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the complexities and beauty of haiku

butters
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Fire of Insight
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for the sake of clarity, i'm adding this edit here, right at the top so it can't be missed.

this thread has 3 purposes:

1: to state how the misinformation spread around the web about what makes a haiku a haiku makes me feel

2: to state in clear terms what a poem needs to be termed haiku - for those who care to understand - as per the guidelines of the most respected haiku societies/publications, in an attempt to counter-balance disinformation

3: to provoke/promote discussion about this wonderful form, how it's adapted by the western world, and why it's important to promote knowledge so as to retain the spirit of the form.

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for me, it's such a shame that haiku's been hijacked into a virtually anything goes so long as it's 5-7-5 and chucks in a cherry blossom.

it's way more complex which accounts for its status as an art form. it's about the spirit of the poem, not syllabic count.

as a japanese form, haikus are comprised of 17 (or less) on or onji -- a japanese 'syllable'--('haiku' counts as 3 on, 'senryu' and 'haikai' both count as having 4) to be spoken in one exhalation. clearly, then, on do not directly relate to an english/american syllabic count. so we have to just go with the notion of 17 of our syllables (or LESS) which may be arranged in a single line or over two or three lines.

the most common form adopted by english-speaking countries is the 5-7-5 but it doesn't mean it's not haiku if a more streamlined layout is adopted. it's not about fancy words and you don't make it rhyme; haiku avoid titles, metaphors and similies.

a haiku needs  to do several things:

focus on a momentary experience using clear imagery and language. like a living snap-shot. the language needs to reflect that instantaneous 'moment', not make it into a movie

rensô: the juxtapositioning of 2 images
(using a 3 line example) create 2 images that don't automatically connect, generally the first and last line, but are connected by that central line. the central line can be read as the end of line 1 or as a different thought connected with line 3

kireji or 'cutting word': the first 2 lines will seem to be travelling in one direction, but there's a 'turn' that comes at the end of the second line (usually, though it can come midway through the second line). the kireji is maybe best described as a 'spoken punctuation', used to place emphasis on a specific point or to create a pause before line 3's image that brings the haiku into sharp focus as a whole.

kigo or seasonal reference: this can range from the colour of grass or a certain bird which might only be seen at specific times of the year. it's not all cherry blossoms. it is intended to record more completely the experience written about by anchoring it to a time of year.

a haiku's NOT all about your feelings
emotional language really has no place in there
the 2 images, juxtaposed, are intended to create the feelings in YOU, as a reader; YOU get the visualisations, you get the 'aha!' moment as the two get connected. YOU stay OUT of the poem as an identity but, rather, as the writer immerse yourself in the moment. write from within the poem. visualise it, feel it, write it.

i know this will fall on a lot of ears that don't want to hear it, a lot of eyes won't even read to the end. it'll probably be labeled "elitist bullshit" because it's so much easier to write something that's 5-7-5 and say anything. fine, just please don't call it a haiku. that's disparaging an art.

butters
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there are so many beautiful short poems written in the 5-7-5 category which can be enjoyed for what they are. why label them something they're not?

perhaps we should hold a Shakespearean sonnet write-in where the only requirement is the number of lines. would only the purists object? or an ottava rima adhering beautifully to imabic pentameter but with stanzas of any old number of lines and the rhyme scheme of a limerick? still an ottva rima? or how about an acrostic where only a few of the line-starts form the vertical word because the poem wanted to go somewhere that didn't fit in with the 'each first letter of every line makes the word' rule?

and i know there are many don't give a damn, but when a form is so corrupted that it bears only the most glancing similarities to its parameters then it no longer gets to be called that name. shorts, faux-ku, micro-poetry... anything. but it ain't haiku no matter how much you say it is. it's not only lazy, it's a disservice to poetry (something we're all supposed to love) to spread misinformation that bastardises a form almost out of existence.

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the timing is purely because of what i'm seeing being written and labeled as Haiku when it isn't. yes, i saw you had a competition claiming 'traditional japanese haiku' when it's not, but this is a pet peeve of mine that has been a thorn in my side for decades. it's really not about you.

diatribe? so you'd happily list the requirements of haiku as per the american society of haiku, informed by japanese culture and art over millennia, as a diatribe? or maybe that's soley intended as an attack on my own words and opinions. am i not free to voice poetic facts and my opinions of those without you attacking me for doing so? why not address the FACTS about what constitutes HAIKU?

as to putting people off putting pen to paper, i say balderdash. i have seen some exquisite short writes, micro-poetry embracing the brevity of a haiku but without it being a haiku. hell, most my own shorts embrace the same formatting -- i just don't flat out lie and call them haiku where they are not.

i have no issues with you running your competition with the formatting you choose; i do have a problem with ANYONE fostering the ignorance of a beautiful topic where they could just call it another name and be done with it, or introduce the aesthetics to those who may be unaware of what an actual haiku IS.

i'd suggest you back off with your attack-position, david. it's unbecoming.

butters
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Anonymous said:<< post removed >>
screen shot taken for evidence

butters
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the majority of "haiku" i see written either here or around the web are, in fact, "senryu". a perfectly acceptable name, don't see why people are so against calling it what it is.

https://akitahaiku.com/what-are-haiku-senryu-and-tanka/
excerpt below:

"What are Haiku?

Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry, consisting of 17 morae (or on), in three metrical phrases of 5, 7 and 5 morae respectively.  Haiku typically contain a kigo, or seasonal reference, and a kireji, or verbal caesura (cutting word).

English-language haiku poets think of haiku as a Japanese form of poetry generally (but not always) consisting of 17 syllables, usually within three lines, with 5, 7 and 5 syllables.

In Japanese, haiku are traditionally printed in a single vertical line, while haiku in English usually appear in three lines, to parallel the three metrical phrases of Japanese haiku. The essential element of form in English-language haiku is that each haiku is a short one-breath poem that usually contains a juxtaposition of images.

Most haiku writers prefer poems that refer to nature and social events, but some of them don’t always place an exacting seasonal word in the poem. Furthermore, a few of them write haiku composed on one or two lines in less than 17 syllables.  Currently the majority of haiku are written in 11 short syllables in a 3-5-3 format.

And Senryu?

Senryu is a Japanese form of short poetry similar to haiku in construction: three lines with 17 or fewer morae (or on) in total.  However, senryu tend to be about human foibles while haiku tend to be about nature, and senryu are often cynical or darkly humorous while haiku are more serious. Unlike haiku, senryu do not include a kireji or verbal caesura (cutting word), and do not generally include a kigo, or seasonal word.

It is often said that both haiku and senryu can be funny, but that if it’s funny, it’s probably senryu.  Both haiku and senryu can be about nature, but if it’s about nature, it’s probably a haiku.  In addition, both haiku and senryu can be about nature or human nature.  Both haiku and senryu can be serious or humorous/satirical.  A serious poem about nature is certainly a haiku.  And a funny/satirical poem about human nature is certainly a senryu."

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It's not really clear what the purpose of this thread is. if you're looking for debate probably best to say so at the top. on the face of it it would appear to be a rant,, albeit an informed and technically correct rant. that said, it would also appear to be set to provoke. so if you don't mind could you please give the thread some sort of direction

Ahavati
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lepperochan said:It's not really clear what the purpose of this thread is. if you're looking for debate probably best to say so at the top. on the face of it it would appear to be a rant,, albeit an informed and technically correct rant. that said, it would also appear to be set to provoke. so if you don't mind could you please give the thread some sort of direction

Seriously?

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butters
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lepperochan said:It's not really clear what the purpose of this thread is. if you're looking for debate probably best to say so at the top. on the face of it it would appear to be a rant,, albeit an informed and technically correct rant. that said, it would also appear to be set to provoke. so if you don't mind could you please give the thread some sort of direction
it's not a rant, but an explanation of what constitutes haiku. it is a pet peeve of mine that disinformation is so widely spread about this exquisite art form and so simply hoped to redress the balance a little. that isn't about 'provoking', no matter how some might choose to interpret it, above and beyond the provoking of a discussion about the form.

people may wish to discuss the form, its adaptations over the years, whatever they wish to bring to it.
having said that, it would be nice to see the sort of uncensored attack on my post and personal intentions that david posted, in what does indeed constitute 'a rant', be discouraged.

i'll add something to the top to address this.

butters
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Ahavati said:
i thought it clear, but to address any possible misinterpretation (wilful or otherwise) i'll add a notation to the o.p

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Butters... here’s the thing my dear, and I am not shouting in the least.

If you have an issue with the haiku competition parameters, why don’t you enter and attempt to educate by example rather than start these damning threads because you don’t agree with something? I’m far more likely to listen if somebody says “hey, there’s another way of doing this” rather than somebody force-ranting at everybody “this is wrong and this is the ONLY correct way”.

Yes, you have some perfectly valid points about Haiku. No, your way is not the only way.

There’s a wonderful saying in England I’m sure you’re familiar with: Shit or get off the pot.

Applicable here.

No bad intended and I hope you have a lovely evening. Thank you and goodnight.

David_Macleod
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If people choose to embrace an ignorant attitude that too is entirely up to them. Given your response I stand by every word I posted - you have proved my point (lol)

we can all take screenshots for evidence, nothing I said was a slur, but if you create a thread like this one expressing a dogmatic approach and you do so rudely then my response suits the tone you have created.

I see as usual you avoid the more important questions about your rant (lol)

Anyway, I've said what I had to say and restate that YOU ARE WRONG!

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"i'll add something to the top to address this."

that's all I asked, thank you muchly  

@Avahti. I say it like I see it. nowhere in that quote does it say open a thread and rant

@ David, you should know better than throw insults at people, period. you're a poet for god's sake. use your words  ...your other words  

thank you. you're all beautiful

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Admitting I'm educated, that is.

David_Macleod
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lepperochan said:

@ David, you should know better than throw insults at people, period. you're a poet for god's sake. use your words  ...your other words  

thank you. you're all beautiful


I agree with you, I should know better but this rant was an injustice to many poets. Sometimes somebody has to stand up to this kind of perceived correctness. The invitation was explicitly there to call it elitist bullshit and I called it as I saw it. there were no personal insults just an opinion of fact as I see it - not personal I would have responded like that to any member ranting like that. It's insulting and offensive. There was a time when a thread like this would be closed down, anyway I bow to your request but I have to say that my opinion still stands

butters
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Miss_Sub said:Butters... here’s the thing my dear, and I am not shouting in the least.

If you have an issue with the haiku competition parameters, why don’t you enter and attempt to educate by example rather than start these damning threads because you don’t agree with something? I’m far more likely to listen if somebody says “hey, there’s another way of doing this” rather than somebody force-ranting at everybody “this is wrong and this is the ONLY correct way”.

Yes, you have some perfectly valid points about Haiku. No, your way is not the only way.

There’s a wonderful saying in England I’m sure you’re familiar with: Shit or get off the pot.

Applicable here.

No bad intended and I hope you have a lovely evening. Thank you and goodnight.


hello

my issue isn't because of his competition. i'm sure he thinks so, but then you seem to think my post was 'a rant'. it's not. i guess people interpret things the way they will; as far as i'm concerned, my post was quite restrained and addressed the factual points about haiku. i call that a push back against ignorance and disinformation. true, it's a pet peeve of mine and has been for a long time, so i'm quite used to the sort of push back i have received.

now, there's a reason i won't put a haiku in his competition: most of mine are senryu's/faux-ku's/simply shorts but it's supposed to be a competition for HAIKU. the few i have remaining that didn't get lost when a motherboard fritzed were written some time back and form part of a collection i've been asked to compile--so posting them publicly in a competition for haiku that doesn't conform to what actually constitutes a haiku would be counterproductive.

not 'my way', it is the way of the form as recognised by the publishers of sites, magazines and books with award-winning content. to suggest it's just me, oh, doing my thang, saying this is how I say it should be, is simply incorrect.

yep, i'm aware of that saying and many many others. i wouldn't term the poetry offered up in his competition as shit, though... bit rough, dontcha think?

thankyou for discussing the concept in a more mature fashion than your friend.

enjoy your evening, too.

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