On Sunday November 29 six of us attended another Zoom meeting: Julia Wakefield, Steve Wigg, Maeve Archibald, Stella Damarjati Lynette Arden and Coral Carter. Coral introduced us to her publishing house Nulla Nulla Press, which publishes WA haiku poets.
We had agreed to try composing some haiku prompted by 4 or 5 concrete nouns, as demonstrated in Hansha Teki’s Bipedal Verses https://heliosparrow.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/Bipedal_Verses-Hansha_Teki.pdf so we could compare our different responses to each prompt. At the same time we looked at the ‘parallel verse’ approach that Hansha Teki demonstrated.
Most of us found the ‘parallel verse’ technique extremely challenging, but we attempted to define its purpose. First of all, it was apparent that you can read both haiku together, so that they form a new poem, as in this example by Hansha Teki, inspired by the concrete noun GALAXY:
the milky way
However, this isn’t easy. Very often Hansha Teki’s parallel verses are more obscure when read together, but they can also offer two different perspectives on the same theme, a little like the image of the vase that is also two profiles:
This example was inspired by the word ‘FARM’, and evokes two contrasting aspects of childhood – the remembered idyll and the consequent perspective of a threatening future:
end of days
After we had discussed our own experiments Lyn suggested that this approach was a good way to develop other forms of poetry from writing haiku. Maeve seemed to be particularly adept at the method.
We then shared some of our own haiku that we had composed for other reasons. We found that they could often be improved by swapping the last line with the first line. We also shared notes about recommended reading: Steve and I have both purchased the Renku Reckoner, which is a very comprehensive guide to composing renku. I have found the Haiku Handbook by William J Higginson and Penny Harter a, and One Hundred Frogs by Hiroaki Sato both very useful guides to the history of haiku.
Our next meeting will be on January 24 at 3pm. We will attempt a renku, following the Summer theme, and Steve will be our renku master.