Welcome to Notes from the Gean the journal of                          haiku, tanka, haiga, haibun, linked forms & more.  ...
contentslinked formsTsunami p.4, Patent Leather Shoe p.10-12, Man Standing in Rain p.21, Sepia Blues p.29, Fairground Anim...
Tsunami                          seized                          from the mud                          one lottery ticket ...
Wires run through                          the sky. All platforms flooded                          by march.              ...
nearing dusk                          a girl dumps bait worms                          back into the earth                ...
the abbess                          prays to the icon                          of her groom:                          "my ...
In Another Town                          As you dream in another town, I stroll to the                          lake at da...
Cherie Hunter Day - USANotes from the Gean 3:4                                                    Page 9
Patent Leather Shoe                          A Kasen Renku                          more light to ponder                  ...
patent leather shoe                          in the refrigerator             John                          return to the s...
they say a cactus                          can have all the water         John                          you need to surviv...
warm front                          the romance novel                          opens itself                          John ...
How an acceptance happens – Richard KrawiecI thought it might be interesting for some to read the process Penny Harter and...
3. Penny’s responseHi Richard,Ive run the line order by a few folks, and when I suggested changing it, one well-respected ...
5. Penny repliesHi Richard,You are convincing me to go with my first impulse---and your suggestion---move that line about"...
Into the Sea       Where do you sleep? In an abandoned steeple.       A night light? I dont blow out my candles before sle...
Into the Sky                Where do you sleep? In an abandoned steeple.                A night light? I dont blow out my ...
how did it begin                          neither of us made                          the first move—                     ...
Maire Morrissey-Cummins - IrelandNotes from the Gean 3:4                                                              Page...
Man Standing in the Rain                                 willow leaves                                 turn away—         ...
The Dreaming Room                  heatwave by Carole MacRury: a commentary by Michael Dylan WelchA Favourite Haiku   heat...
wildflowers by George Swede: a commentary by Lynne Rees                                                 wildflowers       ...
the longest night . . .                          every mistake                          I ever made                       ...
an old argument                                     untangling                                     the christmas lights   ...
a trace of warmthinsomnia all the shadows of thingswhen the day opens awkwardly I leave the house and walk through the orc...
a crystal dewdrop                          rests on an oak leaf . . .                          immersed                   ...
Irene Szewczyk -PolandNotes from the Gean 3:4                                                   Page 28
Sepia Blues a "renray"                                    abandoned row houses—                                    behind ...
haiku matters                                     Humour in Haiku: Colin Stewart JonesWhat may be funny to one person may ...
Nobly, the great priestdeposits his daily stoolin bleak winter fields. 3While Bashō seems to be use a mocking tone, Buson ...
In this haiku, Issa cleverly shows us juxtaposition without ever directly mentioning it. We still see theshell juxtaposed ...
Is it not just simply a haiku about cycles of death and ageing now, as I have outlined above—with thepathos being clearly ...
Is it the bra that is in training for when it will be needed to be a training bra? By using clever wordplayand repetition ...
John Byrne - EireNotes from the Gean 3:4                                              Page 35
a tiny snail on                          the long march across the pavement;                          overnight rain      ...
not long enough                          the bed                          the night                          Graham Nunn -...
Fairground Animals - Jūnichō                                 in a dark corner                                 the glow    ...
Searching the SizeIt is the evening hour of cloudy summer in Doon Valley, Dehradun. The children are busycollecting pebble...
thick, congealed                          blood on the moonlit floor…                          ten years later            ...
Lake Ontario                          cupped in my hands                          a Taiwan moon . . .                     ...
old friend—                          embracing him                          our bones collide                          Joh...
he asks if it’s                          the end of the line                          winter moon                         ...
Special Feature                                                NaHaiWriMoNaWriHaiMo (National Haiku Writing Month) is an i...
Q1.Colin Stewart Jones How did you first get to hear of NaHaiWriMo and would you actively promote the group to       other...
Jann Wirtz I gave up at Laundry.. after Jam and Kitchen the domesticity got to me!Michele Harvey Im not sure if I first sa...
Q2.Colin Stewart Jones Does the sense of community work better than a closed forum which can sometimes       intimidate?Ha...
Angie Werren yes :) I actually left one closed community because I felt the moderater imposed his own viewpointmuch too mu...
Kathabela Wilson This community is nourishing and inspiring and we touch new hearts in approach to the heart ofhaiku! I te...
Angie Werren yes. I try to let the unfamiliar prompt take me to a new way of interpreting what I see/observe. if Icant bri...
Violette Rose-Jones Yes. Good haiku are not always about having a haiku moment but are always about nailing atruth or a tr...
Lisa Hills I think it probably does. But it depends on many elements. If my brain is thinking of poignant words and       ...
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  1. 1. Welcome to Notes from the Gean the journal of haiku, tanka, haiga, haibun, linked forms & more. Brought to you by Gean Tree Press. Mission Statement: We seek to encourage excellence, experimentation and education within haiku and its related genres. We believe this is best accomplished by example and not imitation. Our aim is for authenticity above all else. We therefore solicit your finest examples of haiku, tanka, haiga, haibun and renga/renku so that we may "hear" your voices speak. The Editors For details on how to submit to Notes from the Gean please check our SUBMISSIONS page. cover artwork Colin Stewart Jones Overall content copyright © 2012 Gean Tree Press. All Rights Reserved.Notes from the Gean 3:4 Page 2
  2. 2. contentslinked formsTsunami p.4, Patent Leather Shoe p.10-12, Man Standing in Rain p.21, Sepia Blues p.29, Fairground Animals p.38,Moonlight Settles p.60, Stars that know no sadness p.67, The power of light p.68, "rain on the tracks" p.88,In The Rain p.96-98, “the short goodbye” p.106-108, Tea at the Tate & Around the Gherkin p.116-117,A maggot & Scattered moon p.122haikuhaiku 1 p.5 haiku2 p.6, haiku 3 p.13, haiku 4 p.24, haiku 5 p.25, haiku 6 p.36, haiku 7 p.37, haiku 8 p.42,haiku 9 p.43, haiku 10 p.58, haiku 11 p.59, haiku 12 p.70, haiku 13 p.71, haiku 14 p.86, haiku 15 p.87,haiku 16 p.99, haiku 17 p.109, haiku 18 p.115, haiku 19 p.126, haiku 20 p.127, haiku 21 p.128tankatanka 1 p.7, tanka 2 p.19, tanka 3 p.27 tanka 4 p.40, tanka 5 p.41, tanka 6 p.57, tanka 7 p.72, tanka 8 p.73,tanka 9 p.90, tanka 10 p.91, tanka 11 p.95, tanka 12 p.112, tanka 13 p.113, tanka 14 p.119, tanka 15 p.124,tanka 16 p.125haibunIn Another Town p.8, How an acceptance happens – Into the Sky p.14-18, a trace of warmth p.26,Searching the Size p.39, House and Bird p.56, Guilty Pleasures p.65, After Arrival p.66, ‘The Point p.76,“The midnight” p.77, A little from the tip p.89, shadows p.93, THE SEASIDE p.103, Return p.104,The Narrow Gate p.105, Mountain in Late Afternoon p.114, One Nation Under Jazz p. 120-121,The Summing Ups and Downs p.123haigacoming home p.9, log fire p.20, day by day p.28 river weir p.35, time p.55, early spring p.64, a break p.69,Sunday drizzle p.74, falling leaves p.75, barnacles p.85 wild geese p.92, knotholes p.94 chilly autumn breeze p.110,rose cuttings p.111, woodpile p.118, waiting p.129The Dreaming Roomheatwave p.22, wildflowers p.23, on a bare branch p.61-62, snow melting p.63, smell of bile and winter hive p.100-101,two months gone p.102essays/haiku mattersHumour in Haiku p.30-34special featureNaWriHaiMo p.44-53, Old Pond Comics p.54.interviewsJack Galmitz p. 78-84.reviewssmall hours p.130-132, Leptir nad pučinom p.133back pagedog days p.134Notes from the Gean 3:4 Page 3
  3. 3. Tsunami seized from the mud one lottery ticket a shaking of heads as the earth shakes one mother cradling a piece of rock someone else’s mother finding a missing shoe a minute’s silence just the rumbling of sea children’s voices the old man shrugs remembering Hiroshima out of the rubble a new road bending into sunlight Peter Butler U.K.Notes from the Gean 3:4 Page 4
  4. 4. Wires run through the sky. All platforms flooded by march. Volker Friebel - Germany Land of snow— the crows wings shimmer when turning. Volker Friebel - Germany Waning March light. Sheep on the river, their mouths washed by water. Volker Friebel - Germany swan wrapped in sleep— drifting moon John McDonald - Scotland full moon— winter’s stillness in a soap bubble Ramesh Anand - MalaysiaNotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 5
  5. 5. nearing dusk a girl dumps bait worms back into the earth Ferris Gilli - USA the mimosa tree has closed its leaves . . . vesper bell Ferris Gilli - USA morning star the glimmer of gilt from the spire Köy Deli - Turkey pulling up an oak seedling— the clinging acorn Ruth Holzer - USA this blue and white world— even if the plane falls at home in it Ruth Holzer - USANotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 6
  6. 6. the abbess prays to the icon of her groom: "my womb is a chasm deep as the morning star" Köy Deli - USA dusk takes its time to linger on the soft blues of March snow Christina Nguyen - USA the establishing shot of an old film set in New York . . . there they both stand with the world yet to change Jon Baldwin - USANotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 7
  7. 7. In Another Town As you dream in another town, I stroll to the lake at dawn for a swim. At a curve in the path, a lily has bloomed as blue as the sky at dusk. I kneel. I want to bring it to you. Instead, I can only let you know it was there. endless sky – sun shines on the spires of pines Hortensia Anderson – USANotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 8
  8. 8. Cherie Hunter Day - USANotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 9
  9. 9. Patent Leather Shoe A Kasen Renku more light to ponder what might grow Michele from here turning the earth with garden tools John sticky silk threads of a chrysalis Michele soon to shed its skin knitted doilies in the linen closet John the moon has drawn us Michele to a distant shore his confidence about edible mushrooms John - alone like a ghost Michele on a windy corner diligent rehearsal of the kissing scene John I undress after dark Michele before a flame the rent is being raised again John observance of a day no one wants Michele to rememberNotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 10
  10. 10. patent leather shoe in the refrigerator John return to the store for more cold beer Michele led by the summer moon dusk deepened by swarming bats John chemical injections leave her with Michele a childlike look “Little deuce coupe You don’t know what I’ve got” John the daffodils would be pretty in a color Michele other than yellow soft edges of a cross made of ashes John - roof leaks in the same places John as last year inaccurate translations are causing lots of problems Michele the spell check feature questions names John like Auschwitz not too old to pull an all-nighter Michele the doorman at the end of John a Christmas list my neighbor throws crumbs on snow for hungry birds MicheleNotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 11
  11. 11. they say a cactus can have all the water John you need to survive when we’re together nothing else matters Michele contractions coming quickly John in the car annoyed by an empty wallet Michele moonlight silvers the last window pane John left unbroken collapsing onto a new pile of leaves Michele - I close the door and padlock John the boathouse passing time in a smoker’s cafe Michele freshly shaved showered John and shampooed a horseback ride along mountain trails Michele this very cool spring in which the blossoms John are snowy white our upturned hands tap into the pulse of a spring shower Michele John Stevenson - USA Michele Harvey - USANotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 12
  12. 12. warm front the romance novel opens itself John Hawk - USA something more in the air tonight golden moon John Hawk - USA lost summer the berries the birds left behind John Hawk - USA thriller my cat shreds the last page Pris Campbell - USA grey morning dream painted on the lake is the sun. Tatjana Debeljacki - SerbiaNotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 13
  13. 13. How an acceptance happens – Richard KrawiecI thought it might be interesting for some to read the process Penny Harter and I wentthrough that led to minor changes in her poem which is published in this issue. This is anexample of my process as an editor, her process as a writer, and the process we bothengaged in together. I have cut some of the familiar chit-chat out of these exchanges andleft in the focus on the poem.1. Submission by Penny Harter Into the Sea A night light? I dont blow out my candles before sleep. What dreams? A gray ghost whispered, "Mirrors always lie." Not that kind of lie. Where do you sleep? In an abandoned steeple. Do you get it now? Sure, like a kid wading into the sea. stone Buddha— in his lap, the glint of mica2. First response by Richard KrawiecPenny,Do you see the italicized parts as another voice, or in her mind? Love the haiku.I do think "Sure, like a kid wading into the sea." lacks the poetry of the rest of your haibun. Are yousure you even need that line and its question?Do you ever play around with your line order? Visually if you began with Where do you sleep"then followed with A night light? and What dreams? youd have a nice lengthening flow thatcould represent both stairs and the sea. And I think the progression of questions makes narrativesense that way too.Notes from the Gean 3:4 Page 14
  14. 14. 3. Penny’s responseHi Richard,Ive run the line order by a few folks, and when I suggested changing it, one well-respected haikupoet said it was better, more natural, the way it was. That it worked better being that random—more mysterious. Id wanted to change it the way you suggested, for the narrative progression.I understand your saying "like a child wading into the sea" lacks the same level of poetry (prosepoetry) as the rest. But the haiku is, in a way, an answer to wading into the sea—in that we never"get it" all—and are just treading water. Of course the Buddha would say that there is nothing toget. Perhaps I can rephrase that question and answer more elegantly.The questions could come from anywhere. I think its best to leave them vague—could be fromanother speaker, or in the speakers head. Or from the void :). They are both random andnarrative, but strange questions, thoughts, not unlike those one has sometimes in that statebetween sleeping and waking. They just came to me that way.Lets see:If I were to get rid of the "Do you get it now? " question and answer line, Id want the "abandonedsteeple" line to stay where it is—leading to the Buddha. . . the steeple representing the use oforganized religion. . . Of course I wasnt consciously thinking about much, if any, of this whilewriting it.Let me think on this a while and get back to you. I welcome any responses you have to mythoughts above.4. Richard’s replyPenny,I dont think Id want you to identify where the questions are coming from, I was just curious whatyou thought.I am trying to look at haibun more from a broader poetry perspective not just a haiku poetsperspective.But as Jane Hirshfield says, I can give you my honest advice but you need to retain the right toreject it all because its your poem, and you need to do what you want with it.I am not always right, and people who I have published in gean can tell you that I listen as well assuggest. But I am a good editor and I think I’m right about the line order.Again, that does not mean Im right. But I believe I am in this case. continued overleafNotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 15
  15. 15. 5. Penny repliesHi Richard,You are convincing me to go with my first impulse---and your suggestion---move that line about"where do you sleep" to the first line.Let me think a little more about the "into the sea" line—to keep or change or omit—and Ill get backto you soon.6. Penny againHi Richard,I want to change that last line totally. The question completes the circle that begins with "Where doyou sleep?" I pared the answer down to just "The sky", though I was thinking things like "I raise myface into the sky," or "I give myself to the sky." It works for me because sea and sky are mirrorimages of each other.And as I decided on "The sky" for my answer, I was remembering a haiku I wrote in the lateeighties when Bill and I were staying in a pilgrims dormitory on Mount Haguro, Japan. Here is anexcerpt from my essay "Seeing and Connecting" from The Unswept Path (White Pine Press,2005) about that experience and the haiku:_______________________________________________During the summer of 1987 my husband and I were fortunate enough to spend the night in apilgrims dormitory on Mount Haguro in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan. When I entered the room, itsentire far end open to the sky, I quickly crossed the space to the edge of the tatami-matted floorand opened my arms:fingertip to fingertipand still more sky---Mount Haguro."__________________________________________________So, how about the following---and Im wondering whether the spaces should be maintainedbetween questions/answer lines, or not. I think I like the spaces. And maybe "whispered" shouldbe in present tense: "whispers". What do you think?Notes from the Gean 3:4 Page 16
  16. 16. Into the Sea Where do you sleep? In an abandoned steeple. A night light? I dont blow out my candles before sleep. What dreams? A gray ghost whispered, "Mirrors always lie." Not that kind of lie. And when you wake? The sky. stone Buddha— in his lap, the glint of mica7. Richard repliesI love this. The sky is perfect. Youre right, we should keep the spaces between questions andanswers. And I would change whispered to whispers.8. Penny respondsSo well go with the corrected version, below. Only thing, is maybe we ought to change the title,since the "sea" no longer is in the poem. If so, it could be "Into the Sky." OR, we could call it "NightThoughts". What do you think?9. Richard respondsI like Into the Sky because the glint of mica pierces the sky, too.I have really enjoyed working with you. I think editors and writers should work together. I dont seemy job as trying to tell you how to write - but to recognize what it is youre aiming for. I learn a lotfrom hearing what you have to say, and that helps me be a better editor on other pieces.So this is the final. Please turn the page for the final pieceNotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 17
  17. 17. Into the Sky Where do you sleep? In an abandoned steeple. A night light? I dont blow out my candles before sleep. What dreams? A gray ghost whispers, "Mirrors always lie." Not that kind of lie. And when you wake? The sky. stone Buddha— in his lap, the glint of mica Penny Harter – USANotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 18
  18. 18. how did it begin neither of us made the first move— you empty your mind I empty the bins Jon Baldwin - USA when our eyes first touched my heart beat like church bells on Sunday Jon Baldwin - USA the kettle begins its cool moodswings . . . I blame my father and he blames his Jon Baldwin - USANotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 19
  19. 19. Maire Morrissey-Cummins - IrelandNotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 20
  20. 20. Man Standing in the Rain willow leaves turn away— first drops of rain rain coat one size too big— river down my back walking in the rain— missing one puddle but not the next listening to rain under my umbrella— thousands of haiku after the rain playing a game of pick-up sticks horizontal rain— what wind looks like Jerry Dreesen - USANotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 21
  21. 21. The Dreaming Room heatwave by Carole MacRury: a commentary by Michael Dylan WelchA Favourite Haiku heat wave— the horse blinks away a gnat’s life —Carole MacRuryOne supposed rule of haiku is to use concrete objective imagery, yet here is a poem that successfullyemploys abstraction—referring to the concept of the gnat’s “life.” Yet it works because everything elsein the poem is concrete. We can accept the fact that there’s a heat wave, and enter into what thatmeans—lethargy, sweat, and a longing for cool shadows. We can easily see a horse blinking, too, andcan marvel in the poet’s close observation in seeing a gnat at a horse’s eye. But imagine if the poem’s lastline were just “a gnat.” That could work, too, and perhaps we could leap to the same realization of thecontrast in size between these large and small animals. Yet saying simply “a gnat” would lack not justthe realization that the gnat’s short life has ended, but the larger interplay between the objects of thepoem and the subjective realization of the poet. This is best done as lightly as possible, however, for toomuch subjectivity or abstraction drowns a haiku. By inserting just this touch of abstraction, the poetreveals her engagement with the objects described, and we as readers see that as well as seeing theobjectively described images. Whether this was achieved consciously or accidentally is of littleconsequence. What matters is that haiku can be larger than a purely objective description, if carefullyhandled. The key detail is to find the necessary balance, as this poem does, between the primarilyobjective depictions and that touch of subjectivity or abstraction.Carole MacRury’s “heat wave” is from Haiku Friends Vol. 2.,Masaharu Hirata, ed., Osaka, Japan: Umeda Printing Factory, 2007, page 68. Michael Dylan Welch -USANotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 22
  22. 22. wildflowers by George Swede: a commentary by Lynne Rees wildflowers I cannot name most of me George SwedeThe opening line, composed of a single word, slows me down with its first two long syllables. And thatpace is perfect for the contemplation woven through this economical haiku.The pivot line is structurally satisfying – it rocks me in (wildflowers/I cannot name) and out (I cannotname/most of me) of the haiku – as is the balance of 3/4/3 syllables. But these formal characteristic servethe ideas behind the haiku too.The first two lines, taken as a couplet, describe a concrete experience that’s probably common to all ofus: a lack of knowledge or names forgotten as we walk through the countryside. The haiku instantlyinvolves me, invites me to share the moment.The 2nd and 3rd lines present a different kind of couplet: a personal reflection that is both concrete andabstract. How many of us could recite the litany of parts that make up our own complex organism? Andhow many of us are convinced that we truly know and understand ourselves: the different identities weadopt, the strange imagery that comes to us in dreams, or spontaneous and surprising emotion inresponse to unexpected events?Yet all of those things are offered to us in this haiku of seven words.Haiku are such light expressions it is easy to overload them with philosophy. The movement from thenatural world in line 1 to the economy of expression in lines 2 and 3 avoids that throughunderstatement and simple declarative phrase. It manages to be both witty and thoughtful.It is perhaps no accident that this haiku is the final one in George Swede’s collection. Rather than closedown the book, it opens it up for me, encourages me to reflect on what I cannot name, what I do notknow, about myself and the wider world. It sets me on a road of discovery, should I choose to take it.George Swede, Joy in Me Still, inkling press, Edmonton, AB T6G 2T5, Canada, p.79Eat, Live, Write with Lynne Rees at the hungry writerAuthor of Real Port Talbot due from Seren Books in 2013 Lynne Rees – UKNotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 23
  23. 23. the longest night . . . every mistake I ever made Bill Kenney - USA hunters moon the old dog sighs into sleep Bill Kenney - USA traveller my sister returns with two heartbeats isadora vibes - UK picking my way among the broken lives low tide Jo McInerney - Australia café lights through the slanting rain a slow love song Jo McInerney - AustraliaNotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 24
  24. 24. an old argument untangling the christmas lights Ben Moeller-Gaa - USA late afternoon sun walking through the shadows of strangers Ben Moeller-Gaa - USA sunrise a champagne cork bubbles down the river Tiggy Johnson - Australia late December rains — the water dragons first wingflash Beverly Acuff Momoi - USA waning moon a lizards tail dangling from the cats mouth Beverly Acuff Momoi - USANotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 25
  25. 25. a trace of warmthinsomnia all the shadows of thingswhen the day opens awkwardly I leave the house and walk through the orchard to the row ofleylandii and look at the depressions in the dusty ground where Im sure the wild pheasants nestleduring the day, even though I only know them from claw marks left in the earth; my hand neverfinds a trace of warmth in the shallow bowls, not even a feathersome days I catch a glimpse of them – the males barred bright gold and brown, their red wattles,the mottled females – skittering between the rows of apple trees, always keeping a distancehow can they trust us after all this time?I startled them once, in the farmyard when I opened the back door, a dozen or more of them takingflight at the sound then sight of me: the whirr of wings loud enough to make me step backsuddenly, alarm mixed with delight, flashes of green and purple returning to me at moments for therest of that day, like a charge to the heartLynne Rees - UKNotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 26
  26. 26. a crystal dewdrop rests on an oak leaf . . . immersed in the breeze I want to see my future Marion Clarke - USA my father sinking behind a cloud . . . I draw him gently with a pencil Ken Slaughter - USA one more sip of my Starbucks latte... through the window Chairman Maos stern face above the Tiananmen Gate Chen-ou Liu – CanadaNotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 27
  27. 27. Irene Szewczyk -PolandNotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 28
  28. 28. Sepia Blues a "renray" abandoned row houses— behind them in the field a scarecrow grins dust on his toes mud on his heels opened bindle— a hobo puffs his corncob pipe lucky stars a possum for the burgoo first snowfall crowns the highest peaks migrations— she hums while sorting seed from pod a waft of pumpkin spice in the cold crisp air quilt to my neck father reads of Ichabod Crane Penny Harter, Susan Myers Nelson, Curtis Dunlap and Terri L. French – USA (verses in that order)Notes from the Gean 3:4 Page 29
  29. 29. haiku matters Humour in Haiku: Colin Stewart JonesWhat may be funny to one person may not be funny to the next. It would be foolish to try to narrowlydefine such a broad subject area with one simple definition, but here goes anyway: it’s funny if it makesyou laugh! The masthead of Haijinx boldly declares that it is ‘putting the hai back in haiku’—hai,meaning humorous or joke—but what is humour in haiku, and has it ever been there?The pun is perhaps the simplest form of wordplay and yet also the most disdained. Generally speaking,people seem to fall into two categories when it comes to wordplay and either totally embrace it or rejectit in all of its forms because of the negativity that has come to be associated with punning. Yet, as wewill see wordplay is a device that has often been adopted in haiku. For an example of brilliant use ofwordplay let us firstly look at Bashō’s most famous poem:At the ancient ponda frog plunges intothe sound of water 1Bashō turns everything we think we know on its head with this poem. We know it is the action of thefrog that disperses the water to make the sound and that an object cannot enter into a sound; yetsomething immediately registers with the reader and they instinctively understand the poem, eventhough Bashō is saying the opposite of what is true. Basho’s quirky take on the natural order has madethe situation surreal and, therefore, funny. There is a deeper philosophical significance here alsowhereby Bashō cleverly makes the laws of cause and effect, seem absurd.Basho’s use of humour is equally effective in the following haiku:Summer grasses:all that remains of great soldiers’imperial dreams 2On first reading one feels the poet’s sadness and there is no denying the pathos. The poem is a ratherdamning indictment on the futility of war. On second reading, one is struck by the inclusion of theword ‘great’. Surely, not all soldiers are great in stature or deed. One may ask; how would Bashō know ifthey were ‘great’ now that the grass is covering them? He didn’t. By showing us that something assimple as the grass has covered the mighty, Bashō is mocking them and, by extension, their noble ideals.Bashō was, of course, not always so subtle and he resorted to plain sarcasm when he described hisimitators as melons.Buson uses similar language to Bashō’s ‘summer grasses’ in the following haiku: 1 Trans; Sam Hamill,The Sound of Water: Haiku by Bashō, Buson, Issa and Other Poets, (Shambala, Boston 2000) p.6 One may argue over the precision of some translations but I have chosen the versions that I believe best highlight humour of haiku...and I don’t have many books. 2 ibid, p.34Notes from the Gean 3:4 Page 30
  30. 30. Nobly, the great priestdeposits his daily stoolin bleak winter fields. 3While Bashō seems to be use a mocking tone, Buson is so deadpan in his rendering of the scene thateven the translator, Sam Hamill, notes that Buson is ‘reminding his audience that nobility has nothingwhatever to do with palaces and embroidered robes, but true nobility is obtainable in every humanendeavour.’ 4 This may perhaps seem the case to Hamill. The word nobly, however, in conjunction withhuman toilet actions should immediately alert the reader that there is more going on here than simpledescription of a scene. Nobly, sets this poem up so perfectly and allows one to instantly see the ironyand impossibility of the situation: try as he might, the great priest cannot be noble while being observeddoing something as common as his toilet. One can almost hear Buson’s irreverent laughter. The fact thatit is a bleak winter day just makes the priest’s attempts at being noble all the more ridiculous, butcompletes the poem. No amount of pomp can disguise the fact that even the high and mighty are justthe same as common people because they must also move their bowels each day.Plum blossoms in bloom,in a Kitano teahouse,the master of sumo 5In this poem by Buson we see the delicateness of plum blossoms in bloom, symbolising the freshness ofyouth, juxtaposed with the strength of the old wrestler. The master of a sumo wrestling stable was aretired wrestler who would have been a good wrestler in his prime. The image of a presumably largeman sipping his tea in a teahouse, which was usually very small, is a funny one. The job of the master is,of course, to bring blossoming talent into fruition. Though the fruit is never mentioned, the reader’smind is also projected ahead of time to envisage the plum fruit, and by extension the full, purple face ofthe master wrestler.If there is one word that best describes Issa, it is probably whimsical.my noontime napdisrupted by voices singingrice-planting songs 6The humour in Issa’s haiku is more obvious than either Bashō or Buson. Issa is seemingly moreconcerned with his rest and how dare they, who sing through the necessity of planting, wake him.However, one also sees a tongue firmly planted in Issa’s cheek. Part of Issa’s charm is that he seems notto care what other people think of him as he wanders along observing or talking to creatures:Under the evening moonThe snailIs stripped to the waist. 7 3 ibid, p.55 4 ibid, translators introduction, p.xii 5 ibid, p.66 6 ibid p.91 7 Peter Washington, ed, Haiku, (Everyman, New York, 2003) p.69Notes from the Gean 3:4 Page 31
  31. 31. In this haiku, Issa cleverly shows us juxtaposition without ever directly mentioning it. We still see theshell juxtaposed with the moon as the snail extends outwards. The image of someone stripped to thewaist usually implies work or action...maybe love. The humour of this haiku is contained in the absurdidea of a snail being stripped to the waist and ready for action...but the ‘action’ is at a snail’s pace.The poem below by Kerouac is an excellent example of how several layers of humour can be employedin the one haiku:In my medicine cabinet,The winter flyHas died of old age. 8Due to an accidental incarceration in Kerouac’s medicine cabinet, a fly has managed to survive into theWinter. Flies do not normally survive into the Winter and even though surrounded by medicine the flydoes eventually die we realise that Kerouac has been in good health because he did not need to visit hismedicine cabinet through the Winter. Kerouac’s health also ensures a lengthy extension to the fly’s lifeand yet paradoxically also simultaneously causing its death. In the final irony, the dead fly is onlydiscovered when Kerouac needs to take some medicine; if only he had been unwell sooner the fly mayhave survived.The following haiku, by Nobel Laureate, Seamus Heaney, breaks what may some consider to be “rules”:firstly it has a title; and secondly it follows a 575 metre. It is worth mentioning here that there are manywho still advocate a strict metre; the Scottish poet, Norman McCaig, used to say of poems that did notfollow the syllabic count “they are not haiku—they’re just wee poems”.1.1.87Dangerous pavements.But I face the ice this yearWith my father’s stick. 9To many readers this haiku may not seem funny at all but, in fact, quite the opposite. On first readingwe notice Heaney now has to face his old age with his father’s stick. One presumes his father has diedand the stick has been passed on to him. There is a wonderfully slow sense of progression in the poem aswe go from generation to generation linked through the continuity of the stick being handed down.One must be very careful with 575 haiku to avoid padding: notice the “but” at the beginning of line two,some may perhaps ask if it is really needed to convey the message of the poem. Forget about the metrefor a moment and consider the haiku without the “but”:Dangerous pavements.I face the ice this yearWith my father’s stick. 8 ibid p.237 9 Seamus Heaney, Seeing Things, (Faber and Faber London, 1991) p.20Notes from the Gean 3:4 Page 32
  32. 32. Is it not just simply a haiku about cycles of death and ageing now, as I have outlined above—with thepathos being clearly evident. Heaney, however, is cleverly playing with the casual reader and while heis happy if you think this he certainly wants people to look further. Look again at the complete poemand ask why then did Heaney include the “but”? Do you hear the unvoiced laugh and the devil-may-care tone of Heaney before he has even ventured outside?Ha-ha!Dangerous pavements.But I face the ice this yearWith my Father’s stick.We could add more lines:He got through itAnd so will I.Though modern writers of haiku seem to mainly look for juxtaposition of concrete images, it could beargued that, they should also be trying to be more creative with their word choice and usage tohighlight any humour in a scene. Whether one likes the idea or not the basis of all poetry is wordplay;and a joke also depends on wordplay to deliver its message. Of those who write humorous haiku todaymany seem to take Issa’s questions to creatures as their reference point. I have done this myself:empty bottle—was it youyou little worm? 10What else can one do when drunk and confronted with the dreaded empty bottle but blame someoneelse. The Mescal worm was promptly eaten and, therefore, lost the argument; but did add much neededprotein to my diet.In the following example Alan D. Taylor also uses the questioning technique to humorous effect:wasp in a jar—is there a pointto your anger? 11While this is essentially a pun, it is a very good one, and seems like a valid question to ask.Likewise Jeff Winke points out the pointless and has keen sense for the absurd with his haiku:her training brawith nothing to train:bra in training 12 10 Colin Stewart Jones, A Seal Snorts out the Moon, (Cauliay, Aberdeen, 2007) p. 56 subsequently published in: New Resonance 7, Red Moon Press, (Winchester, USA, 2011) 11 Alan D Taylor, first published in: Clouds Peak #1, July 2006, online (now defunct)Notes from the Gean 3:4 Page 33
  33. 33. Is it the bra that is in training for when it will be needed to be a training bra? By using clever wordplayand repetition of the same imagery, Winke, poses this unstated question which also ultimately asks;“what’s the point?”Sometimes the joke is much funnier if it takes a while for you to understand its subtleties.outside the pubthe sailorfaces the wind 13There is the obvious and mildly amusing allusion to being drunk and “three sheets to the wind” inChuck Brickley’s haiku. However, the poem also hints at other funny possibilities. Sailors seldom facethe wind because it is difficult to make headway. One assumes he is listing badly. There is also a veryreal possibility his bladder is full and he needs to pee; any sober sailor would know of the danger offacing the wind in that situation.An objective writer would never disregard any device at his disposal which is capable of rendering ascene with the most precision to achieve the desired effect. Poets are not meant to be reporters whosimply ‘tell it like it is’ but, rather by careful observation and inventiveness with words, poets should becapable of spotting life’s ironies and elevating the seemingly ordinary into something special. It takesgreat wit to play with words, and laughter is also a special gift which should be cultivated. From thesublime to the ridiculous, humour in its many forms has always been, and still is, present in haiku. If themoment requires humour, then as writers, should we not keep on putting the hai with the ku.BibliographyBooks:A Seal Snorts out the Moon, Colin Stewart Jones (Cauliay, Aberdeen, 2007)Haiku, Peter Washington, ed., (Everyman, New York, 2003)Seeing Things, Seamus Heaney, (Faber and Faber London, 1991)The Haiku Anthology, 3rd Edition, Cor Van Den Heuval Ed(WW Norton & Co, London, 1999)The Sound of Water: Haiku by Bashō, Buson, Issa and Other Poets,Trans; Sam Hamill (Shambala, Boston 2000)Journals:clouds peak #1, online journal 2006 (now defunct)Frogpond, XXII:i, HSA Publications (USA, 1999) 12 Jeff Winke, Frogpond 1999, XXII:i, HSA publications, p.47 13 Chuck Brickley, The Haiku Anthology, 3rd Edition, Cor Van Den Heuval Ed (WW Norton & Co, London, 1999)Notes from the Gean 3:4 Page 34
  34. 34. John Byrne - EireNotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 35
  35. 35. a tiny snail on the long march across the pavement; overnight rain Timothy Collinson - UK paper kites above the malls flat roof, strengthening wind Timothy Collinson - UK low winter sun warming up a row of chimney pots Marion Clarke - Ireland morning mirror caught staring into my own eyes Scott Owens - USA lost in a blaze of maples the yellow fire hydrant Angela Terry - USANotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 36
  36. 36. not long enough the bed the night Graham Nunn - Australia redwood forest a blue jay disappears into sky Graham Nunn - Australia gathering storm crows squabble over the wheat field Liz Rule - Australia weeping willow it’s not the wind it’s the leaving Lucas Stensland - USA choosing at random birds, wherever they land Lucas Stensland - USANotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 37
  37. 37. Fairground Animals - Jūnichō in a dark corner the glow of an apple system failure the quant grits his teeth under an orange sun young protesters put up tents an armed crew storms the farm gates unaware of their fate nearby cows moo loudly baby’s burp the smell of curdled milk flowing concrete a big footprint takes shape yeti sightings up again this year new planet the soothsayer predicts disaster white cloud puffs blur the spring moon hanging curtains a blue-headed moth drops from the folds fairground animals spin into each turn Participating poets and verse allocation: Annie Bachini - England, 1, 3, 5, 8, 10, 12 Steve Mason – England, 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11Notes from the Gean 3:4 Page 38
  38. 38. Searching the SizeIt is the evening hour of cloudy summer in Doon Valley, Dehradun. The children are busycollecting pebbles from the river bank. The rock pebbles record the long journey to reach themoon-like shape. Out of joy, I also start picking a few and return home. My tiny daughter, Rupa,posts an eager look and smiles.cut out of moonthe child reconfirmslooking upP K Padhy - IndiaNotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 39
  39. 39. thick, congealed blood on the moonlit floor… ten years later slowly a face takes shape in my mind Chen-ou Liu - Canada meerkats in the zoo, tapping bewildered at glass walls, sniffing a blue-painted ceiling Amelia Fielden - Australia I walk alone beside Lake Ontario -- an eagle circles above me on this windless day Chen-ou Liu - CanadaNotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 40
  40. 40. Lake Ontario cupped in my hands a Taiwan moon . . . her words linger in my heart theres no there there Chen-ou Liu- Canada the white heron lifts up, flies away from the lake with its reflection and my melancholy Amelia Fielden - Australia clear water cascading down my spine I shake myself out of the blue of a kingfisher Claire Everett - UKNotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 41
  41. 41. old friend— embracing him our bones collide John McDonald - Scotland lobster fishermen arguing— a bag of claws John McDonald - Scotland sleepless— his pillow full of voices John McDonald - Scotland —a carcass sibling crows gather to pick the bones Anne Curran - New Zealand old gate curlicues of iron and creeper Nick Sherwood - UKNotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 42
  42. 42. he asks if it’s the end of the line winter moon Cara Holman - USA plum blossom rain— matching my step to his Cara Holman - USA frost footprints my memory of her fading Cara Holman - USA end of a love . . . honey hardens in the jar Polona Oblak - Slovenia autumn berry the tell-tale sign of her lipstick Tracy Davidson - UKNotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 43
  43. 43. Special Feature NaHaiWriMoNaWriHaiMo (National Haiku Writing Month) is an initiative that provides daily prompts on a Facebookcommunity page to stimulate its members to compose a haiku. It has just completed its second year and goesfrom strength to strength.http://www.facebook.com/pages/NaHaiWriMo/108107262587697?sk=wallhttps://sites.google.com/site/nahaiwrimo/homeTo celebrate its success, Michael Dylan Welch, the organiser of this February event which actually continuesthroughout the year on Facebook, has announced that a book will be published featuring selected haiku fromNaWriHaiMo 2012.Notes from the Gean believes that Michael’s initiative is an important one which fully lines up with our mission topromote education, excellence and experimentation within haiku and are, therefore, pleased to run a specialfeature on NaHaiWriMo.Notes from the Gean surveyed members of the group with five brief questions and is pleased publish selectanswers to each question: a kind of community interview if you will. No 5-7-5 logo and Simpsons graphic by Michael Dylan welchNotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 44
  44. 44. Q1.Colin Stewart Jones How did you first get to hear of NaHaiWriMo and would you actively promote the group to other writers of haiku?Tawnya Smith I heard about it last year from someone in my writing group. Several of them were participating in NaNoWriMo. I told them novels were beyond me at the moment, and one suggested NaHaiWriMo. Id also seen it mentioned on a few blogs I read.Anna Yin I found it through Google and thought it very interesting and wanted to challenge myself since I seldom wrote with prompts...and it would last a whole month! I kept write one or three every day and had so much fun to read others and my own. It just kept popping...with inspiration and joy...(even sometimes we wrote haiku implying sad mood) when the last day, the prompt was leap year… see, time flies so I wrote: leap year, your rare birthday, the painter add dragon’s eye…. in Chinese legend, as soon as the dragon was added eyes, it would fly away…But gladly, we still stay here and keep writing.Cameron Mount I recently joined a group of haijin in south Jersey, a new charter of the HSA which had its first meeting in early February. In the email list that went around, one of the other poets (Penny Harter, actually) mentioned the Facebook group. I jumped right on it. For the last few National Poetry Months Ive written a haiku a day anyway, and Ive been a fan of Basho and Issa for quite a while, but never really had a community to share my own with.Jayashree Maniyil Answer to Q1 - I learnt about NaHaiWriMo through the poetry blog dVerse Poets Pub. There was a post about haiku and its form (from memory) and everybody was encouraged to write one and link it to the post. I think, as part of the discussion through the comments section, one of the comments to the post had a link to NaHaiWriMo blog. That is how I landed here. Normally I dont trust my memory that much but I am most certain that this is how I came to know of NaHaiWriMo. I would certainly recommend this site to anybody who is keen on learning haiku. Lot of fantastic writers sharing the same page with beginners like me, encouraging and providing constructive feedback, having fun together and learning from each other. And of course we have useful tips shared by members and most importantly Michael - lots of reading material on Graceguts. Every post that I make is one tiny step closer to understanding it....and of course with every step forward, I slip back a few steps again!!! :-). Its all fun and good. I enjoy being here.Hannah Gosselin I noticed a writing friend of mine doing a haiku a day challenge on a facebook page (I missed half the month looking for it, as I didnt have the right name), but Ive really been enjoying it now that Im here and Ive posted a link to a friend to help her get back into the poetry practice, too…Cara Holman I heard about NaHaiWriMo last year when I noticed several Facebook friends of mine clicking "Like" on the page. I am always open to new poem-a-day challenges, so I decided to give it a try. Over a year later, I am still writing (though not always posting) haiku daily. I would definitely recommend NaHaiWriMo to anyone who wants to improve their haiku, develop a daily writing habit, or just connect with the online haiku community.Tore Sverredal I found it when I made a Facebook search for haiku groups and sites last autumn. I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in haiku!Terry OConnor First heard about it when I eavesdropped a whispered conversation at a Haiku Anonymous meeting last year...tried everything to quit, but when I noticed that even cold turkey was a season word, I resigned myself to my fate, and Ive been here ever since. I dont tell people...dont have to, its an epidemicCarlos Colón Susan Delphine Delaney gave be the scoop. I have spread the word to the NW La. Haiku Society, buthave not seen any of the members posting yet.Alee Imperial Albano A Wikipedia entry! Thats very likely and soon from you, Michael! And in answer to yourquestion, Colin: I learned about it vaguely at first from Vicki McCullough during one of our meetings, the VancouverHaiku Group. But it was Jessica Tremblay, then a new member, who explained to us what NaHaiWriMo is. I believe Ialso read it on Red Dragonfly, Melissa Allens blog…Pris Campbell I heard about it in one of the FB groups on haiku back before the 2011 Feb challenge and was hooked right away. I always recommend it to anyone writing haiku or interested in learning more about it. Writing to the same prompt is fun and the links are educational.Notes from the Gean 3:4 Page 45
  45. 45. Jann Wirtz I gave up at Laundry.. after Jam and Kitchen the domesticity got to me!Michele Harvey Im not sure if I first saw NaHaiWriMo on Facebook,The Haiku Foundation News or one of the many blogs I subscribe to, but all at once it was everywhere! I jumped in late last February, found it addicting and decided to stay for the ride. Haiku (as many have said) is a way of life, a way of experiencing the world. NaHaiWriMo has been like catching a bullet train instead of a donkey cart. The interesting aspect of Kukai, is that the smaller the focus, (as if 17 syllables isnt small enough) the more creativity is called upon. My only quibble is that more of the larger haiku community doesnt join in. There are many admired poets Id love to see tackle some of these kukai. That would be quite a thrill. Yes. Id definitely recommend this to any haijin, beginner or otherwise. Its great to get the juices flowing and limber up ones skillsOtsenre Ogaitnas I first heard of NaHaiWriMo last year while having lunch with some haiku poets @ Haiku Society of America National Quarterly Meeting/Bend Haiku Weekend 3-5 June, 2011 in Bend, Oregon where I was a haiku presenter and an invited guest by award winning Oregon poet anya and PeterB. And @ the meet, one day, if I remember well I think I saw MDW wearing his signature t-shirt with a no 575 logo. But only last month I committed myself to NaHaiWriMo for its February event to support my fellow HSA friends / haiku writers, and of course to challenge myself if I can haiku for a whole month. Oh, do I still need to recommend it? NaHaiWriMo is a recommendable thing, and I can recommend it anytime, but honestly I don’t have to because haiku writers and haiku enthusiasts as well will come to...Barb Westerman McGrory I first heard about this group when I was using a page I had under another persona (a writer page I kept separate from my family page). I networked with a lot of other writing enthusiasts and it was through some friends participating in NaNoWriMo (oddly enough) in 2010 that I found this page and briefly participated last year. This year I decided to really work on the craft and now I seem to be obsessed. I think this exercise is helping me a lot with my creative non-fiction writing, though where I used to write long, complicated, word-happy poetry, since January Ive been able to write nothing but haiku & Im starting to think I have a more compulsive personality than Id already suspected. lol... I appreciate it when I get feedback, I enjoy reading the compositions of others, and I appreciate the challenge of trying to fit the incessant dialogue running through my head into as few words as possible.I lean toward offbeat, but I like coming here in an attempt to broaden my scope. Thanks! :)Susan Shand I first heard about NaHaiWriMo in a message from MDW prior to the launch. Yes I would and do promote it to new haiku writers. It is an excellent site and a very welcoming place for people who are learning where they can post their early haiku. It is also very interesting to see what other people do with the daily prompts, so it is stimulating for seasoned writers too.Kathabela Wilson I first heard about NaHaiWrimo by someone mumbling weird sounds under their breath. When I asked them to speak up they said the same thing again whatever it was... I asked... what does this mean? Their eyes lit up and then they explained it... alright I said so I went and looked and liked the Facebook page. I knew MDW had started it, so I thought. Okay... it has to be good. This was about a year ago when I was young and innocent. Then it happened. It took over my life... well for a while then I thought... no no I cant let it happen. Its a trap, thats what it is, with magic incantations too. "Nahaiwrimo..." say it over and over and see what happens to you. Well I dipped in over the last year and tasted it again a little thinking I was a free person. But then it happened again... I no longer had any control. You notice they say "Nahaiwrimo" mean National Haiku Writing Month" (I still tell people who hear ME mumble it and they look at me sideways...!) Well the month never ends... its an endless feast. You have to think before you recommend it... but I do... your life will be full of poems, your head will be full of haiku night and day, you will dream of haiku, wake up with haiku in your mind, your husband will be afraid to get out of bed because you will read him fifteen new haiku before coffee. You will suddenly know the deep thoughts of hundreds of new friends... and one of them may even decide to turn into a nine headed earthworm (really this happened in his haiku) and you after thinking about that for 3 days will decide you love it) so... be careful. its too much fun, and how will you get anything else done??? Well the good energy and humor gives a great dynamic to your day... and um... you may lose weight -- I havent even made breakfast yet.Annette Makino I learned of NaHaiWriMo via Twitter on the 4th day of last month. Starting then I posted every day thru February and also posted my haiku, with links back to the NaHaiWriMo page, on Twitter…Jenny Angyal I first learned about NaHaiWriMo from a post on Troutswirl, the Haiku foundations blog. I would recommend it to anyone interested in haiku. Writing to the prompts is very stimulating and results in haiku I never would have written otherwise…Notes from the Gean 3:4 Page 46
  46. 46. Q2.Colin Stewart Jones Does the sense of community work better than a closed forum which can sometimes intimidate?Hansha Teki It has quite a different dynamic, Col. Sometimes the sense of community challenges one to hone ones skills more but just as easily the cosiness can make one lazy and settle for lukewarm poems knowing that they will be appreciated anyway.Violette Rose-Jones I think its much better here and we dont seem to b attracting the troll element which can b disheartening.James Rodriguez the way it works here is nice, everyone who participates is here to learn and share and there isnt the, crusty few i guess, ones with their own personal agendas or axes to grind that are so common elsewhere. mdw does a great job keeping things running smooth and providing links to help all of us grow and expand in the craft.Rosemary Nissen-Wade I have not been in any closed haiku forums. I like the friendliness and supportiveness ofpeople here, and feel the beginnings of that warm sense of community which I have experienced so abundantly inother open haiku groups on fb and elsewhere. I think the standard here is in general quite high and that my ownhaiku have improved due to my participation this year.Jayashree Maniyil Q2: I have not been in any closed forums either. This is my first time in something of this kindand that too on facebook. I was quiet first but soon realised that everybody here is serioius and keen to learn. Seriousmeaning not that we dont have fun. We do. But all in good spirit.Annie Juhl It was with a pounding heart I wrote my first haiku here a year ago. I was an absolute novice, (still am)and my English was very limited. I soon found out that this community was a “safe” place. It’s friendly, including,supportive, instructive and fun.Susan Shand …They are different. There tends to be much less of the personality challenging stuff in NHWM whichmakes it more relaxed and less confrontational than some other groups. There isnt much critique either, which makesfor a fairly non-judgemental comfort zone. Everyone needs a comfort zone :).Mark E. Brager I think NaHaiWriMo provides a great sense of community but different from other fora which I haveexperienced which are more for workshopping. I would actually appreciate more feedback on my poems onNaiHaiWriMo.Rosemary Nissen-Wade As a reader, I like the Like option. It saves me from having to try and find intelligentcriticisms every time, when all I might really want to say is, I like this one.NaHaiWriMo Im hearing several people say theyd like more commentary on their haiku, such as ways to improveit, and hopefully explanations of what makes a poem work. If anyone prefers just to click Like, thats always fine, butsomething to consider is that if think through the reasons why you like a poem, and try to articulate them in a shortnote, that act itself can help you improve your own haiku.Kathy Bowman I appreciate the questions but find this one to be leading - future questions might be better phrasedmore neutrally - who doesnt want community? who wouldnt prefer not being intimidated? But it could equally bephrased - does a closed forum provide a sense of safety compared to an open one where anyone can makeintimidating comments? This doesnt mean Im right but it seems like the questions are set up to lead the answers.Hey, that may be what is wanted. It may partly be a function of the yes/no question format, which is certainly easierto tabulate than a more open ended question such as - "what kind of forum builds community and safety?" Open?Private? Closed? Other - and if so, what?Has I beated it to death yet? Asking is always good.Colin Stewart Jones just a simple Q from experience kathy. closed forums with lots of experienced writers canseem intimidating and i just wondered if folks prefer the open community group to such forums.Patsy Turner …love the anonimity and internationality of this medium...have done lots of writing with people i knowso has been great to give and receive feedback unconditionally ,,Notes from the Gean 3:4 Page 47
  47. 47. Angie Werren yes :) I actually left one closed community because I felt the moderater imposed his own viewpointmuch too much. this page is much more welcoming, to poets of all experience levelsSheila Windsor great question: from me a resounding: YESSandi Pray Absolutely love the diversity and openness! Yes :))Michele Harvey Col & Michael, ie: a closed forum VS. an open (FB) community; both offer very different benefits. Ihave been on both and have been intimidated on some closed forums. But with that intimidation one is also forced tosubmit to elders who have practiced the form longer and have a greater understanding. With this acquiescence, onelearns at top speed. The key to any successful forum is focus on the art (of haiku) not on the individual. I owe a greatdebt to some of those that bashed me the most.I think the choice depends on what your goal is. To learn how to write haiku, a closed forum will offer focus andcritique. A Facebook forum is a gentler entry which offers overall encouragement, but wont offer the focusedteaching a good closed forum can.Both can create a real feeling of community.Terri Hale French I think it depends where you are at in your "haiku voyage." I also belong to a closed forum andwe do a lot more critiquing, but we have all been published for awhile and have plenty of rejections under our beltsso I skin is pretty thick! I think NaHaiWriMo is more about sharing with just little nudges of critique. Many things Ishare here I then take to my closed forum for critique, so both places serve a purpose. I liken it to exercise, here Iwarm up and there I get down to muscle defining. One of the nice things about NaHaiWriMo is someone is alwayshere; my closed forum is much smaller and sometimes when I visit nobody is home. : )Terri Hale French our skin I meant!Andrew McBride I like this open community forum and have found it validating to have fellow Haikuists "Like" mypoems and make comments and suggestions. Its very supportive and enjoyable. I also belong to a closed forum withvery little participation and an in-person critiquing group with lots of participation.Alee Imperial Albano I plunged into NaHaiWriMo last year not really knowing what to expect. I guess I was morecurious than serious. But I knew Michael from the fluke of a haiku, which won for me my one and only award in haikuwriting so far where he was a judge. I’ve read a lot about him and his essays on haiku and had met him. And Iwanted to belong to one more of his brainchild. I had also thought it would be great to tug along Melissa Allen,Margaret Dornaus (both of whom I’ve befriended through our blogs) and Jessica Tremblay I’d later meet. And so Iapproached NaHaiWriMo with the spunk of a newbie, which I think worked for me because it felt informal. Of course,I later realized it was more than a community, in some aka group site, one to which I once belonged, where oneinertly displays one’s daily ware like say I do in my blog and hope some flies would catch a waft of my offering. It wassoon turning into a dynamic site where one’s haiku (ware) gets a current of eyes that either pass it on or assess andeven buy it, ‘like it’ to be more precise and even confirm this with a prized comment.At first, sheepishly doing, imitating perhaps, what apparently should be done to others’ haiku, I found myselfbecoming more confident with my own appraisals, even enhancing these with comments. I soon realized that when Idid this, I was really doing it to my own work. Gradually, our daily haiku started to have definite voices, personalitieseven and NaHai is turning out into an actual community shaped by the varied elements of a world we constructeddaily with our posts. It isn’t at all surprising that the ‘wall’ we completed everyday is a mosaic of differing skills—ofcourse, this showed. But there was no stopping us because as in a community, relationships began with some evengetting firmed up, even established. Along the way too, the more skilled among us started taking the hand of thosewho were limping, fragile. I was one of them; and so, some of us were turning out better ‘details’ for the wall. Theholding of hands, the fun and the sharing of cross-cultural universes, as well as the baring of one’s self with inevitabletrue-to-life snatches straying into our haiku, the spontaneous caring that we expressed for someone’s pain and blissturned us NWHMo-ers into a real community.In a closed forum, one of which I’ve also ‘dared’ to sign up, this spirit of being together, working on the same wallclosely with each other can’t be possible because a lapse of time often happens where response is delayed. Butdpending o the members, it can also be a caring community. Yet because the exchange isn’t daily, the energy is notsustained. Intimidating? It could be if a participant is self conscious of the players’ degree of craft (multi-awarded,multi-published, editor, reviewer, competition judge, etc.) versus a virtual newbie, or a learner who strayed into ararefied field. Critiquing can also be intimidating because serious even scholarly critiques is the ken of the reallyaccomplished, and learning through them can be truly helpful, though a simple, sincere and honest expression of whya haiku works for a novice could be taken as refreshing but then, it could also be ignored. Yes, I’d prefer a communitythough now that I have as choice, I’d like to stay with the closed forum as well, echoing Terri’s voice on both.Notes from the Gean 3:4 Page 48
  48. 48. Kathabela Wilson This community is nourishing and inspiring and we touch new hearts in approach to the heart ofhaiku! I tend to prefer openness. But the quiet dynamic of concentrated dialogue in a smaller (not necessarily closed)group can be good too. I would not choose one over the other, I would choose both. Plus add one more, personalfocused conversation and one on one collaboration with those we connect with through this open community, Thishappens, expands and adds more richness and meaning to our open group!Q3.Colin Stewart Jones Is it possible to write authentically when writing in response to prompt?Alison Williams Yes, just as its possible to write inauthentically without prompts.Freddy Ben-Arroyo The prompt is just a triger. The answer is YES! I always write authentically. And it comes to meeasy. After all, we all have some assosiations with a given word, and we have the present as well! Its simple - justlook around and VOILA!Aubrie Cox I think, like Freddy said, the prompt is/can be a trigger. Something about it resonates within us from theprompt (sometimes)... however, I do think its more difficult to be auhentic if one sticks strictly to the prompt.Judith Gorgone A prompt, is just another source of ideas. Why does it matter where the inspiration comes from?Its what you do with it.Bret Mars Define "authentic." If the prompt is of a nature you have no connection with, an item you are unfamiliarwith, you have to research it. Read about it, look at it, then construct a response based wholly on your new foundknowledge. You have no choiceEric Fischman It is not possible to write inauthentically. Just because the language you use doesnt resonate withme, doesnt mean that it didnt resonate with you. Just because my ear has been trained and boot-camped, doesntmean the active expression of an untrained mind is somehow false! What could be more honest, more actual, moreauthentic, than being a beginner? What does the amateur have to teach the expert? It is still your mind, your mindyour mind your mind, and whatever comes out of you is true true true.Marty Smith ...........yes,is "authentic." in the moment or in memory...how ever often i just make up a scene for the prompt, also i am inspired by other poets post and i write myresponse.Hi-Young Kim Heart will strip naked. The language is a prompt to the real prompt. Not a question aboutauthenticity, just about being trigger-happy. Go ahead. Make My Day.Christopher Provost Yes, but sometimes I think prompts make my writing forced. Ive written some good haiku inresponse to prompts, but Ive also written some crap.Edgar W. Hopper Yes, of course. For those of us urban dwellers who dont always have a nature or otherwisenatural experience that acts as a trigger the prompt can serve as a stimulus that allows for authenticity. I dontpretend to know what is meant by authenticity in haiku, I just feel that, for me, crafting an acceptable haiku isdifficult no matter the source of inspiration.Sheila Windsor i agree with hi-young: a prompt to the real prompt.B Fay Wiese Something always "prompts" ones writing, whether it is a word that we go to a site to retrieve, or awalk outside, or a rainstorm we watch, or a friend or loved one dying, or a massive disaster, or any other experience.The quality of our thought determines the authenticity of our writing, not where the idea for the writing came from.Cameron Mount I find a way to make the prompts dredge up an organic thought or observation. The authenticity ofthe moment may be in question (as in, did I really see that sunset?) but the image itself can be authentic. As in mostpoetic forms (or indeed in literature in general) fictional details do not necessarily negate authenticity, nor does beingfaithful to life observation make an event ring of truth.It is less about authentic being real and more about authentic driving a reaction in the audience.Notes from the Gean 3:4 Page 49
  49. 49. Angie Werren yes. I try to let the unfamiliar prompt take me to a new way of interpreting what I see/observe. if Icant bring my own experience to it somehow, I usually skip it.Terry OConnor Q:Is it possible to write authentically when writing in response to prompts?Answer + 2 cents:Of course, with varying degrees of success, absolutely.In much the same way as I can feel a completely real/authentic emotion in response to an actors portrayal of acharacter or a singers song of joy/pain etc. I dont require Adele to be dumped by her boyfriend before everyconcert, nor does Disney have to really shoot Bambis mom ;) for me to "really" feel that emotion of loss.I think some (left-brained haiku supremacists who only watch documentaries, hate popular culture and anyone bornafter the Edo period !?!) have a hard time with subjectivity, while others have a better ability, and are more willing, toput themselves into the moment and see/believe(suspend disbelief) what(ever) they are shown, told...A balance between the two would be ideal, but you cant, and surely shouldnt please all the people all thetime...hence sub-genres and all the wonderful diversity.Otsenre Ogaitnas Basically, yes, it is possible to write authentically when writing in response to prompts, becausethey (the prompts) would, to my understanding, represent authentic writing only when you yourself as a writer wouldlike to see your masterpiece written or done, and in it there’s an authentic feeling, felt by the reader, whether it iswith reference to a personal life experience or not. Sometimes for me the only way to get my aging brain to workproductively is through the given prompts, just like here @ NaHaiWriMo, but of course I never forced myself, nor letmy fingers bleed writing to prompts, because I already know the outcome- poor quality and often formulaic.Prompted or non-prompted, I think, to get a quality result depends on ones writing approach. Well, hope you enjoymy haiku below, wink!my haikunot spectacular —just this red sunsetPat Geyer yup...the same way you respond to the prompts life scripts for you each day...ya do what ya gotta do...Terri Hale French Sure, one can be authentic or inauthentic with or without a prompt.Alessandra Gallo Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is allYe know on earth, and all ye need to know.NaHaiWriMo Something Ill say about "authenticity" is that its a matter of process and product. Good process canhelp make good product, so writing out of genuine personal experience rather than pure imagination is often reliable,although that doesnt mean that imagination cant also come across to the reader authentically. As novelists will tellyou, fiction is often truer than fact. Also, the point that something "really happened" does not mean the poem isauthentic -- one can still write inauthetically about authentic experience. What really matters, ultimately, is theproduct -- does the *poem* itself come across to the reader as being believable, regardless of how it came to beinspired? If you write about a new moon rising in the sky, thats simply not possible, so such a poem would beinauthentic (in this case, factually false). But if youve never seen or experienced the rock formation known as talus(one of our prompts last month), it is entirely possible to research and project yourself empathetically into such anexperience and write a poem that could indeed come across as authentic to readers. Remember that Busons wifewas *alive* when he wrote about stepping on his dead wifes comb.Tawnya Smith There are many yet connected ideas of authentic arising here. There is authentic viewed from thepoint of inspiration, from the process of creation, from the judgement of quality, and from approval by a reader. Idont see them as the same, but I do see them as connected. Rather like the poem itself is parts gathered and woveninto a whole. I suppose each of these could be measured for authenticity. There is also a factor of time. Given someamount of time, there will be a reader, experienced or not, who will appreciate a piece of writing, authentic or not.Quite the hornets nest, this question. ;)Rosemary Nissen-Wade Yes. The subconscious is infinitely obliging, and throws up just the right memories, ordirects the consciousness to the perfect item in the present environmentNotes from the Gean 3:4 Page 50
  50. 50. Violette Rose-Jones Yes. Good haiku are not always about having a haiku moment but are always about nailing atruth or a true moment. Our memory contains a wealth of such moments, we just have to make connections.Paul David Mena The best haiku are authentic responses to external stimuli. That the prompts are not of the poetschoosing is - in my opinion, anyway - irrelevant.Q4.Colin Stewart Jones How do you feel that by participating in NaHaiWriMo your writing skills have improved?Mark E. Brager oh yes...the daily practice plus the exposure to such a group of talented haiku writers has sharpenedmy meager skills immeasurably. Seeing how others interpret a prompt and react to others poems is a rich source offeedback...Susan Murata I KNOW I would not write without the prompts, one. Two, you MUST write in order for there to be aninteraction with community members re: (your own) haiku content. Three, the interaction with other haijin on this fbsite sooooooo encourages your very best output. You quickly see whose haiku hit the mark - whose haiku reverberate- and the impetus is there to try harder. It works!!Cara Holman Participating in NaHaiWriMo has really made a difference in my comfort level with writing and sharinghaiku. It made it okay to just write, without worrying about what an editor would think. And the almost instantaneousfeedback, in the form of comments or "Likes", helps me refine my haiku. Not to mention the benefits of readingothers takes on the same prompts.Terri Hale French you cant improve if you are not writing, so the discipline of writing every day has helped mywriting. Plus reading other peoples work always greases my wheels!Susan Shand I enjoy the challenge of writing every day, even days when Im busy, or not in the mood for writing. Itis good practice. Because it is a non-judgmental space to post, I have felt able to experiment with my haiku. I haveused different forms, or pushed at the edges of haikuness. I have sometimes been surprised when people haveliked a haiku that I didnt think was very good. So it has broadened my writing and given me confidence to showwork which otherwise I might not have done.Raul Sanchez May 1st will one year since I joined the page and have learned a lot from everyone else on the page.What I like is the early morning challenge of the prompt. Sometimes it hits me right away, other times not. But lettingthe prompt "incubate" in my head, the haiku or senryu comes out like a spring chicken making a lot of noise. I alsoenjoy all the cyberfriends out there. Good work yall!Lorin Krogh I stay much more in my present moment and Im more aware of surroundings... besides being a betterand more joyful writer/ observerBret Mars The random freshness of unexpected subjects moved me beyond my typical bag of tricks. Seeing how others approached a subject was instructive too.Hannah Gosselin I feel that my haiku writing skill has improved in that Ive taken time to read the links provided specifically on how to write haiku and that by reading the offerings here Ive learned what works and doesnt work for people and for myself also. :)Cameron Mount I think the participation has increased my ability, as noted by others, because it forces "butt-in- chair" kind of devotion. I dont know why I respond better to deadlines than internal motivation. I suspect Im not alone in that. But I do know that I do respond better to external stimuli, so just having a dedicated goal that isnt self-determined makes it more likely that I will put my butt in the chair and start working on my poetry.Jayashree Maniyil The more I write, the better it gets.....this is exactly what I am holding on to dearly and trying to build slowly. I think my haiku has changed from the time I began even in a short duration. Has it improved? I certainly hope so. At the moment all that I am doing is responding to a prompt as best as I can. It is good to have something to work towards. And this daily practise sessions helps in building a routine - dedicating some time just to do one thing. I love going through the variety of interpretations from everybody. The constant encouragement from everyone only pushes me to strive a bit more harder the next time.Notes from the Gean 3:4 Page 51
  51. 51. Lisa Hills I think it probably does. But it depends on many elements. If my brain is thinking of poignant words and thoughts. or is still half asleep.Belinda Broughton daily writing always helps me. it has improved my haiga especially and increased output. my reading has improved too!Kat Creighton As others have stated the daily prompts, the likes or lack of likes and comments on my haiku have all helped me to write better. On many occasion those with much more experience than I have given me in- depth critiques that have helped me dig a little deeper. On the NaHaiWriMo page I read haiku that I love and some that I dont love so much...reading may be the best teacher.Hansha Teki NaHaiWriMo has been a great motivator in writing haiku as a matter of discipline. Every new haiku is a new beginning; whether that necessarily indicates an improvement in haiku writing skills is not something that I am objectively able to judge in regard to my own pieces. The warm and supportive atmosphere of NaHaiWriMo is clearly a great encouragement to each of us to write haiku but more than this is necessary if we wish to write poems that may be remembered weeks, months, years, decades or even centuries from now.Johnny Baranski To me its simply a matter of practice makes perfect.Ida Freilinger Writing under pressure was good for me. Reading haiku I liked was also fun. I think I understand haiku better. By gauging likes I found ways to write haiku others liked better. When I heard the word Kukai, I groaned inwardly and tried to escape. It took too long to write one or two. Now, I think Ill enjoy Kukai more and have better results.Alee Imperial Albano Definitely improved as has been noted by friends who I consider masters of the genre. My other gauge would be increased acceptance in my submissions. I find it easier to nail a haiku for here since, as well. Ive mentioned what in NaHaiWriMo has helped in my long response to Q1 like the discipline of writing daily, the interaction with other members, the likes and no likes, comments that uplift or suggest, but especially reading what Daphne says tons and tons of haiku and also Michaels random reference notes, definitely pulled me up. Still, theres still so much to learn.Annie Juhl Being a part of nahaiwrimo, has improved my haiku skils in so many ways. I would probably not have experimented with one line haiku, haiga, haiku primer, and all the other challenges we were given here, on my own. Wading out on deep water with very skilled people by my side, is a very good way for me to learn. And first of all, I feel free here, to experiment, play, be vulnerable, have fun, ask questions and learn. I’m only at the very beginning of my haiku path, and I’m very grateful for all the encouragement and help I was given here, both on haiku and language.Paul David Mena Daily prompts fight complacency by providing a gentle nudge to write - with or without the poets perception of "inspiration."Anna Yin Not sure. I hope to have more serious discussion with experienced haijin. Most of my haiku I save somewhere and I plan to come back to revise. Meantime, I read some discussions here and some good essays as well which help me understand better. So in this sense, Id like to say I have improved.Kathabela Wilson Absolutely. NaHaiWriMo has given me a deeper appreciation, and a deeper penetration into the possibilities of haiku. In asking myself for this continuous flow of concentrated expression it has caused me to examine the elements and powers of the form and thus... improved my writing, I am sure of it.Michele Harvey NaHaWriMo has forced me to give a keener look at subjects that may otherwise go unexplored. Nachos for instance...who would consciously set about writing a haiku about nachos? LOLElissa Malcohn Writing a daily haiku has given me a deeper experience of the form, both through practice and through reading other posts. Its not unusual for me to think I have something ready to post and then discover ways to improve on it.Sanjuktaa Asopa Oh yes,the exposure is more, the output is more,without the prompts id not have been writing at all; improved? i thought so, till 10 mnts ago when i was informed that ive been rejected by Acorn :=( That broke my heart, really it did!Notes from the Gean 3:4 Page 52

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