Author Topic: And this is a haiku because . . . ?  (Read 19952 times)

Scott Terrill

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Re: And this is a haiku because . . . ?
« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2012, 09:25:23 PM »
Thanks Don,

I greatly enjoy and agree with your ponderings and thank you for the examples

Re Lamb's poem:

the blind child reading my poem with her fingertips

all I can say is it stirs something inside my body

As human beings our orientation to the world often begins with and lives off of the fuel of our bodies; images of the world are absorbed by our bodies. But we are also narrative creatures.

I think there is a totally understandable drive within the species toward understanding those images of the world, particularly something that is written down — words and phrases being, as they are, the tools of logic. I suppose one way of looking at it is that narrative provides purpose and meaning in our lives, which may be considered the cognitive default of the human condition.

For me haiku, experiential or otherwise, are always narratives, but incorporate narratives that function on different registers. The recording of an experience would primarily be an exercise of the intellect, whilst the experience itself, operating not in the regions of cognition primarily, but rather on a pre-cognitive, imaginative register, is an engagement in our world at a level that is fundamentally aesthetic; an aesthetic that is intimately linked to our bodies and through our bodies, our minds.

Our bodies are just as much a part of interpreting our space as is the intellect and our imagination enables us to absorb a fundamental orientation of the world that has a more visceral quasi-logic about it. Imagination provides a narrative, which allows for a sort of pre-intellectual way in which we perceive and move through this world.

I suppose you could call it a bodily way that, at least for me, primarily functions ahead of the intellect. It is here that I feel haiku imparts most of its raw power; as an entwining of body and story, of kinetics and poetics. But it is always still a narrative.

I think Lamb's ku could be viewed as just a written record of events and if it were primarily to stop there it would fail as a haiku but I sense, I think as Alan did, something so tactile that my imagination and body cannot help but be activated. Though I am aware that this is a very personal response as the poem obviously does not work for everybody.

In fact, I think a haiku succeeds or fails based in large part on our ability to contort this imagination into an intentional form without appearing contorted, forces and obvious. This may be why I like to think of haiku as existing without lines.

I would like to think also that this is why Haruo Shirane draws attention to: Bashō, like his great rival, Saikaku, felt that it was not form that counted [but] what was called haikai spirit.

Hi Devora, I think this quote by Jerzy Grotowski, which is one of the most articulate descriptions of what actor training should be is relevant and might help explain what I meant when I said,
“It is almost as if the words themselves, placed as they are become self-adjusting and through that process, self-limiting.”:

"The actor no longer lends his body to an exclusively mental process but makes the mind appear through the body, thus granting the body agency. In training the actor, we attempt to eliminate his organism's resistance to this psychic process. The result is freedom from the time-lapse between inner impulse and outer reaction in such a way that the impulse is already an outer reaction. Impulse and action are concurrent: the body vanishes, burns, and the spectator sees only a series of visible impulses. Ours then is a via negativa — not a collection of skills but an eradication of blocks."

I think this could also be a good description of haiku and what haiku is.

I have this vague sense that for haiku to truly succeed the words in some way annihilate themselves and we are left with only a series of visible impulses.

just bumbling around inside my own head, trying to make some sense of it all :)
 
scott
« Last Edit: November 16, 2012, 09:31:44 PM by Scott Terrill »

Don Baird

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Re: And this is a haiku because . . . ?
« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2012, 09:30:31 PM »
Enjoyable post, Scott!
I write haiku because they're there ...

through
the hole of a cheerio,
spring!

Julie B. K.

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Re: And this is a haiku because . . . ?
« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2012, 11:48:58 PM »
Don, I don't see haiku as an "anything goes" style.  As a newbie to haiku, I can only say that for years, haiku meant nothing to me.  It was like reading a foreign language.  It was only after discovering scifaiku (science fiction haiku, for those unfamiliar) -- poems truly removed from any semblance of their Japanese heritage -- that I had an intimate "aha!" moment with a poem (ending in the line "eye to eyestalk" as I recall) that opened my eyes to haiku.  Once I saw what the form could do -- start on L1, lull you into complacency with L2, and then flip a 180 on L3 -- I fell in love with haiku.  So I came to haiku through scifaiku.  Without that experience, I wouldn't be happily reading along here now, learning about the history of this wonderful form, with a book about Basho at my bedside.  Different forms may speak to each of us, but I believe that there is something constant at the heart of haiku.

Don Baird

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Re: And this is a haiku because . . . ?
« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2012, 04:04:23 AM »
Hi Julie,

Yes, it has become an anything goes style.  I'm glad you've found your center in it all and that Basho is at your bedside.  Your many steps ahead of the game!  Excellent!  Keep on enjoying.

blessings,

Don
I write haiku because they're there ...

through
the hole of a cheerio,
spring!

John McManus

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Re: And this is a haiku because . . . ?
« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2012, 08:06:13 AM »
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   

warmest,
John

Julie B. K.

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Re: And this is a haiku because . . . ?
« Reply #20 on: November 17, 2012, 09:03:26 PM »
Wow, John, thanks for that rearrangement.  I saw this poem completely differently after your revision and liked it much better - it moved it from a passive experience to an active one.

John McManus

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Re: And this is a haiku because . . . ?
« Reply #21 on: November 18, 2012, 09:45:09 AM »
Hi Julie, cheers for the thumbs up on my rearrangement.

warmest,
John 

lulu

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Re: And this is a haiku because . . . ?
« Reply #22 on: November 18, 2012, 11:00:37 AM »
Hello, John,

You are a good poet with a fine reputation, and so people like me listen to what you say. However, I’m not sure that your “I find the comments about having nothing to ponder in Elizabeth's haiku a tad harsh” is accurate.

The gist of the original comment by Devora was about whether Lamb’s one-liner was a true haiku. Some readers, because they could visualize and/or fill in the blanks – as you did – found it to have merit as a haiku.

Others, like Devora, thought it was a more of a “narrative,” a “telling,” or a simple sentence that did not meet the criteria of a genuine haiku. In other words, for some, there was nothing to ponder, but the critique was an objective observation, not a personal attack.

I have gone through the comments, and I didn’t see anything that rose to the level of “a tad harsh.” In fact, I thought the discussion was interesting and informative.

Please let us know what you thought was “a tad harsh” (maybe we didn’t see it) so that we can ensure any serious exchanges of ideas are always free of such characterizations.   
 

John McManus

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Re: And this is a haiku because . . . ?
« Reply #23 on: November 18, 2012, 11:55:16 AM »
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

warmest,
John




 

Don Baird

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Re: And this is a haiku because . . . ?
« Reply #24 on: November 18, 2012, 12:51:59 PM »
Actually, it is a sentence ... :)

the blind child reading my poem with her fingertips

It is all said... there is nothing left unsaid - a Basho admonishment. I don't see much dna of hokku the progenitor of haiku (the Shiki invent).

I wasn't intending to be harsh or unfair, by the way. Critiques are what they are and criticizing the person for a critique instead of addressing the critique itself seems unreasonable, frankly, to me.  ;) 

Sometimes I cut corners in my comments.  :)  People know me and can handle that.  :)  I hope.

I'll tip-toe on my way quietly.  Blessings.


 
I write haiku because they're there ...

through
the hole of a cheerio,
spring!

Don Baird

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Re: And this is a haiku because . . . ?
« Reply #25 on: November 18, 2012, 12:58:31 PM »
Michael's poem is much different in all levels:

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

I won't even critique it.  It stands clearly as a modern haiku (free meter), to me. Well heck (I will comment on it); it has a clear kigo, yugen, kire-ji and qualifies as a shasei.  It leaves much room for the reader to enter. There ya go.  Much more of a haiku aesthetic than the one liner sentence.  I like Lamb's poem; it's touching ... and world class.  But, haiku?  Not to me.  Just a fine poem.  And, frankly ... we need fine poems and I enjoy them immensely - another subject.

:)

And, tip-toeing out again.  Blessings.

:)
I write haiku because they're there ...

through
the hole of a cheerio,
spring!

John McManus

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Re: And this is a haiku because . . . ?
« Reply #26 on: November 18, 2012, 04:50:36 PM »
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.

warmest,
John



Don Baird

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Re: And this is a haiku because . . . ?
« Reply #27 on: November 19, 2012, 11:13:40 AM »
No worry John.  Thanks for your clarification!

blessings,

Don
I write haiku because they're there ...

through
the hole of a cheerio,
spring!

Paul Miller

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Re: And this is a haiku because . . . ?
« Reply #28 on: November 19, 2012, 12:56:52 PM »
I think Don hits the problem with Lamb’s poem right on the head when he says, “there is nothing left unsaid.” I agree that the poem is full of emotion, but I don’t think that emotion makes a poem a haiku. And that’s what the question was in this post: it is a haiku? Not, is it a short poem that I can find emotion in? But, is it a haiku?

To me, this feels like half a haiku. It is a statement. This poem is missing a second part that I as a reader can engage with… to find the meaning between the two parts, or more specifically, to find my meaning between the two parts. As it is, the poem paints an emotional scene, but all I am is an observer of the scene. The power of haiku is that it makes the reader a participant in the experience.

Lamb’s poem is much like the second half of Michael Welch’s that is quoted above:

     “the pull of her hand as we near the pet shop.”

This is very similar to Lamb’s poem and I can argue we get an emotional response from it. But note the difference between that one line and what we get when we add “spring breeze” as a first line.

As far as “tundra” goes, I have always felt that the second part of that poem was the blank white space of the page.

My two cents

Paul

Don Baird

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Re: And this is a haiku because . . . ?
« Reply #29 on: November 19, 2012, 10:03:48 PM »
As a note on Tundra ... Cor removed it from his later addition of his anthology.  I wonder why? 

I did get a chance to hear him read it, however!  It was short but emotional.  (HNA 2011)

:)
I write haiku because they're there ...

through
the hole of a cheerio,
spring!

 

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