkier image. When combined with the slang term “fuckboi”, this reader was indeed presented with a startling scene.

    A flower does what it does to ensure the continuation of its species, but this poem suggests that this is the last thing in the mind of the protagonist. A highly effective one-liner that depicts a selfish male whose only interest in women is to have his physical needs satisfied.

    Well done to Lori!

  2. Oh my goodness! This poem does not make me look deeper. It’s meaning is plain. And trite.

    1. Reading the forum thread called “sine qua non”, I believe you have a preference
      for haiku that don’t easily give up their secrets, so to speak, but fend off easy
      interpretation. Or maybe that’s just my own preference. But isn’t there room
      for haiku that don’t really do that, ones that are more assertive? There would be
      a lot of examples of that.

      This one may not rise to the description: “[one] of the finest haiku ever written” as
      is offered in the intro to re:Virals, (for me too it is pretty easily grasped) but it is probably
      more than trite.

      1. The haiku community is known for being welcoming and supportive.
        I don’t think that should mean avoiding saying when a haiku does not
        work, or needs work, even when or especially when there is an assumption
        that it is, as you say, “one of the best . . .” .

        That is not really supportive. However, I may have
        been a bit harsh in my tone. That probably doesn’t help either.

  3. Thank you so much Peggy for this beautiful comment. Yes, I did see google but I couldn’t express so well as you did.
    Thank you!!

  4. Dear Peggi Bilpro
    Congratulations. After going through, the following observations, worth re reading and again. Well observed.

    “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.”

  5. re:Virals 321:

    exposing the stamen fuckboi
    — Lori A Minor, ant ant ant ant ant (2020)

    Gratefully acknowledging the monoku by Lori Minor, very interestingly
    veering into botany and parts of flowers; from thereon giving a chance
    to readers to expand into a horizon of unimaginable inferences;
    Combined with pollen and sweet aura, inviting birds to peck and blossom
    a fresh aura in the blooming summer/spring garden /one can imagine and feel. ants parading into pollen, its sweet aura permeating, one after another, in line, a marvelous show. The word following stamen “ f …boi” implies, the lines, the ardent queue, the itch with which the ants ply into pollen;
    Metaphorically also one can imagine, any sweet exposed, loose or unpacked,
    after sometime, if ants permeate, linger ply ; hence “ f.boi” in line; Very dexterously, Lori, A Minor has used the implied connotation, clothed in polished beauty, “ exposing the stamen f.boi”.
    Taking “stamen” with variegated interpretations: women’s body
    her impulses exposed, obviously (ants ) in the form of those who exploit,
    one after another, will come ; exposure at times could be more detrimental than one can imagine.

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