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Viral 7.3

Virals is a section in which one person chooses a haiku by another person and comments on that haiku. Then the author of that haiku is invited to select a haiku by someone else and comment on that poem, and so on. For an introduction to this section, see Virals.

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(Viral 7.3)

Three Words Over Many More Years

By Gary Hotham
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                                                         crickets . . .
                                                         then
                                                         thunder

                                                                                             —Larry Wiggin [1]

In February of 1974 I received my copy of Modern Haiku and as I was reading thru it two haiku by Otoko Tomodachi made the proverbial leap off the page:

cold rain
bare bulb shining
on the bathroom bowl

alone
fall grass caught
in the wooden door [2]

The two haiku made a great impression on me and by someone whose name I had not seen before. I sent a letter of appreciation to the writer via Kay T. Mormino who was the editor of Modern Haiku at that time. It was a sad day when she wrote back that Otoko Tomodachi was the pen name of Larry Wiggin and he had died the previous November. I was disappointed that I had not made contact with him about his work and that there would be no more new haiku from him.

Later that year in August I received my copy of The Haiku Anthology edited by Cor van den Heuvel in which there was a selection of haiku by Larry Wiggin. The haiku placed at the beginning of this essay was in the group. It made a strong and lasting impression on me. It displayed a powerful simplicity. It was precise and to the point. It swiftly recreated a delightful moment of time. It conveyed a powerful use of words. There was a penetrating intensity in its three words. A grand explosion in my world of haiku. It has remained one of my favorite haiku. Three words from Larry Wiggin—a gift over the many years.

Larry Wiggin is no longer with us, and so Viral 7 comes to a close.

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Viral 7.1 (Metz ☞ Gordon)

Viral 7.2 (Gordon ☞ Hotham)

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