Author Topic: Personification and anthropomorphism in haiku  (Read 41330 times)

AlanSummers

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Re: Personification and anthropomorphism in haiku
« Reply #30 on: July 03, 2013, 04:14:57 PM »
Thank you Gabi.  :)

AlanSummers

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Re: Personification and anthropomorphism in haiku
« Reply #31 on: July 03, 2013, 04:40:20 PM »
.

slammed by salt and sun
the paint has no chance in this mexican prison

David Caruso


The paint’s chances make this. Caruso effectively renders it unable to serve its functional and aesthetic purposes. In at least one reading, the chance the paint has been given infuses it with a living quality, and personifies it.

Egad, hasn’t the poet broken a rule here?

No worries.

Paying any attention to that might have resulted in a less than compelling haiku. It adds layers of nuance. The poet still vividly depicts a moment with an image that makes good use of suggestion and implication; and it has an objective feel about it.

From that slam at the beginning to its end, it brings to mind the brutal and unforgiving conditions of the Mexican correctional system, which has received a bit of news coverage in recent years, but nothing is overstated. The two-line construction seems utterly perfect for conveying the tone, as well as the rapidity of the machine gun’s firing, when reading the last line the way it stands.


Commentary by Paul Pfleuger, Jr
Roadrunner X:1 Copyright © 2010.


EDIT REASON: spacing and italics, emphasing the commentary is from Paul Pfleuger, Jr
« Last Edit: July 06, 2013, 07:56:36 AM by Alan Summers »

devora

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Re: Personification and anthropomorphism in haiku
« Reply #32 on: July 06, 2013, 06:52:17 AM »
Please forgive me, Alan, but I just cannot see why the following is considered a haiku, and subsequently, deserving of a commentary on why it is anthropomorphic. Seems to be just a simple sentence (albeit nice alliteration):

slammed by salt and sun
the paint has no chance in this mexican prison

David Caruso

AlanSummers

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Re: Personification and anthropomorphism in haiku
« Reply #33 on: July 06, 2013, 07:54:45 AM »
I forgive you.  :)

Please forgive me, Alan, but I just cannot see why the following is considered a haiku, and subsequently, deserving of a commentary on why it is anthropomorphic. Seems to be just a simple sentence (albeit nice alliteration):

slammed by salt and sun
the paint has no chance in this mexican prison

David Caruso

AlanSummers

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Re: Personification and anthropomorphism in haiku
« Reply #34 on: July 06, 2013, 08:07:51 AM »

.


Another quasi-surreal haiku of note by Bashō is:

takotsubo ya hakanaki yume wo natsu no tsuki

an octopus pot—
inside, a short-lived dream
under the summer moon

Apropos of which, Watsuji goes so far as to suggest: “Isn’t it possible to imagine that Bashō had completely entered into the mind of an octopus inside the pot?

He became an octopus, so to speak.”22 Such outright anthropomorphism prefigures contemporary haiku poet Tsubouchi Nenten’s more humorous and direct:

sakura chiru anata mo kaba ni narinasai

cherry blossoms fall—
you too must become
a hippo        23

In a not dissimilar vein, among the more astonishing haiku on the British front is Stanley Pelter’s:

a pig’s memory
it leads to colours
of hesitant hills       24

while both of the above bear comparison with the surreal, cartoon-like humour of
the following, by Nagata Koi (trans. James Kirkup and Makoto Tamaki), featured
in Blithe Spirit as a “favourite haiku” chosen by Yasuhiko Shigemoto:

dojo uite namazu mo iru to iute shizumu

The loach floated up.
“There’s a catfish down here too”
he said, then sank back          25

The surreal turning-upside-down of ordinary reality also characterizes Scott Metz’s:

somewhere
fireflies are
eating rhinos       26

At the same time, the concision, topic (fireflies) and playfulness of Metz’s poem clearly situate it in the tradition of haiku. Wittily reversing the traditional expectation of a specific context or occasion for haiku, the “somewhere” turns out to situate a quite specific but objectively “impossible” image. The poem thus enacts a sudden shift from objective realism to the limitless site of the surreal imagination.


22. Makoto Ueda, Basho and his Interpreters (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992) p201.
23 Trans. Richard Gilbert, Poems of Consciousness (Winchester, VA: Red Moon Press, 2008),
p157.
24 Blithe Spirit, vol.13 no.2, June 2003, 34.
25 Blithe Spirit, vol.13 no.1, March 2003, 51.
26 NOON: journal of the short poem, vol. 5, Autumn 2007, 33.

Extract from:
Roadrunner  August 2009 IX:3
SURREALISM & CONTEMPORARY HAIKU
~ OR ~
SURREAL HAIKU?
by Philip Rowland

An earlier version of this essay was presented at the World Haiku Association Conference of
2004 and published in World Haiku 2005 (Tokyo: Nishida-shoten, 2004).


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devora

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Re: Personification and anthropomorphism in haiku
« Reply #35 on: July 06, 2013, 02:15:02 PM »
My comment was neither fatuous nor frivolous, and did not warrant your rather smarty reply.

AlanSummers

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Re: Personification and anthropomorphism in haiku
« Reply #36 on: July 07, 2013, 07:36:14 AM »
Devora,

You said:
My comment was neither fatuous nor frivolous, and did not warrant your rather smarty reply.

My reply was simply an acknowledgement before I posted more on personification and anthropomorphism.  The posts are there to take or leave them, and I'm keen to show a variety of examples not just from classic and modern times but also contemporary examples. As your very first words were "Please forgive me, Alan" I felt a reponse was necessary, and made with light humor, before I continued with my posts on this topic I started. I'm sorry that you took my good humor into a different direction but that was not my intention.

I personally felt that "slammed by salt and sun" was a very powerful line and not something of an ordinary sentence construction.  I've only worked in prisons as a haiku poet-in-residence during colder climes, but paint is such a huge feature in prisons as it regularly peels off the metal surfaces and needs to be repainted.

I personally found the commentary by Paul Pfleuger, Jr highly illuminating and the fact that the paint has no chance suggests neither have the residents.  I'm also reminded that the interview technique using shaken up cola cans that was adopted further north a disturbing memory and I hope that practice is outlawed, but alas as waterboarding seems de rigour in interviews, I fear not.

Different readers read differently when engaging in such a short genre practice as haiku, and gladly it will always remain controversial outside the safe confines of historical haikai verse of classic times.

Quoting a large extract from Pfleuger Jr's commentary:

Egad, hasn’t the poet broken a rule here?

No worries.

Paying any attention to that might have resulted in a less than compelling haiku. It adds layers of nuance. The poet still vividly depicts a moment with an image that makes good use of suggestion and implication; and it has an objective feel about it.

From that slam at the beginning to its end, it brings to mind the brutal and unforgiving conditions of the Mexican correctional system, which has received a bit of news coverage in recent years, but nothing is overstated. The two-line construction seems utterly perfect for conveying the tone, as well as the rapidity of the machine gun’s firing, when reading the last line the way it stands.


Commentary by Paul Pfleuger, Jr
Roadrunner X:1 Copyright © 2010.

More on Pfleuger Jr and David Caruso:

I can heartily recommend Paul Pfleuger Jr's first collection, a Zodiac, as a must for any one interested in contemporary approaches to haiku:
http://roadrunnerhaikublog.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/a-zodiac-paul-pfleuger-jr/

For more information on David Caruso:

pic and about:
http://www.davidhaiku.com/?page_id=19

recent haiku:
http://www.davidhaiku.com/?page_id=11

David Caruso THF Registry:
http://www.thehaikufoundation.org/poet-details/?IDclient=260


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devora

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Re: Personification and anthropomorphism in haiku
« Reply #37 on: July 07, 2013, 11:24:32 AM »
Okay, Alan, let me speak plainly (fugheddabout prefatory civilities).

slammed by salt and sun
the paint has no chance in this mexican prison

David Caruso

is not a haiku. And cannot be woven into one that triggers a précis on anthropomorphism. Period.

Powerful first line, yes. Compelling second line. yes. A probable truth, yes. But casting those observations into two sentences does not a haiku make.*

*Though I liked what Pfleuger Jr says (as quoted by you), and makes a simple sentence interesting: The two-line construction seems utterly perfect for conveying the tone, as well as the rapidity of the machine gun’s firing, when reading the last line the way it stands.

AlanSummers

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Re: Personification and anthropomorphism in haiku
« Reply #38 on: July 07, 2013, 12:56:06 PM »
From the website of soji aka Gary Barnes:

Butterfly! These words
from my brush are not flowers...
only their shadows.

Natsume Soseki

This haiku, by Soseki, is from the Peter Pauper Press volumes.

My love of haiku, and the way I write it was fostered by the works of those talented masters as translated by Peter Beilenson, who rendered  translations of their poetry and collected it in three volumes;  Japanese Haiku, The Four Seasons, and Cherry Blossoms. Peter began, and Harry Behn completed the fourth volume in the series, Haiku Harvest, because Mr. Beilenson journeyed to the "other side".  Each of  the poems capture a moment with the deft strokes of the artist's words. The four works were published by Peter Pauper Press.


The haiku that you find on the following pages have been written over many years. Though I have attempted to capture  the essence of a moment, some schools of haiku would say  that many of my haiku fly in the face of their most dearly  held tenets because I occasionally use metaphor, and on  occasion, anthropomorphism.(assigning human characteristics  to non-human or inanimate objects). I started learning haiku, however, before attending any of the "schools".  Most schools agree that maintaining the classic Japanese haiku form in English can be very restrictive and difficult, or leads to padding, excessive verbiage, when using the seventeen syllable, 5-7-5 format found in the works of haiku masters such as Issa, Basho and Buson.

Gary Barnes, from his Haiku Poets Hut

Alan:
I wouldn't call this personification or anthropomorphism, but a tinge of it perhaps makes this a charming haiku, and I'm sure we've seen this done right up today.
   
roadside diner
a fly inches across
distant hills

author: soji

Is this closer to the topics to hand, I don't know, but sometimes when you spend long hours with wildlife, a certain empathy real or otherwise can surface.

why such a disguise
black-masked sparrow?
the bird seed is free

author: soji aka Gary Barnes
http://www.haikupoetshut.com/whoiam.html


The Peter Pauper Press haiku books can now be purchased on Kindle too for those who like to be able to take their haiku library with them! :-) weblink: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=peter%20pauper%20haiku




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AlanSummers

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Re: Personification and anthropomorphism in haiku
« Reply #39 on: July 07, 2013, 01:11:06 PM »
Extract from:
The keynote speech, given by WHC Honourary President, James W. Hackett,  for the WHF2002 English-language session.

The World Haiku Festival 2002
Yuwa-town, Akita 20-22 September

Spiritual union is sometimes confused with anthropomorphism, whose attribution of strictly human characteristics to things stems from hubris and sentimentality. The haiku scholar Joan Giroux asserts in her book, The Haiku Form, that spiritual identification in haiku is not merely “cute anthropomorphism” but is:

… an instant in which the mind becomes united to an object, virtually becomes the object, and realizes the eternal, universal truth contained in being.

Only strong empathic intuitions rising directly from our ‘heart of hearts’ intimate spiritual union. That Basho held such interpenetrative experience to be an
important principle in haiku is clearly shown by his advocacy of:

…entering into the object, perceiving its delicate life, and feeling its feelings, whereupon a poem speaks for itself. (British Haiku Society, Consensus, n.d.)

Again, in the following, Basho makes clear in no uncertain terms the importance of such identification in haiku creation:

Go to the pine if you want to learn about the pine, or the bamboo if you want to learn about the bamboo. And in doing so, you must leave your subjective preoccupation with yourself. Your poetry issues of its own accord when you and the object have become one — when you have plunged deep enough into the object to see something like a hidden glimmering there. However well-phrased your poetry may be, if the object and yourself are separate — then your poetry is not true poetry but a semblance of the real thing. (Yuasa, The Narrow Road: 33)

In analyzing the theme of Oneness, Aldous Huxley explains:

Direct knowledge of the (Spiritual) Ground cannot be had, except by union, and union can be achieved only by the annihilation of the self-regarding ego, which is the barrier separating the ‘thou’ from the ‘That’. (A. Huxley: 35, The Perennial Philosophy)

Basho’s advice regarding the importance of such interpenetration makes its neglect in contemporary haiku more than enigmatic or ironic: it seems sadly emblematic of the hubris and superficiality of our age. Indeed, serious haiku poets might consider how costly to the genre is the neglect of this profound spiritual principle: one with a long, hallowed history, having evolved from ancient Vedic origins in India, through millennia, to Mahayana Buddhism, to Zen, and now beyond — to the world, and this very time and place.

If the principle of “That Art Thou” were utilized in haiku poetry, I believe there would be fewer ‘snapshot’ and ‘So What?’ verses to sully the name of haiku. The
extent to which haiku is marginalized from the world of Western poetry is surely due to a proliferation of trivial verses, lacking any literary or spiritual attributes. And the suspect practice of omitting the terms “poetry” and “poem” from that of “haiku,” has doubtless played a role in vulgarizing the genre.

A harsh assessment? Perhaps. But the major reason for writing this “That Art Thou” text is to renew and reassert the neglected Tao/Zen spirit of haiku. And by so doing, to raise and return haiku’s status to not only that of “poetry,” but beyond, to the spiritual Way I know haiku can become.


SPIRITUAL INTERPENETRATION IN HAIKU
from The Zen Haiku and Other Zen Poems of J. W. Hackett
(Tokyo: Japan Publications @1983 by James W. Hackett)

A tiny spider
has begun to confiscate
this cup’s emptiness.

Grasshopper’s game:
to light on a tip of grass
then ride out its sway.

Too cold for snow:
the loneliness standing within
each flophouse doorway.

Signaling wildly
for all to take care: the tail
of the pissing cat.

    See this fly
that long since met eternity,
his kneeling remains.

Playful kitten,
how calmly it chews the fly’s
buzzing misery.

R. H. Blyth and J. W. Hackett is the keynote speech, given by WHC Honourary President, James W. Hackett,  for the WHF2002 English-language session.

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AlanSummers

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Re: Personification and anthropomorphism in haiku
« Reply #40 on: July 09, 2013, 02:37:00 AM »
.


a face beseeching
before it becomes
a water lily


George Swede

Usually, one first sees the water lily and then reads a face into it. But here the poet confronts the face itself first, and “sees” it that way for only a moment before it turns into a water lily. And “beseeching” is a good participle in the context: water lilies can’t beseech, of course, but once brought to life, they can and do. At the sound level, Swede’s 5-5-5- pattern works nicely: we expect change, “becom[ing,” but here what changes remains the same, thus confounding the reader.


the silence grows
teeth—a tree
with cracked windows


Scott Metz

[This] deserves praise for its subtle metaphor: first silence (an abstraction) is animated—it grows teeth; then, in a reversal, the natural (tree) takes on aspects of the man-made, with its “cracked windows.” The natural is subsumed under the unnatural. And even here there is no refuge for the larger silence outside.


a few grains of sugar
at the edge of the fire
slowly smoking


Chris Gordon

One expects to meet a few grains of carbon here or perhaps particles of food, cooked on the fire. But the few grains of sugar are a surprise: the references makes us look closely at that fire, slowly smoking.

The Scorpion Prize #19
Commentary by Marjorie Perloff


Marjorie Perloff is Sadie D. Patek Professor Emerita of Humanities at Stanford University and currently Scholar-in-Residence at the University of Southern California. She teaches courses and writes on twentieth—and now twenty-first—century poetry and poetics, both Anglo-American and from a Comparatist perspective, as well as on intermedia and the visual arts. Her first three books dealt with individual poets—Yeats, Robert Lowell, and Frank O’Hara; she then published The Poetics of Indeterminacy: Rimbaud to Cage (1981), a book that has gone through a number of editions, and led to her extensive exploration of avant-garde art movements in The Futurist Moment: Avant-Garde, Avant-Guerre, and the Language of Rupture (1986, new edition, 1994), and subsequent books (13 in all), the most recent of which is Differentials: Poetry, Poetics, Pedagogy (2005). Radical Artifice: Writing Poetry in the Age of Media (1992) has been used in classrooms studying the “new” digital poetics, and 21st Century Modernism (Blackwell 2002) is a manifesto of Modernist Survival. Wittgenstein’s Ladder brought philosophy into the mix; it has recently been translated into Portuguese (Sao Paulo), Spanish (Mexico), and Slovenian and will be translated in France for 2010 publication. Perloff has recently published her cultural memoir The Vienna Paradox (2004), which has been widely discussed. The Sound of Poetry / The Poetry of Sound, coedited with Craig Dworkin has just been published by Chicago (2009), and UNORIGINAL GENIUS: Poetry by Other Means in the Twenty-First Century, is due out from U of Chicago Press, 2010. She has been a frequent reviewer for periodicals from TLS and The Washington Post to all the major scholarly journals, and she has lectured at most major universities in the U.S. and at European, Asian, and Latin American universities and festivals. She was recently the Weidenfeld Professor of European Literature at Oxford University. Perloff has held Guggenheim, NEH, and Huntington fellowships, served on the Advisory Board of the Stanford Humanities Center, and has recently completed her year as President of the Modern Language Association. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and recently was named Honorary Foreign Professor at the Beijing Modern Languages University. She received an Honorary Degree, Doctor of Letters, from Bard College in May 2008.

AlanSummers

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Re: Personification and anthropomorphism in haiku
« Reply #41 on: July 09, 2013, 06:23:00 AM »
.

in the garden steel ears for dreams come whistling

Darrell Lindsay


between seasons
only
reality shows


Peter Yovu


I read through all the poems several times, seeing what stuck, what caught my attention, what stayed fresh to interest. As there are really no rules in poetry—despite the occasional chosen mechanical ones of a rigid form and the surface cleverness that supports—my take is purely subjective and does not represent that of Fox News. “canyon / replies from the / afterlife” had the necessary frisson; as did “a delay in large leaves”. “planning his escape / through the I / in the sentence” attracted me, and if the last word had been “sentience” I would have stopped there.

Finally I wavered between “in the garden steel ears for dreams come whistling” and “between seasons / only / reality shows”. The latter had the twists of ambiguity that appeal to me, the natural and the electronic, the pivot of “only” and the flickering substantive/verb of “shows”: but the former still stands my test of not being quite here and thus testing me that I am.

Tom Raworth
Commentary for Scorpion Prize #21


Tom Raworth
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/tom-raworth
http://www.poetryarchive.org/poetryarchive/singlePoet.do?poetId=43
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2003/mar/22/featuresreviews.guardianreview13
http://www.the-tls.co.uk/tls/public/article1252946.ece
http://writing.upenn.edu/pennsound/x/Raworth.html

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AlanSummers

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Re: Personification and anthropomorphism in haiku
« Reply #42 on: July 09, 2013, 07:31:34 AM »

.


Modern Haiku
Volume 40.1
Winter 2009

www.modernhaiku.org/bookreviews/Gilbert2009.html

Poems of Consciousness: Contemporary Japanese
& English-Language Haiku in Cross-Cultural Perspective
by Richard Gilbert


Reviewed by Randy M. Brooks

Extracts:


Gilbert’s focus on consciousness provides an interesting perspective for looking at haiku — a perspective that leads to his list of types of disjunction that includes: (12) misplaced anthropomorphism


Reading a haiku supposes an implicit contract between the writer and reader to collaborate on seeking or creating aesthetic significance. The haiku writer won’t give the reader everything, nor tell the reader what to think nor how to feel about the images or language in the haiku. The poet invites the reader into the space of the haiku — the fragments, the language, the silences, the disjunctions, the consciousness — and expects him or her to collaborate in the process of shaping meaning or perceiving feeling from these pieces. The significance (insight, feeling, realization, understanding) is discovered and created by both writer and reader in this shared act of consciousness stimulated by the pieces of the haiku. It is this sharing of unfinished, incomplete consciousness that is the most characteristic of the art of haiku. Gilbert does an excellent job pointing out the importance of kire, the break or pause in a haiku, as the space that invites writer and reader into a shared collaborative consciousness.

If the motives of the writer or the reader are not trusted, this same space becomes an invitation for ridicule and misreading for the sake of denigration, dismissal, or petty personal attacks. This is true for individual writers as well as entire groups that may be dismissed as being too metaphorical or too realistic or too anthropomorphic. It has always been my contention that the haiku community needs to get past the beginner’s mind of definitions and rules and get on with the celebration of the diversity of the genre that is rich and strong only to the extent that there is a wide range of practice, a surprising freshness of voices and perspectives. We need to embrace and celebrate haiku writers who relish dense language and the naming function of words, haiku writers who live in the woods and tap into the biodiversity of ecosystems there, haiku writers who protest injustice and go to jail, haiku writers who resist the male ego dominance of English, haiku writers who meditate and seek the quiet voice within, haiku writers who celebrate being social and the significance of being in community, haiku writers who are religious within a variety of spiritual traditions, haiku writers who are all about people, haiku writers who write senryu and don’t care about the distinction, haiku writers who are international citizens of the world using haiku to bridge cultures, haiku writers who are so local nobody but friends at the local pub understand them. This diversity of writers and approaches to haiku is the strength and rich surprise of elasticity found in this literary genre. This is why I love the interviews in Gilbert’s book and DVD.

Note from Alan: many of these interviews on the DVD are available on the internet.

Meet Yagi Mikajo, who earned an M.D. degree from Osaka Medical College and became the first female ophthalmologist in Japan. She writes zen-ei (“avant-garde”) haiku and became the leader of a haiku group and journal, Hana (“Flower”), in 1964. Owing to Ônishi’s age and health, Gilbert’s interview is brief, but he includes commentary from Kaneko Tôta and other haiku poets. Tôta writes, “Bold, adventurous, sexual, experimental. These are some of the qualities of Mikajo’s work. Without concern for consequences, following her passion, creating haiku of the human, Mikajo is a haiku poet born in the vortex of the postwar haiku movement” (256).

    mankai no mori no inbu no era kokyû

    full bloom
    in the forest’s genitals
    respiration of gills

    Yagi Mikajo (255)

Richard Gilbert’s Poems of Consciousness does not finish academic arguments, but it is a wonderful exploration of the variety of contemporary Japanese haiku poets, especially the variety of types of consciousness that become the basis of their literary creations. It is the questions this book raises that are so valuable, and the continued exploration and introduction of contemporary Japanese haiku authors that makes this book an essential addition to libraries — personal and public. Buy it for your personal library and ask your local library to purchase a copy as well.


Yagi Mikajo-sensei is a legend. Not only is she one of the last living students who has studied directly under the New Rising Haiku poets Saitô Sanki and and Hirahata Seitô, she is also a cultural treasure. Her brilliance as a poet of gendai haiku is without equal — her radical voice, daring and cutting humor, and unpretentious poetic stance are fearless. Through more than five decades she has been not only a leader, but has served also as a guide to a new poetics. Mikajo is one of a handful of pioneering women of the postwar zen'ei avant-garde gendai movement who not only championed women's issues (in what had been something of a cultural vacuum), but also pioneered gendai haiku itself. Drawing on her experiences as a woman, she presented new dimensions of contemporary haiku.

weblinks:
http://www.gendaihaiku.com/mikajo/index.html
http://www.gendaihaiku.com/mikajo/commentaries.html


Dr. Randy M. Brooks, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and Professor of English at Millikin University: http://www.thehaikufoundation.org/poet-details/?IDclient=96

Awards and Other Honors: Most Valuable Program (Runner Up) from VOYA, (Voice of Youth Advocates) magazine for haiku workshops at Centennial High School (Champaign, Illinois, 2008); Merit Award, 15th Ito En “Oh-I, Ocha” New Haiku Contest (2004); Special Mention Award, Valentine Haiku Awards, The Heron’s Nest: A Haikai Journal (2004); Editors’ Choice, Heron’s Nest Award, The Heron’s Nest: A Haikai Journal V:1 (2003); Third Place, the Haiku Society of America's Merit Book Awards for the Best Haiku Books published in 1999 [for School’s Out: Selected Haiku of Randy Brooks (1999)]; Third Place, Penumbra Poetry & Haiku Competition (Tallahassee Writer’s Association, 1999); First Place, The Virgil Hutton Haiku Memorial Chapbook Competition (1999); Runner-up, Snapshots Haiku Collection Competition (Snapshots Haiku Magazine, 1998); First Place, Harold G. Henderson Award (The Haiku Society of America, 1998); Best of Issue Award, Modern Haiku 29:2 (1998); Matsuyama Tourism Haiku Award (sponsored by the Shiki Haiku Museum and the city of Matsuyama, 1997); Second Place, The Haiku Society of America's Merit Book Awards for the Best Haiku Books published in 1992 [for the Midwest Haiku Anthology]; Mainichi Haiku Competition Award, Mainichi Daily News (Tokyo, 1997); Honorable Mention, Japan Airlines Haiku Competition (January 1988); Bonsai Quarterly Award, Bonsai Quarterly (January 1977); Editor’s Personal Favorite Award, Modern Haiku (February 1977).

Professor Richard Gilbert, Associate Professor, Department of British and American Language and Literature, at Kumamoto University:

http://www.thehaikufoundation.org/poet-details/?IDclient=159
http://www.haikunorthamerica.com/2/post/2011/07/richard-gilbert-to-speak-at-hna.html

Awards and Other Honors: (Haiku-related): Grants: Research grants awarded by the Japan Ministry of Education (MEXT): 1) Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research, MEXT Kakenhi 18520439 (2006-08), supported the creation of research materials found at the Gendai Haiku Website (‘gendaihaiku.com’); 2) Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research, Kakenhi 21520579 (2009-12) supported documentary filming and book publication of the works and life of Kaneko Tohta (see “Books,” below); 3) MEXT Kakenhi 24520628 (2012-15) supports current research, including the translation of new scholarship related to Basho, additional poet interviews, and the publication of a bilingual textbook presenting topics in Japanese and English-language haiku for Japanese EFL university students.

Professional Activities: Co-judge of the Kusamakura International Haiku Competition, Kumamoto, Japan (2003-present). Founder and Director of the Kon Nichi Haiku Translation Group, Kumamoto University (2002-present). Founding Associate Member of The Haiku Foundation.


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AlanSummers

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Re: Personification and anthropomorphism in haiku
« Reply #43 on: July 09, 2013, 08:57:25 AM »
THE SPIRIT OF VENTUROUS EXPERIMENT
by Kaneko Tohta


I recall that my first encounter with Yagi Mikajo was sometime in 1956, during the time of the publication of her first book, Benitake [Scarlet Mushroom]. The publication celebration party was held in Osaka, and I attended the party, as I lived in Kobe at the time. My impression of Yagi Mikajo was very strong, and I recall the event quite clearly in memory. At the time, the topic of conversation was focused on [two] haiku containing the title of her book:

 

紅き茸礼賛しては蹴る女

akaki take raisan shite wa keru onna

worshipping it, the scarlet mushroom
kicks it, a woman


 

紅茸の前にわが櫛すべり落つ

benitake no mae ni waga kushi suberi otsu

in front of the scarlet mushroom
my comb slips off


 

The subtle wording, especially, in the first example, the use of akaki take [for scarlet mushroom], rather than benitake [indicating language nuance], suggests the presence of a partner to a man [a woman]; in our discussion of this expression, someone mentioned: “this wording is cleverly insidious.” [Implying also “foxy” in all senses. Dokubenitake, another scarlet mushroom of Japan (Russula emetica), has a feminine form.] The discussion ended I recall with someone saying something like, “this haiku is about jealousy.” In any case, the sort of woman who slips off a comb in front of a man, presents a considerable “challenge” to her partner. [The expression “my comb slips off” implies assertive sexuality. In Japanese culture at the time, a “decent” woman was expected to be passive.] We all laughed in admiration. Our group was a band of haiku poets filled with an energy to write “haiku of “the human,” not kachôfûei. [Traditional composition based upon “official” kigo, etc.]

So, the publication of the haiku book Benitake was warmly welcomed with real excitement and a sense of freshness. Mikajo had responded to the aims of our group through her body. Smiling, yet in a definitive manner she greeted us.


Strongly passionate—with piercing sharpness—she revealed a sensibility which encompassed the profound depths of human being. I realized that I was witnessing the emergence of a singular woman haiku poet who had the power to become a leader of the postwar haiku movement. Her second book of haiku, Akai chizu [The Red Map] includes her haiku on Nagasaki. I lived there for a time, due to my business, so I had the chance to meet and talk with her, and realized my expectations were becoming confirmed. In fact, the book contains several of her haiku masterpieces, which caused some later controversy:

 

満開の森の陰部の鰓呼吸

mankai no mori no inbu no era kokyû


full bloom
in the forest’s genitals
respiration of gills


 

マラソンの足扇形に滝の使徒か

marason no ashi senkei ni taki no shito ka


a marathon runner’s legs
fanning to and fro
apostles of a — waterfall


 

黄蝶ノ黄危機ノキ・ダム創ル鉄帽の黄

kichô no kiki no ki • damu tsukuru tetsu bô no ki


yellow-butterfly’s-danger’s-yellow-danger :
                                    dam-constructing-iron-helmet's-yellow


And the same experimental sense is also found in her later work,


百足百匹洗骨の儀はすみしかな

mukade hyappiki senkotsu no gi wa sumishi kana


a hundred black centipedes —
the ritual of washing bones
accomplished . . .


Bold, adventurous, sexual, experimental. These are some of the qualities of Mikajo’s work. Without concern for consequences, following her passion, creating haiku of the human, Mikajo is a haiku poet born in the vortex of the postwar haiku movement, and assuredly remains today a powerfully influential creator.

Excerpted comment by Kaneko Tohta (1919—). Included within the pamphlet insert, in Yagi Mikajo zen kushû ([Collected Haiku of Yagi Mikajo], Tokyo, Shûsekisha, 2006, pp. 1-2)
 
Extract from Benitake
Excerpt from the “Afterword” to Benitake [The Scarlet Mushroom] (1956; reprinted in Yagi Mikajo zen kushû [Collected Haiku of Yagi Mikajo] Tokyo: Shûsekisha, 2006, p. 43):

This book of poetry includes my haiku works from 1945 to 1955, the period which represents the era of my adolescence. Although my adolescence was distorted by World War II and the turbulence following its aftermath, somehow or other, in everyday life, the path I followed was ostensibly that of a typical woman, ostensibly a typical life. Having managed thus far, I have compiled the haiku of that period within this present volume. Pondering the fact that I have continued to breathe, even though poor in health, I cannot but offer my gratitude, and acknowledge my great obligation to my teachers, senior comrades, friends, family, and others. In outward appearance, the scarlet mushroom [amanita muscaria] is alluring, yet it exhibits a toxic quality with regard to humankind and other creatures—I have found this intriguing, and for this reason have taken this image symbolically, in titling this volume, while adding a touch of color. This reflects my style of conscious resistance.

January 1956
Yagi Mikajo


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AlanSummers

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Re: Personification and anthropomorphism in haiku
« Reply #44 on: July 09, 2013, 08:59:50 AM »
Excerpted comment by Uda Kiyoko (1935—). Included within the pamphlet insert, in Yagi Mikajo zen kushû ([Collected haiku of Yagi Mikajo], Tokyo, Shûsekisha, 2006, pp. 3-4):

YAGI MIKAJO AND THE TRACE OF TIME
by Uda Kiyoko



In the late 50’s and early 60’s, I learned of and first laid eyes on haiku works possessing tremendous impact, such as those by Kaneko Tohta, Hori Ashio (1916-1993), Hayashida Kineo (1925-1998), Shimazu Akira (1918-2000) and so on. Among them was Yagi Mikajo [Uda quotes the two haiku just above, and adds]:

 

産卵の亀の涙が溶けた朝

sanran no kame no namida ga toketa asa

 
laying eggs
a sea turtle’s tears melt
a morning



. . . From that time, almost a half century has passed, and the situation of the haiku world has changed. Nowadays, without any especially deep consideration, some reviewers and commentators from younger generations will comment, “avant-garde haiku was a failure.”

However, I do not know of any other period than that of the postwar era when haiku poets wrote with such a strong consciousness in clarifying and discussing their own aims, directly addressing issues of self and society with an acute awareness—this was the so-called “avant-garde haiku” movement. Even in my eyes, a mere spectator’s immature eyes, the senior haiku poets’ outbursts of their passion toward haiku expression was intensely sharp and powerful. Even now, that time remains burned in my memory. It is absolutely unforgettable.

 
I have some copies of the haiku journals which Yagi Mikajo founded: Fukurô [Owl], Yatôha [Night Thieves’ School], Nawa [Rope], and so on. These were all printed on old mimeograph machines, and the paper quality was poor as well. Nevertheless, every page of these journals is filled with the substantial power and passion of the young haiku poets of that era, who today have become foundational in haiku history. Yagi Mikajo’s haiku works represent the traces of a woman who became a pivotal innovator in this era of haiku history.


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