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Messages - John McManus

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Adam, I thought your point about sentimentality might have been in relation to the fact that the girl was specified as blind. I think you might be confusing sentimentality for vulnerability.

To say a child is blind is not a sentimental statement. It is stating what is, although I will admit that it's an emotive statement.

I for one am very interested in haiku that deal with dissability in a respectful and honest way, but I am probably biased due to my profession.


Hi Don, please don't think I was criticizing you. I really wasn't.

You know I have a lot of time for you as a man and a poet.

I was asked by Lulu to explain what I found to be harsh about the critiques, which I tried to do in a non offensive way. I apologise if I offended you, that was not my intention.


Hi Lulu, firstly thanks for the compliment. You're too kind.

I found these comments to be a bit harsh, perhaps unfair or dismissive would of been better words to use.

Don said . . .

the blind child      reading my poem      with her fingertips      (not haiku meter either, s/l/s)

These are the three statements.  They remain that way with little to nothing for the reader to do but possibly imagine the scene itself - like a photograph

Adam said . . .

As far as E.S. Lamb's poem goes, for me it's simple: it just isn't very good. It's sentimental. And that's a problem that plagues a lot of poems I read, even ones that meet all the criteria for "haiku".

Devora said . . .

I see Lamb’s sentence as a narrative (“A narrative is a little story, with its beginning and middle and end, and nothing interrupts its flow”), and Mountain’s haiku as an anti-story (“Anti-story is not the opposite of the process. Anti-story is the absence of it . . . It is not cumulative but instantaneous”). Mountain’s opens the possibilities, whereas Lamb’s limits them.


Now, I have no problems with Don, Adam or Devora and I actually have no problems with their opinions. We are all entitled to form and express our own opinions and if they decide Elizabeth's poem is not doing anything for them, then so be it.

I do find the comments which I have copied above to be somewhat dismissive of the poem's potential.

It seem from her post that Devora didn't bother to consider there may be a break in the haiku.

Adam tells us the poem is sentimental. In what way? I'm failing to see it.

Don says the poem is closed off and criticizes the meter. In what way is it any more closed off than any number of succesful and famous haiku, here's one with a similar meter for a quick example . . .

spring breeze—
the pull of her hand
as we near the pet shop

Michael Dylan Welch



Hi Julie, cheers for the thumbs up on my rearrangement.


I find the comments about having nothing to ponder in Elizabeth's haiku a tad harsh.

Let's try to break it down.

We know there's a child and that the child is blind, female and can read braille. This is all information which is within the poem.

So going with just that information can anyone actually picture this child? Or say for sure how old the child is?

Perhaps the fact that the child can read braille rules out the possibility of it being an extremely young child, but even so this child may be 7 or 17. The reader is left guessing, and what of the relationship between the child and poet?

Reading someone's poem is an intimate matter. I would never walk up to a stranger and ask them to randomly read a poem of mine. I believe that there must be some sort of relationship betwen the child and poet, but again it is something that has to be guessed at by the reader.
Are these not intentional gaps left by the poet for the reader to fill in? Are they not appropriate bits of information that a reader needs to fully complete the scene?

I think the one flaw the poem has, is the lack of a break which I think actually exists between 'child' and 'reading'

I don't actually see this as the child reading the poem, I think it's the poet who is reading it in braille with the help of the blind girl who is guiding the poet's fingers with her own. This is just my reading of the poem. It may well be very wrong, but that's what I got from it.

here's how I would have presented the poem . . .

a blind child—
reading my poem
with her fingertips   


Other Haiku News / Re: Daily Haiku
« on: October 22, 2012, 05:33:57 AM »
Thanks, Alan.

My second poem of the week is now up on the site.


Other Haiku News / Daily Haiku
« on: October 21, 2012, 02:55:56 AM »
My first week of haiku on the daily haiku website started today. Here's the link . . .


Other Haiku News / Re: Does Fish-God Know
« on: October 20, 2012, 08:22:28 AM »
I love that cover, Alan. Is it your own art work?

I'll put a copy on my christmas wishlist ;)

It was nice of Jeff to contact you with his thoughts.


I'd say it is very hard to pick a favourote with so many talented poets around, but a few I regularly read are

Roberta Beary, Peter Yovu, Paul m and Paul Pfleuger.


Other Haiku News / Re: Very Sad News: Cindy Zackowitz
« on: October 01, 2012, 12:44:58 PM »
Thanks for posting this, Billie.

It is very sad to see someone so young and talented pass away. I have enjoyed many of Cindy's haiku over the past couple of years.


In-Depth Haiku: Free Discussion Area / Re: cliché in haiku
« on: September 26, 2012, 10:36:27 AM »
Here is a ku of mine relating to Basho's old pond . . .

plastic frog . . .
thinking of Basho
as my son plays

Published in Mango Moons, 2011.

Journal Announcements / Re: Moon Blood: 1.1 coming soon!
« on: September 17, 2012, 02:14:31 AM »
Hi Chase, could you provide links to some of Lemark's poetry? I've never heard of him.


Well done, everyone. Keep up the good work!


Hi Chase, I haven't kept a tally or anything, but I'd say the number of haiku I've read runs comfortably into the thousands.

Reading widely is one of the ways in which I keep my creative juices flowing.


Sea Shell Game / Re: Sea Shell Game 5
« on: August 12, 2012, 11:02:46 PM »
Hi Vida and Gabi, thanks for posting. I was beginning to worry!

Vida, your vote has been noted, thanks again!
Gabi, I can't get the Japanese version for you at the moment, but I'll post it as soon as I can. I hope that's alright.


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