Australian haiku poet Jo McInerney has just been honoured as the winner of the weekly ‘re: Virals’ segment on The Haiku Foundation website, which provides the opportunity for readers to respond to a particular haiku of note, as chosen by the previous winner.
Jo’s response to a haiku by English poet John McManus can be read below.
Looking ahead, however, it should be noted that Jo is not only the first Australian to have a piece of haiku commentary adjudged to be a winner of ‘re: Virals’ – with her choosing the following haiku by Lorin Ford for the next set of comments, it has also meant this is the first time that the work of an Australian haiku poet has been featured for comment:
their wings like cellophane remember cellophane
– Lorin Ford, ‘Road runner’, IX: 2 (2009)
The Haiku Foundation website strongly encourages readers to comment – guidelines are provided through this link:
Jo McInerney’s successful comment in the ‘re: Virals’ section of The Haiku Foundation’s website responded to the following haiku:
we fall further down
the rabbit hole
— John McManus, ‘bottle rockets’ 28 (2013)
In its introduction to Jo’s winning response, the THF website noted that she ‘identified some of the metaphor’s reach for us today’: as Jo herself observes –
‘John McManus’s haiku suggests the power of the imagination when taken by a captivating narrative. Through ‘story hour’ it presents story-telling as a spoor we follow to strange new worlds.
John’s allusion to Lewis Carroll’s ‘rabbit hole’ metaphor places the storyteller as gatekeeper, spirit-guide, midwife drawing the reader or listener through the passage between one realm of existence and another.
‘One particularly interesting aspect of this haiku is the use of ‘further’. This suggests we actually live by way of imaginative re-creation, constantly moving further down the ‘rabbit hole’ as we birth and rebirth our own existence. We may be our own myth makers, the creators of our own stories. ‘Fall’ seems to imply the inevitability of this process. It may not be something over which we have conscious control.’