Author Topic: cliché in haiku  (Read 11611 times)

AlanSummers

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cliché in haiku
« on: September 26, 2012, 10:12:57 AM »
My experience of haiku in the 1990s was that there was a plethora of clichés.

This came to pass (cliché) when one writer would create a fresh haiku and it would be copied sometimes a hundred fold.

Another reason for clichés occuring was our laziness in using shortcuts with keywords such

•  still
•  shadow
•  old
•  herons, and stillness of herons in particular
•  cherry blossom
•  Basho/frog pond verse allusions

The Late Peter Williams, born in Watford, England, brought out some marvellous and humourous verses gently poking fun at the innumerable number of clichéd oft-repeated themes or keywords/modifiers that abounded.

These particular haiku were published in 2001 as a mix of fond homage to the clichés back in the 1990s.

They appeared in Blithe Spirit, Journal of The British Haiku Society: But it wasn't just a British disease.

I look forward to people brave enough to recognise and post their own clichéd haiku.



The lovely Peter Williams, now deceased, published these wonderful and subtle spoofs and satirical verses, taking the gentle mickey out of fads, clichés and trends in Western haiku over the years. ;-)


too tired to get up–
my shadow goes and makes
a cup of tea


midnight pond
a frog jumps over
the moon


cherry blossom–
time to polish
my shoes


branch above the river
the heron
moves about a lot


Peter Williams
Blithe Spirit Vol. II No.3 (2001)



n.b.

I was delighted when the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival included a haiku competition run by competent knowledgeable organisers and judges including Michael Dylan Welch and Carole MacCrury, so the blossom verses appeared fresh and original and never tired.
http://www.vcbf.ca/haiku/haiku-invitational-2012

I am also the very proud owner of Robin Gill's  Cherry Blossom Epiphany – the poetry and philosophy of a flowering tree – ISBN#  0-9742618-6-6 (pbk);  13 digit    978-0-9742618-6-7   740 pp
http://paraverse.org/newbooks.htm

Highly recommended: Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, and Robin Gill's Paraverse publications.




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AlanSummers

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Re: cliché in haiku
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2012, 10:21:30 AM »
I've tried to excise my bad ones from memory and records, but here's one that should have never seen the light of day (cliché alert):


the old mouser
an empty sheepshed
hunted still

Alan Summers
Publications credits: Azami #37 (1996)

A lazy reliance on still to add depth, plus I have old!

It was indeed a retired  mousing dog, but he wasn't exactly haunting the sheepshed, either because he was dead or wanted to carry on.

He was a very happy retired dog in a sheep farm in Queensland. :-)

Alan



John McManus

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Re: cliché in haiku
« Reply #2 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.





Seaview (Marion Clarke)

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Re: cliché in haiku
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2012, 03:49:20 AM »
I 've probably committed every cliché sin - apart from the pond one!  ;D But does this mean you can't write about a heron when that's what you're sitting looking at or it's what's standing looking at you?  :o

Seaview (Marion Clarke)

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Re: cliché in haiku
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2012, 03:49:48 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.

I really like this one! It's funny...

Don Baird

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Re: cliché in haiku
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2012, 11:12:15 AM »
Maybe, after all of the haiku that has been written, the only thing left to our pens is "unique cliche"?

frog
out of the water
out of Basho

spoof on Virgilio's lily poem ...
I write haiku because they're there ...

through
the hole of a cheerio,
spring!

AlanSummers

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Re: cliché in haiku
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2012, 11:45:03 AM »
Hi Marion,

re herons and heron haiku:

In the 1990s there was a spate where almost every haiku writer, it seemed, banged on about the stillness of herons, whether they'd actually seen one or not.  The versions were so similar and numerous that finally someone like Peter Williams had to do a spoof which reduced the numbers which were heading towards epic proportions, almost going viral. :-)

Herons are actually very loud clumsy birds taking off and landing, often crashing into trees, and their own tree nests.

Most things are quiet and still when they are quiet and still, and so after reading about the 200th still heron in just one quarter spread across half a dozen of the best print journals, I wasn't the only one who wanted to leave the poor heron(s) alone for a while. :-)

Many of us have seen herons, and I had one published in a handful of stones, which has just been anthologised as a small  stones title (to be released shortly).  But I didn't say it was still! :-) The heron was actually gently shifting the silt by a nest of swans late at night.

Actually it became a running joke at the NftG Road events as we saw a still heron in Aberdeen, but daren't mention the 'still' word. And then I was the only one to see a heron at Winchester Water Meadows, and it was moving around a lot, being noisy, and yet I was the only one to notice. :-)

But if you've seen a heron, write about it, but try to not mention the 'still' word as a challenge. :-)

Alan

I 've probably committed every cliché sin - apart from the pond one!  ;D But does this mean you can't write about a heron when that's what you're sitting looking at or it's what's standing looking at you?  :o

AlanSummers

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Re: cliché in haiku
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2012, 11:47:47 AM »
There are such things as unique clichés, or using cliché in a fresh approach.  Your verse is at least a double cliché (in a good way) and as Van Gogh painted Japanese artwork, why wouldn't Basho sketch Monet?  8)

Alan

Maybe, after all of the haiku that has been written, the only thing left to our pens is "unique cliche"?

frog
out of the water
out of Basho

spoof on Virgilio's lily poem ...

Don Baird

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Re: cliché in haiku
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2012, 08:19:15 PM »
 ;D Alan! 

Fun stuff.
I write haiku because they're there ...

through
the hole of a cheerio,
spring!

Gabi Greve

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Re: cliché in haiku
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2012, 10:51:36 PM »
You could say all of the kigo are "cliche" because they have been used so many times over the years ...
I prefere not to see them as cliche

but as a common heritage to the haiku poets (of Japan)
and some of them shared worldwide.

The Japanese saijiki does not feel like a collection of cliche haiku to me,
does it to any of you?
.
Sitting in the rain tempted to write a haiku about the cliche

typhoon

But that is more of a real threat just now ...
 >:(

Gabi
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AlanSummers

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Re: cliché in haiku
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2012, 04:15:38 AM »
Dear Gabi,

The post isn't about kigo, or kigo as cliché but the craft of writing where cliché do not occur in the writing.

A kigo is a commonality which is made powerful by an entire race understanding it immediately and adding layers of meaning which are not needed to be explained in conversation or text.


Three of the modifiers which have been overused and not incorporated enough into fresh and challenging approaches are:

•  still
•  shadow
•  old

To my knowledge these are not kigo.

Cliché is referencing the lack of originality of writing around something well-known and respected.

Alan

p.s.

Please see my first post for links to cherry blossom.

I have clearly set out that I am delighted about two cherry blossom projects for haiku.  Also my Kigo Lab project shows my traditional side of things, please read this article A fold in the paper, Kire and kigo in haiku: http://www.multiversesjournal.com/the-thin-white-expanse.html

p.p.s.

Also I have a cherry blossom haiku published in two new books: The Humours of Haiku ed. David Cobb (Iron Press); and Does Fish-God Know (YTBN Press) which contains gendai haiku with and without kigo.

edit reason: adding p.s. and p.p.s.



You could say all of the kigo are "cliche" because they have been used so many times over the years ...
I prefere not to see them as cliche

but as a common heritage to the haiku poets (of Japan)
and some of them shared worldwide.

The Japanese saijiki does not feel like a collection of cliche haiku to me,
does it to any of you?
.
Sitting in the rain tempted to write a haiku about the cliche

typhoon

But that is more of a real threat just now ...
 >:(

Gabi
.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2012, 04:49:28 AM by Alan Summers »

Scott Terrill

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Re: cliché in haiku
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2012, 05:49:14 PM »
Nothing unique about this cliché:

old shed –
he claims 1966
for a pillow

A Hundred Gourds 1:4 September 2012

AlanSummers

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Re: cliché in haiku
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2012, 06:12:55 AM »
Thanks Scott,

I like your haiku very much,  and remember a version of this on the forum some time ago.  It will resonate with English readers of a certain age as well, because it was the first and only time that the England football (soccer) team won the World Cup.

Someone else recently posted a haiku that I really liked, despite containing a number of overused words, including 'old'.  It just shows that if we work that little harder we can uncliché our haiku.

Alan

Nothing unique about this cliché:

old shed –
he claims 1966
for a pillow

A Hundred Gourds 1:4 September 2012

martin1223@comcast.net

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Re: cliché in haiku <Confessional Booth>
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2013, 09:50:25 PM »
“Forgive me Father; I have sinned.”


Today, I came up with one...Ha!

a stillness
under the strider's leg
dimpled star

...and another today ::)

April chill
through the old man
lake petals :D :D

...and what about over using a process like reflections:

Both of the above refer to reflections interacting and distorting with the environs. Eighty percent of my thirteen years of my haiku attempts use reflected something or other...

Or how about being too cute:

distant cries
the light goes out
with the tide

day moon
the night stays in the lake

clouded night
algae glow in the bow wave

but the one above is Shasei. No matter, it’s just a pretty picture and no depth or as they say with the over used word “layers”. I need to go to the mountain cave and think things over…

 :-X :-X :-X :-X :-X


« Last Edit: April 21, 2013, 10:43:04 PM by martin1223@comcast.net »

AlanSummers

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Re: cliché in haiku
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2013, 01:23:50 AM »
Dear Martin,

There is a skill in using what have become clichés, so they can become fresh again, and your examples suggest that. April chill and old man sound  right, rather than forced, for example, to add a superficial depth.

kind regards,

Alan

 

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