Everyone have a nice Valentine’s Day? Looking forward to warmer weather? (Or cooler, if you live in the Southern Hemisphere?) Great. Glad to hear it.
Okay, got the chitchat out of the way. No time. Must be fast. Short. Abbreviated. Abridged. Yes, that’s it. This is the Reader’s Digest Condensed Books of haiku columns. Don’t let that put you off, though. It’s just my boring words that are abridged, not the haiku.
Haiku (Etc.) of the Week
(Poems I found and liked the last couple of weeks.)
I am giving pride of place this week to Amy Claire Rose Smith, the 13-year-old winner of the youth haiku contest at The Secret Lives of Poets. This haiku is not just “good for a thirteen-year-old.” I would be proud of having written it. Amy is the co-proprietor of The Spider Tribe Blog and Skimming the Water along with her mother, Claire Everett, also a fine haiku and tanka poet (I mean, she’s okay for a grownup, you know?) who has been featured in this space previously.
listeningto the brook’s riddlesa moorhen and I.— Amy Claire Rose Smith
a full breath,
a full moon
From Crows & Daisies:
— Polona Oblak
From Via Negativa:
moon in eclipse
I remember every place
I’ve seen that ember
— Dave Bonta
(The first line links to a spectacular photo by Dave, take a look.)
From Morden Haiku:
a hint of spring
— Matt Morden
From scented dust:
still winter –
a heavy book about
— Johannes S.H. Bjerg
(Johannes has also been writing a lengthy series of haiku about penguins that are delighting my son and me. A few of them are at his blog, linked above, and he’s also been tweeting a lot of them (@jshb32). Both in English and in Danish, because I asked nicely. 🙂 Thanks, Johannes.)
the auld fushwife
sits steekin –
her siller needle dertin.the old fishwife
sits sewing –
her silver needle darting.— John McDonald
From Yay words! :
late winter cold
a honey drop
— Aubrie Cox
From The Haiku Diary:
Ripeness Is All
In the produce section:
A very pregnant woman,
smelling a grapefruit.
From a handful of stones:
Joyfulness Keeps Pushing Through
T. S. Eliot
and the Old Testament
But I can’t help it
— Carl-Henrik Björck
in the dawn light she looks like
my first love
— Bill Kenney
have you thought
of your effect on us?
full moon.— Stella Pierides.
a bit of paradefrom the sparrow …first flakes, last snow.— Ricky Barnes
まどろむの活用形に春の雪 小川楓子madoromu no katsuyôkei ni haru no yuki.
spring snow.— Fuko Ogawa, translated by Fay Aoyagi
must I write…
waiting for you
just six radishes
remain in supply
always the first to bloom…
— Issa, translated by David Lanoue
“Class Warfare in Wisconsin: 10 Things You Should Know” (Tikkun Daily)a long day…
to the under belly of
a snail shaped moon.— Robert D. Wilson
(Normally I try to keep this blog a politics-free zone, but can I help it if Robert wrote a great tanka and Haiku News connected it to a headline about the protests in my state against the governor’s budget bill? I’m all for art for art’s sake, but if art happens to intersect with politics in an artistically pleasing way, I’m all for that too.)
The white gold moon: A Japanese haiku experience
Or how a hole in the sky turned into a pair of wings in my heart
Mutsumi and I did meet over spare egg sandwiches and coconut muffins at the 411 Seniors Centre Cafeteria. … I laid the printed sheets out on the table, two pages of ten haiku. I had noticed her wince as she read them and then, she pushed the pages away.
… She pointed to one of them and asked me, or to my mind, accused me, “Where is your heart?”
The haiku she had her forefinger on is this:
hole in dark sky?
the white moon
… “When you wrote this how did you feel?”
“Well, in the dark night sky on a full moon, I looked up and there was the moon like a white hole in the sky.”
“Seeing a hole although it was bright sort of scared me but it also delighted me because I realized it is but the moon.”
“That’s why, it can’t be a haiku. It cannot stop there. It has to stop right here,” she tapped her chest with her hand and to mine, finally a gesture which uplifted me, “in the heart, your heart.”
We plumbed the idea deeper. She focused on my delight to see the moon. What did I want to do about it? And how would I have wanted to reach the moon. I said the only I could would be “to fly”. She began to smile and latched on to the image, to the idea of flying. She asked how I would have wanted to fly. And I said with wings, of course.
“But you can’t have wings. Still you can fly with your thoughts, your thoughts of happiness,” she said. “Think of where these come from,” she urged me on.
“In my heart, of course!”
“There you are! There is your haiku!”
She took the piece of paper from my hand and began writing in Japanese, translating the characters into this:
gin-iro* tsuki no hikari*
kurai yoru watashi no kokoro
I asked what each word meant and the haiku flowed:
white gold moon
on a dark night in my heart
a pair of wings
— Alegria Imperial
Dead Tree News: Journaled
Frogpond, the venerable journal of the Haiku Society of America, edited by George Swede, came in the mail last week. First I clasped it to my heart and carried it around with me everywhere for a few days. Then I started making the difficult decisions about which tiny portion of the contents I could share with you guys. Here’s what I came up with:
First of all, I’ll mention right off the bat that there was an essay by Randy Brooks called “Where Do Haiku Come From?” that I am going to have to write a separate post about because I can’t do it justice here. So remind me about that if I haven’t come through in, say, a couple of months.
There were also a couple of interesting and related essays by Ruth Yarrow and David Grayson about bringing current events and economic realities into the writing of haiku. Ruth wrote about the recent/current financial crisis and David about homelessness. Both discussed the importance of not neglecting this aspect of our reality when we look for haiku material; David also discussed how to avoid the pitfalls of sentimentality and cliche when dealing with topics that start out with such strong emotional associations. I tend to think that the reality of the urban environment and the modern political and economic climate are seriously neglected in haiku (and I am as guilty as anyone else of neglecting them), so I was happy to see these essays here.
Second of all, here are the titles of some haibun you might want to take a look at if a copy of Frogpond falls into your path (which it will do if you join the Haiku Society of America, hint hint):
Little Changes, by Peter Newton; The First Cold Nights, by Theresa Williams; Not Amused, by Ray Rasmussen; Marry Me, by Genie Nakano; Gail, by Lynn Edge; This Strange Summer, by Aurora Antonovic; Home, by John Stevenson; Looking Back, by Roberta Beary; Koln, by David Grayson.
And lastly … the haiku. Those that particularly struck me for whatever reason:
warmth from within
— Johnette Downing
high beams visit
a small bedroom
my thin cotton life
— Dan Schwerin
coffee house babble
among all the voices
— Robert Moyer
my knotty life
— Charlotte DiGregorio
if only she had been buried wild crimson cyclamen
— Clare McCotter
wrong from every angle
— Marsh Muirhead
morning obituaries …
there i am
between the lines
— Don Korobkin
full moon —
all night the howling
— John Soules
full of faces
— Sheila Windsor
………….lets me be who I am
— Francine Banwarth
Done! Okay, for me, that really wasn’t bad.
Just wanted to say that I will probably not have another Haikuverse update for at least 3 weeks, possibly 4, since in March I will be contending vigorously with midterms, family visits, a new job, and oh, yeah, this haijinx column gig. (Send me news!) I’ll miss droning endlessly on at you guys but at least this will give you a chance to catch up with all the old columns.
22 thoughts on “Across the Haikuverse, No. 14: Abridged Edition”
I thought it best to mention the hokku you refer to is not of my making but was another gem by our friend el coyote. He blogs at Wild Geese In The Cow Field, and here’s the url or whatever you call it:
Don’t worry, Willie, his name is right there under the ku with a link to “Wild Geese in the Cow Field” attached to it. But thanks for writing. 🙂
quite a collection, you’ve served up; Amy’s haiku is exquisite, well done; much love…
Thanks, Gillena … yes, Amy will be a poet to watch for in years to come I’m sure …
Nice array of haiku! And, thanks for running mine.
Thanks, Charlotte. I love that haiku of yours! Do you actually have bonsai? I might make you show me the next time I come to Chicago if so. 🙂
Wonderful, wonderful ku … thanks…
As to indenting – did you try to use a random character (I use dashes) in front of the line till you get to the placement spot and then change the color of the character to “white?” I used to do that in Blogger, perhaps it would work in wp also.
Oh…duh! I can’t believe I didn’t think of this considering I used this technique liberally in this very post to achieve all the white space. Going back to correct now … thanks, Don. 🙂
… as in change all the dashes to white … dw
What an honor, Melissa! As if it’s the first time you’ve tossed me up your haikuverse, always. This time, the full moon I pulled down to my lines has flown up back to the sky, thanks to you for giving life to its wings!
An abridged edition? I don’t think so. Well… what’s missing is your gurgling stream of of commentaries on the haiku or sites you cite (ooops pun!). But indeed, you have to get on with what’s waggling hands are crying out for your atention. I hope wrestling away from what I call, the ‘power’ of haiku (which by the way has gripped me I’m no longer the same me!), will not be as ‘messy’ as I suppose mine would be.
But whatever you can drop along the way, I’ll watch out for it. And, yes, I’ll watch out for what I can send you for your ‘column gig’. By the way, I’m not sure if my Correspondent’s Report for Canada will appear in the next Sketchbook issue, or what Karina Klesko had asked from here late last year but I had sent my first.
Till next meeting then on your firmament and whatever star you pick out for us to gaze at in between…
Such a wonderful story, Alegria, thanks for allowing me to share it. I hope you saw that Michael linked to it on the NaHaiWriMo Facebook page and how popular it was there! So deserved.
Yikes!!! Sorry for the mistakes from fingers that dashed slower than my excitement —‘what’ not ‘what’s waggling hands…’/’sent’ not ‘had sent my first…’ (a yike-y double past perfect). Thanks so much again!
Wow, Melissa, this is terrific! I’m a new reader to Red Dragonfly, so this Haikuverse was a most welcome surprise. Thanks for all the links and for expanding my own haikuverse. A great collection of poems you chose, too.
Thanks, Jill! I’m glad to have a new reader … and now that I have checked out your blog, you definitely have a new reader too! I’m really impressed by your haiku. I especially like “harsh words,” “the tremble of the clothesline,” and “widower” … wow.
Many thanks for the mention, Melissa. Splendid article as always.
You’re welcome, Ricky … I had a hard time choosing just one of your recent ku, actually, there were several I really loved. Whatever experimenting you’re doing is bearing fruit.
thanks Melissa, most generous
You’re most welcome, John. I have been enjoying and learning from your blog for a long time now.
eventually finding fish
and Einsteins penguins
thanks again for a delightful tour through the haikuverse. I’m fishing stars every time I’m lead here. And thanks again for mentioning my haiku in such a fine assembly of haijins.
Thanks, Johannes … you really need to publish a penguin haiku chapbook. 🙂
I thoroughly enjoyed this post. There were so many sparkling haiku, I cannot pick out a favorite. Best of all, I am challenged to improve my own writing by their examples and by the “A Story, A Story” section. Thank you for all of this.
So glad to hear you were inspired by this, Yousei. I have visited and enjoyed your blog a great deal as well.