Across the Haikuverse, No. 21: Mad Libs Edition
by Melissa Allen
In this edition of the ________ you will find many ________ and __________. My favorite is probably the ________ by __________. I hope you ________ this post. It took me a long time to ______ it and now I’m really ______.
This week I have been ______ing and _______ing. _________ are blooming in my yard. I saw ________ the other day for the first time in a while and got very _______. I spent about _______ hours watching them hoping I would be able to write a good _______ about them, but no luck so far.
Hope you’re having a good _______. I’ve been kind of ________ myself.
Always nice to ________ with you,
Haiku (Etc.) For You
It’s fascinating to me how in every edition of the Haikuverse the haiku seem to clump themselves into themes, with very few haiku left off by themselves. I don’t know if this is because haiku do tend to be written about a fairly narrow set of subjects, or because human beings are really good at seeing patterns where there aren’t necessarily any, or both, or what. But this time I’m starting off with four haiku about various insects and ending with three haiku about debris, gravel, and pebbles. With rain and toys and lilacs holding down the fort in the middle, staunchly independent.
larva and silkworm-
once upon a time
there was a girl
– Stella Pierides, Stella Pierides
mi no naka no makkuragari no hotaru-gari
inside of me
my firefly hunt
— Biwao Kawahara, translated by Fay Aoyagi, Blue Willow Haiku World
what does the wasp
know about the blossoms —
— Polona Oblak, Crows & Daisies
a butterfly drifts
in and out
— Laura Garrison, DailyHaiku
(Actually, I had a hard time picking just one from Laura’s seven haiku on DailyHaiku last week. It was an outstanding selection of original, thought-provoking haiku. If you don’t believe me, you can look for yourself.)
toys my father
couldn’t fix . . .
— Aubrie Cox, Yay words!
scent of lilac -
one final breath
— Paul Smith, Paper Moon
(Last week Paul celebrated acquiring the 100th follower on his blog. Really, he should have a lot more. Paper Moon is a must-read. Did you hear me? Must. Read. Go. Now.)
how fast they build up
over fields of debris
– Kuniharu Shimizu, see haiku here
yard gravel -
I build a demanding religion
from popsicle sticks
jeg bygger en krævende religion
– Johannes S.H. Bjerg, 2 tongues . 2 tunger
– Philip Damian-Grint, a handful of stones
Cool Things You Can Do With Blogs: A List
1. You can write haiku and post it. Then you can add two lines to the haiku and turn it into a tanka and post that too. That’s what Angie Werren is doing this month on feathers. (And I thought she couldn’t top last month.) More people should do this. It makes me happy.
her body slipping
through the fog
I bookmark pages
with birthday photos
—Angie Werren, feathers
2. You can take other people’s fantastic haiku and turn them into digital works of art and post them on your blog. Then you can ALSO post a link to a great essay about haiku that is connected in some way to the haiku you posted, as well as an excerpt from the essay that will tempt your readers to go read it right now. You can do this every day for a month and call this brilliant feature “Spliced In.” If you do this, you will be Gillena Cox and your blog will be Lunch Break and it will be July 2011. And you will be one of my favorite people.
inte ett ljud hörs –
den nytjärade ekan
slukas av natten
Without a sound
the fresh-tarred rowing-boat
slips into the dark
– Johan Bergstad, Sweden
(To get the full effect you must go see what Gillena has done with this.)
3. You can write a series of brief, thoughtful, perceptive commentaries about individual haiku in simple, clear prose. This will make everyone happy, because there are not enough of these. From what I’ve seen so far, Jim (Sully) Sullivan’s new blog, haiku and commentary and tales, will be an excellent and much-needed addition to the Haikuverse. I’ve included a brief excerpt from one of his most interesting commentaries below.
soldier unfolding the scent of a letter
– Chad Lee Robinson
“A quick read and you think a soldier is unfolding a scented letter from a girl friend. … But on another level the haiku could be read as two distinct images.
the scent of a letter
… The beauty of this haiku is in the many interpretations. And the one line format (monostich) enhances this ambiguity; it leaves no clues to image breaks.”
– Jim Sullivan, “Soldier unfolding“
Cool Things You Can Do With Websites: Another List
1. You can be Haiku Chronicles. I have written about them before but I should keep reminding you that there is a website devoted to podcasts about haiku. And if you have not listened to any of them, say while you’re chopping leeks a la Basho or staring at cobwebs deciding not to dust them a la Issa, then why are you wasting your time reading this when you could be doing that? Go. The latest installment is Anita Virgil (on whose haiku I have a massive crush) reading the fourth in her series of essays on the four great masters of haiku: Basho, Buson, Issa, and now … ladies and gentlemen … for your edification and entertainment … Shiki.
2. You can be Bob Lucky. Okay, okay, most of us can’t be Bob Lucky, but at least we can go read Bob Lucky and the 25 tanka prose by other people that Bob Lucky (who is one of the most talented and, um, fun writers of haiku and tanka and haibun and tanka prose out there) lovingly selected for a special feature over at the website of the tanka journal Atlas Poetica. Not only are the tanka prose themselves more than worth reading, but Bob’s introductory essay on the selection and editing process is one of the most frank, funny things I’ve ever read on the subject.
“I never wanted to be an editor. I wanted to be a lumberjack. Not really, but there were days when working on this project I would wander from room to room, occasionally picking up a ukulele and singing momma, don’t let your babies grow up to be editors, while my mind wrestled with choices I had to make.”
— Bob Lucky, “TP or not TP, That is the Question“
Dead Tree News: Dead Tree Journals
What showed up in my mailbox the last couple of weeks and made me very happy. I may be a bit telegraphic here because it’s late and words are starting to fail me (or I’m starting to fail them). Just imagine I had something more profound and appreciative to say about both these publications, because I do, it’s just kind of trapped in a yawn at the moment.
Out of the U.K., glossy cover, haiku arranged thoughtfully by season (including a non-seasonal section). There are tanka and haibun too. And reviews. It’s good, you should get it.
all the bones
scattered in the cave
— Bob Lucky
[See? I told you.]
another bowl for fruit
I’ll never taste
— Thomas Powell
last night of September
a tear darkens
the facial mud pack
— Maeve O’Sullivan
winter closing in…
I visit the simplest words
in the dictionary
— Philip Rowland
holiday snapshots —
all the years
I was invisible
— Johannes Bjerg
A tanka journal, tall and thin and, naturally, red. Nice paper, nice print, pleasant to hold and look at and, oh, yes, read.
a boy leans over
with a foot raised
over the world
— David Caruso
for us all
in the dark
down the hall
— Susan Marie LaVallee
to the sound of my voice
on a recording;
are there other parts of me
that people know and I don’t?
— Adelaide Shaw
Okay, back to ________. I still have to ________ that _________ about the ________, prepare my ________ for _________, and ________. Hope you have a great ________!