The winter meeting of the Red Dragonflies (akatombo) was held on 30th May at Dawn Bruce’s home in St Leonards. The group had planned a ginko in Dawn’s leafy garden but, due to inclement weather, the meeting was held indoors.
John’s careful investigations to date are greatly appreciated; as are the descriptions by haiku writers, published over 16 weeks. The study is not an easy one but I believe it is worthwhile.
Australian Haiku Society
Defining (?) Haiku – Thoughts from a Study in Progress
….. John Bird, May 2009
In August 2007 the President of AHS asked me to advise the Society on definition(s) of English-language haiku (ELH). I’m still bumbling along on that task. The recent, ‘What is haiku?’ exercise was an offshoot of my study and prompted discussion on points I’ve been thinking about. At President Beverley’s invitation I here share some of my thoughts and tentative conclusions. I’d really like to get your reactions. Please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
[ Now, this is my bus and nobody else is allowed to drive it!]
Continue reading “Defining (?) Haiku – a Study in Progress”
Rocky Creek Dam, 50 kilometres inland from Byron Bay. is the main water supply of Lismore and the surrounding areas, and is set in part of the original Big Scrub Rainforest in the Nightcap National Park. It was here that the Cloudcatchers conducted their Autumn ginko on 30 April. This thirteenth gathering of local haiku poets comprised ten enthusiasts, who, following a cancellation of a very rainy day three weeks previously, were blessed with glorious sunshine. Abundant resonating haiku poured forth, and the round-table readings were appreciated with empathy, delight and humour. Over a picnic lunch, John Bird and Jacqui Murray casually stimulated our perception of haiku today with pertinent contributions. How fortunate we all are! Any haiku poet, living in the area or passing through, is welcome to join us at our Winter ginko in July. Contact:email@example.com
Between October, 2008 and March, 2009 HaikuOz published 74 responses by 71 poets (57 Australian) to the question, What is haiku?. These numbers reflect our enduring fascination with the nature of this haiku thing. Rich pickings are there to be had. Perhaps our scholars will be encouraged to persevere with discovering the aesthetic(s) of English-language haiku?
Responses ranged from formal, descriptive definitions to abstract expressions. I found the latter at least equally interesting and instructive. I won’t try to paraphrase them – it’s best they be (re)read in the authors’ own words.
But looking to the definitive answers, some analysis is possible. The near-universal view was that a haiku is a poem whose most distinguishing feature is brevity.
It seems we insist that our haiku is poetry despite daily-published ‘haiku’ that might persuade others to a contrary view. Is it that we don’t wish to be known as writers of anything less than poetry? I wonder if this mind-set encourages a striving for ‘depth’ or ‘intellectual significance’ or ‘semantic complexity’ that might make an older Bashõ uncomfortable. What happens to haiku when stressed to measure up to its bigger cousins?
Brevity. We are agreed the haiku is: small, short, concise, a snapshot, brief as a synaptic flash, a molecule of poetry, an atom! Nobody suggested that it should, like its Japanese parent, have a minimum length.
Continue reading “What is Haiku? – personal reflections on the exercise ~ John Bird”
to read a moving tanka sequence about Gaza by Anne Benjamin