The past and present can co-exist.
I wanted to showcase some English haiku that I stumbled upon. These haiku have garnished awards or/and have been published.
Now, there are thousands of examples out there of traditional haiku, and there are just as many out there of Modern haiku.
I see layers in the haiku which follow this commentary. Many do have an ... unseen... break, but the image, the total effect of the haiku is that of ONE image/one stream of consciousness/one sentence (part) broken by an invisible comma. But all the divisions are subtle (No... the lone elk /crosses the deep stream-/ harvest moon). I believe what is allowing these haiku to be appreciated by those-in-the-know as true haiku (modern or otherwise) is that there is a ... vastness to them. The moments that they catch stretch into TWO ideas or observations within the fewest syllables possible. This, to me, to many people, is the beauty of modern haiku. The aha moment takes precedence – and the two parts seem like one part until you ‘weigh’ the haiku, sift it in your mind, allow it to take full hold.
I still appreciate well crafted traditional haiku. They should be appreciated as a unique art form, culturally significant, unlike any other, deserving of respect and REQUIRING PRESERVATION.
But I also appreciate modern haiku (really, modern haiku has been around for.. what?...half a century? Calling it ‘modern’ is almost laughable, isn’t it?)
My first point is this: Modern haiku and Traditional haiku share very little in common, save for the fact that they are both a moment/observation captured by a poet in as few syllables as possible. Modern haiku CAN be written as what is not instantly recognized as 2 parts and makes free use of metaphor AND these haiku are being given awards, are being recognized by international haiku societies (including JAPAN) and are being published, read and enjoyed!
My second point is this (stay with me, I’ll get there): I enjoyed art in school and have dabbled in a multitude of mediums. I have tried egg tempera painting – which involves carefully removing every trace of egg white from a yolk (you actually have to puncture the egg sack and drain the yolk) and then mixing the yolk with dry tempera paint. I have tried oil painting, the layering of textures and hues, the slow building of a portrait, those phases of completion. I have tried water colour, the instant saturation of tints, the commitment to one stroke, no turning back. I have tried stippling ... well, I’ve tried lots. I like acrylics. They suit me. Now, I do not need to master oils to enjoy and pursue acrylics. That would be redundant. I DO need to know the basics, however. I need to know about light and shadows, the colour wheel, contrast, linear perspective etc...
The same should and I believe DOES apply to writing.
What ALL writers NEED is a solid understanding of sentence structure and punctuation, in other words GRAMMAR. Learning to avoid weak adjectives and adverbs, choosing the PERFECT noun and/or the strongest verb are examples of writing tools which transcend and cross into every form of writing — and are used by those who write business letters, news articles, short fiction and (yes) poetry.
BUT I do not need to know how to write a technical manual in order to write a literary novel. I do not need to know how to write a mystery in order to write a romance.
And I do not need to know how to write a traditional haiku in order to write a modern haiku.
To write modern haiku, I need to read, study and appreciate the Modern haiku that is being written, recognized, appreciated and published. It IS that simple.
Now, that being said, and at the risk of sounding like a broken record, knowledge is always a good thing. And whatever tidbits you pick up can filter their way into all aspects of living, whether you take a course in photography, embalming or astrology—what we learn is recycled, becomes a part of us.
Can mastering traditional haiku improve your modern haiku? Maybe. Can you write a fantastic modern haiku without mastering traditional haiku? Absolutely. Can you write a dazzling modern or traditional haiku in English without a solid understanding of the components of language? Nuh huh. Nada.
Anyway, here are the wonderful haiku I came across.
Hope you enjoy.
And let the discussion begin!
Looking forward to the comments...
Hugs to all,
The Betty Drevniok Award, various years
Side by side
In the hammock
Two unread books
By Lois Harvey
In her hand
The downed branch
By Carol Pearce
2nd prize (Judged by Michael Dylan Wench)
And crossing the summer lake
The rain comes in sheets
By Phyllis Brown
Currents taking us beyond
All the time
We care to measure
By Bill Pauly
Old couple worrying
What will eat
The crocuses this spring
By Bill Pauly
Has found it for me
A mountain path
Haiku Presence Awards, Various Years
in the dark
I cradle snow
on my tongue
By Kate Hall
For a moment
The sandwich maker
Loses his rhythm
By Frank Williams
Gerald Brady Memorial Award, Various Years
A watermelon smile drips off the end of my elbow
By Bett Angel-Stawarz
in the dishwater
a pair of chopsticks
By Garry Gay
all winter long
smoke on the horizon
in the same place
from Presents of Mind (Katsura Press, 1996)
north wind moans
through a crack
in my dream
A Journal for Reflections (The Crossing Press, 1988)
i write a death poem
from paperweight for nothing (tribe press, 2006)
The cotton farmer
plows down the Indian mound
heedless of the bones.
Storm of Stars (The Green World, 1976)
Mountain Voices (Ami-Net International Press, 2000)
as in my childhood
I stay in the rain
to eat fresh blackberries
Unsold Flowers (Hub Editions, 1995)
in the shop
a moth and I selecting
a wool jumper
An unmown sky
edited by Vukelic-Rozic Durda
Haiku Association Three Rivers, Ivanic Grad, Croatia
On my forehead
You kiss the thoughts
By Ludmila Balabanova
Ludmila Balabanova was born in 1949 in Bulgaria. Educated at the Technical University of Sofia, where she is currently teaching. She is a member of the Bulgarian Haiku Club and she is the Bulgarian editor for the WHA. Publications include two poetry books, one haiku collection ("Cricket song", 2002) and poems in anthologies and magazines
opening its eyes at
the insect sees
nothing but roofs
till the withered field in my dream
By Tohta Kaneko
Tohta Kaneko was born in Saitama prefecture, Japan, in 1919. Graduated from Imperial Tokyo University with a major in Economics. Began writing haiku at 18, becoming a member of the Seisoken group. Later, studied haiku under Shuson Kato. Went to work for the Bank of Japan. Served in the Navy during WWII and was stationed on the island of Truk, returning to Japan in 1946. As one of the leaders, he promoted Avant-garde haiku in post war Japan. In 1962 founded the haiku magazine Kaitei. From 1983-2000, served as President of the Modern Haiku Association. Has won: the Modern Haiku Association Prize (1956) Shiju-hoso Medal (1989) Poetry Museum Prize (1996) NHK Media Culture Prize (1997). Currently the Editor of the haiku column in the Asahi Newspaper, Honorary President of the Modern Haiku Association. Lives in Kumagaya, Japan with his family. Has published many books of haiku including an English language collection, 101 Haiku of Tohta Kaneko (2001)