Helen Stiles Chenoweth
by Ty Hadman
In an essay almost as lyrical as the poetry it celebrates, Ty Hadman discusses the haiku of Helen Chenoweth. He finds in her work alone almost sufficient reason to divert attention from the works of the past toward modern American accomplishments in this form. One of Chenoweth’s haiku in particular is even a worthy rival for Basho’s ‘old pond’, and he urges we discuss it with as much gravity and veneration as Basho’s poem typically receives.
Apart from the ethnocentrism, however, Hadman’s comment, from around the year 2000, heralded a change in tone, an assertion of maturity that echoed American writers of the 19C such as Emerson, Thoreau and Whitman, when they sought to desert European influences in favor of the challenges of the frontier, the new Adam and the ancient far East.