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World of Haiku Redux: Philippines

 

 

 

 

THE PHILIPPINES

 

We first featured poems and haiku history from around the world from January 2015 through the end of 2017, and are now sharing them again, both to remind you of the richness of the genre worldwide, and also to inspire you to update and improve your country’s haiku offering. Please let us know if you’d like to help us make this the most up-to-date source for haiku around the world.

Enjoy!

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Finally, there is ambivalence toward the colonisers. The people give up their aspirations to their conquerors and they pick up the flowers which have been strewn for them on the road to apostasy.

    The onset of amnesia follows when people cease to dream in their own language. A different language conveys a different self. Thence, the death of a language and of the culture it contains become coincidental.

  2. Neglecting one’s native language is, of course, abandoning a whole way of constructing the world and the distinct sensibility that comes with it. We must all be mindful of that. And yet I cannot lay down the rule for anyone on the choice of language. People should be free to choose the language they wish to express themselves in, for isn’t the attribution of a native language as much a matter of historical accident as the determination of “choice” itself? The author of “Decolonising the MInd” himself writes largely in English–everyone of his works, even those originally composed in Gikuyu, is produced in English, by a publishing house originating in and based in the West (Europe, or the UK to be more precise), and he teaches, and has been teaching, for decades in the USA. Besides, new forms of language, and ultimately new languages, are being formed before our very eyes in the intersection and fusion of languages and idioms to create pathways of expression for sensibilities that themselves may never have existed before and continue to evolve in the turbulence of this constantly evolving world. Don’t get me wrong. I do believe that each native language brings something special, something special to the way we see and imagine our world. But nothing is static. Nothing carved in stone. Interaction between language and culture communities means change and evolution inevitably. And the rise in the frequency and frequencies of interaction signals clearly the escalation and amplification of the transformations. Greatly admire the work and achievements of my dear friend Gabriel Rosenstock, and do not take anything that he says lightly. But I do have a divergent view here.

    1. I appreciate what Waqas says about free choice, but I have doubts about just how free it is. There is terrible pressure to conform to the majority. A writer may joyfully adopt English as a second language, happy in the knowledge that the words will be read by a greater number of people. Or a writer may have go to English with a secret anguish, having decided that practical necessity — the commercial imperative — leaves no other choice than to suppress the beloved native language and conform. Conform or die, while hastening the death of the maternal language.

      1. I do not disagree with this. “Choice” is hardly free. It is historically conditioned; but so is “native” language. I too support the use of one’s own natural and native language. I have read and taught Ngugi closely, and with great admiration. Taught a whole course on “Decolonising the Mind.” I also know of Taban Lo Liyong and his work. We are together in the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, oh so long ago, in the fall of 1988. I am neither putting down the importance of native languages nor the imperative need to decolonize in a world that is fast become a clockwork of automatons all persuaded to communicate in one “universal” language–be it English or Spanish, French or German or Russian, or, with the ascending trajectory of a new imperialistically-inclined power, China, Chinese. But I also recognize that no language, the ones mentioned, or the ones consigned to the amnesia of our cultural consciousness, live or survive in a cocoon. And no language can be saved by diktat. Languages survive and continue to grow because the people who speak them have an existential desire to keep them alive. Even so, they will not remain the same, if they are to continue to have meaning and relevance for their speakers. Their contact and encounters with new ideas, new forms of knowledge, and new languages will mould and transform them as well, just as hundreds of little known languages have influenced, enriched, and transformed the more dominant languages of our day. For those of us who are resisting and struggling against conformity, the recognition that our doing so depends on individual choice makes it but reasonable, obligatory, if you will, that we recognize and respect that exercise of choice in others as well.

        1. Corrected copy:

          I do not disagree with this. “Choice” is hardly free. It is historically conditioned; but so is “native” language. I too support the use of one’s own natural and native language. I have read Ngugi closely, and with great admiration. Taught a whole course on “Decolonising the Mind.” I also know of Taban Lo Liyong and his work. We were together in the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, oh so long ago, in the fall of 1988. I am neither putting down the importance of native languages nor the imperative need to decolonize in a world that is fast becoming a clockwork of automatons all persuaded to communicate in one “universal” language–be it English or Spanish, French or German or Russian, or, with the ascending trajectory of a new imperialistically-inclined power, China, Chinese. But I also recognize that no language, the ones mentioned, or the ones consigned to the amnesia of our cultural consciousness, live or survive in a cocoon. And no language can be saved by diktat. Languages survive and continue to grow because the people who speak them have an existential desire to keep them alive. Even so, they will not remain the same, if they are to continue to have meaning and relevance for their speakers. Their contact and encounters with new ideas, new forms of knowledge, and new languages will mould and transform them as well, just as hundreds of little known languages have influenced, enriched, and transformed the more dominant languages of our day. For those of us who are resisting and struggling against conformity, the recognition that our doing so depends on individual choice makes it but reasonable, obligatory, if you will, that we recognize and respect that exercise of choice in others as well.

  3. Philologists tell us that they have debunked the once fashionable theory that language affects the way we think; they say that thought is independent of language, and provide various proofs. But it’s understandable how the idea arose in the first place. To live in another language which is not your ‘maternal’ language, even if only briefly now and then, is to inhabit another world, or to be enabled to see this world in a different light, and it’s an enriching and sometimes magical experience. English has the advantage — and the huge stigma — of being the global language of commerce. It’s also a handy lingua franca for many other purposes. But to lose any language is to leave the world poorer, in every sense other than commercial. Reading a novel in the original language is usually far better than reading a translation; even more so in the case of poetry. Cherish your language whatever it is! Don’t give in to the dull consumerist uniformity of monolingualism!

  4. The author reminds us, wonderfully, that those who do not treasure their own language are beasts, at best, or putrid fish! It’s hugely important, I believe, to nourish haiku in a multilingual context.
    The natural biodiversity of the world is subtly but powerfully linked to cultural and linguistic diversity. It is alarming to see haikuists in many parts of the world, India, Africa and elsewhere, expressing themselves in English and turning their backs on native languages.
    A key text towards reversing Anglocentricity is ‘Decolonising the Mind’:
    https://www.uibk.ac.at/anglistik/staff/davis/decolonising-the-mind.pdf

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