Blythely Misjudging Haiku
"The reader… may actually learn more about the nature of haiku by considering the failures and near-hits rather than the successes"(R.H. Blyth in Preface to Vol 1, History of Haiku)
|R.H. Blyth - No joke! His commentary on haiku is totally biased|
"His way of Haiku can hardly be said to exist now, for almost nobody walks on it. As a Way, it was in many respects better than that of Taoism, Christianity, Confucianism, Buddhism and so on. Its desuetude is a monument to the stupidity, vulgarity, sentimentality, and unpoeticality of human beings."
|Basho's "Old Pond" - surely there can be more to haiku than this?|
The Poet is Simply Sincere
The Poet is Not a Saint
Learning to Judge Haiku
What is Art?
Steps to Analyzing Haiku
- When is it happening? What season? What time?
- Where is it taking place?
- Who is present?
- Is there any precedent implied?
- What mood is captured?
- How is this achieved?
Stop Talking About...
|Jane Reichhold - "stop talking about senryu; it's all haiku!"|
"R.H. Blyth is responsible for this false splitting of haiku into two divisions. For haiku, accepted by Japanese literary history as haiku, which Blyth did not like or understand, he constantly exploits the term senryu to degrade them. Adopting Blyth's attitude, certain experts and editors have set themselves up as judges to determine what is "real haiku" and referring, as he did, to all else as senryu. I strongly believe if a writer calls his/her work haiku, it IS haiku. If someone else does not like it, or it does not fit their standards, this does not give anyone the right to call it by the deprecatory name of erotic doggerel.In any case, the term senryu should be discontinued because that is not what we are writing. Personally I have never read anything yet in English as degrading as a real Japanese senryu are. None of us would accept or publish such work. Why should we remind ourselves of this questionable practice by the Japanese by using the term?"
Analyzing Real Poems
Part I - A Walk in the Sand
sand dollarthe curve of the shorebehind me
|A Sand Dollar on a beach|
|A Sand Dollar revealed by retreating waves|
Next I am struck by the juxtaposition of the two elements in these first two lines: the creature with such an unusual name: "sand dollar", and "the curve of the shore". What comes to my mind is the curving shape of a dollar sign $. A clever connection, perfected by his concluding remark: "behind me". Of course, the curving shore is behind him as he walks along the beach, but does he also mean to imply that the pursuit of dollars is behind him? Is this a holiday? Is this a retirement? Has he been reappraising his personal priorities and deciding that money is less important than health? I consider this an excellent haiku in form and execution. When considering it in terms of literary aesthetics, it also meets my criteria of conveying an authentic experience through the re-creating of the sensations and cognitive processes of the poet; yet it also leaves me with enough mystery, enough that is left unstated to allow my own interpretation, to question, to wonder, and of course to apply to my own life. It is the sort of poem that will spring back to mind next time I walk along a beach and encounter a sea-creature.
Analyzing Real Poems Part II - Fear and Trembling
deep breath –the pressure insidethe confessional
|A Catholic Confessional|
Analyzing Real Poems Part III - Wabi Sabi
playing catch at dusk,I dimly rememberbeing the son
Poetry is What Speaks to the Heart
|Shiki - Haiku Poet and theorist - refused to worship Basho|
The Pleasure of Poetic Analysis
A Less Successful Poem (at least that's my opinion)
Opening their heartsice and water becomefriends again—TEISHITSU(Addiss, Stephen; Yamamoto, Fumiko; Yamamoto, Akira (2011-07-05). Haiku: An Anthology of Japanese Poems (Shambhala Library) (Kindle Locations 195-198). Shambhala Publications. Kindle Edition.)
High mountain sunshineIce and water touch hands, danceagain together- Strider
Thank You, and Congratulations Lisette
fair Andromedadestined to dance withheaven's river
|Heavens River - The Milky Way|
|A galactic collision - looks more like a dance to me! This one is rather prosaically known as UGC 1810 and UGC 1813|
|Andromeda and Perseus, by Edward Burne-Jones. Interestingly, the dragon has a spiral shape - like a galaxy!|
In each of Brager's haiku, the poet, and hence the reader, is personally engaged in the scene, which makes the poem more emotionally engaging. I think what could have made Lisette's poem even better would be a similar personal and human connection to the drama unfolding. Something that would speak of the poet (and the reader) as more than mere bystanders in the actions of gods, (or of galaxies). Perhaps the second line might have been crafted something like: "we are destined to dance" to convey such a personal connection.