I’ve never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life. FERNANDO PESSOA

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

To Haiku Or Not To Haiku?

To haiku or not
to haiku? That's the question.
Whether 'tis nobler

and more arduous
to suffer the difficult
challenge of the ode,

ballade or aubade,
epithalamium or
terza rima, the

knotty problem of
iambic pentameter,
idyll, epigram,

sestina, carpe
diem, rondel, kyrielle,
cinquain, sestina,

tanka, triolet,
septolet, sonnet, senryn,
epic, etheree,

blank verse, villanelle,
elegy, naani, nonet,
lento, limerick,

or to take arms against a
sea of pseudo-haiku
and by opposing end them?

(Thanks to Bonnie and Shakespeare for the inspiration)

13 comments:

martine said...

Lovely:-) I had to keep looking up what words meant but I get the gist of it.
thanks for sharing
martine

The Weaver of Grass said...

Oppose them! End them I say Robert - I am sick of reading the wretched things.

Arija said...

OK Hamlet, that was great fun.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Robert, for this wonderful response to Bonnie's post on pseudo-haiku.

I am in the middle of studying poetic forms myself, for national poetry month, and I have been struck again and again by two things:

1. I love poetic forms. I find freedom in them. Something comes alive.

2. I love busting boundaries and rules. Who gives a rip?

Language changes, things change, all of this stuff evolves. What a world.

And I agree utterly with your last stanza, for I felt something in me die when I read Bonnie's post, something like the opposite of inspiration.

And then I posted haiku-like verse today (though I did not call it haiku).

Bonnie said...

Bravo! What a great piece Robert. Haiku, pseudo-haiku, three line poems - do whatever your heart desires - just label it for what is.

Glad my little rant provided some inspiration to get more of your genius on paper!

Dan Gurney said...

Very good, Robert!
Haiku seems to bring out the
Best and worst of us.

Ruth said...

(But I have interpreted your last stanza to suit my own perceptions, which is as poems should be, I suppose. I must allow that you too wish to banish pseudo-haiku. But I ask, What is haiku? Real haiku? That which was written only in Japanese, only those with 17 moras? What if even the best attempt at a "real" haiku fails in someone's opinion?)

The Solitary Walker said...

Ruth - really my 'poem' was just a little tease given as a response to Bonnie's rather prescriptive, slightly provocative post.

If you want to know my own view on haiku, I'm actually quite flexible. Some internet-blog haiku are good, some not, it doesn't matter all that much within the blogosphere as long as some people are taking pleasure writing them and other people are taking pleasure reading them. To each his or her own, and freedom is all. However, I can't help but go for literary quality, from a personal standpoint.

Re. technical requirements - the number of moras, the twist, the objectivity, the seasonal aspect - again I'm fairly flexible (and, I believe, even the 'experts' are divided on what actually a present-day haiku should consist of). But I do very much respond to conciseness, originality, and an unexpected slant or satori at the end. Also - too many haiku and short lyrics these days can be cloyingly personal, and I relish a bit of imagistic, objective (if it's possible, which it isn't, but you know what I mean) observation.

In my own 'poem' I'm using a strictly syllabic haiku form (except in the last verse) but I'm subverting the idea of haiku, and questioning haiku, in the content. I'm not opposing pseudo-haiku 'cos I don't know what pseudo-haiku really are - hence the question mark. Finally, I used Hamlet's indecisiveness to illustrate the ambiguity and open-endedness of our feelings about hailku in general.

Ruth said...

Thanks for that, Robert.

I just want to say here that I should have written my honest thoughts about Bonnie's post at her place, and not here. It would have been more forthright and given her a chance to respond. For that I apologize.

The Solitary Walker said...

No apologies needed for anything! Your comments are a delight as always.

And thanks everyone else for your very welcome remarks. (Martine - I had to look stuff up too!)

am said...

(-: This got me back on track. Hilarious. Sublime. Thanks so much! I've been in a fog.

Tramp said...

You have stimulated an interesting debate.
...Tramp

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks for reading, am and Tramp. (Am, I hope the fog is dispersing.)