Saturday, March 15, 2008

food fair

food fair
scraping something
from my shoe*

The food is as varied as the people attending. Attire in creative colors and fabrics, every ethnicity, smells of concoctions intermingling, wafting through the throng. Booths offering samples delivered with oversized plastic gloves and hairnets never quite covering. And yet, from the mimes, to free magnets, to cartoon characters, to that guy on stilts with the constant smile, everything fits.

puppet show
she guides him
into his seat*

w. f. owen
* haiku notebook (pp. 40 & 53)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Keeping an Open Mind (repost)

Keeping an Open Mind's Eye

Part of the challenge of being a human and a haijin (haiku poet) is to make sense of the worlds around and within us. Regardless of where you live, work, or play, chances are high that you are surrounded by stimuli. Some stimuli are overt, others more subtle. The perception of these stimuli guide my actions and thoughts. They also guide my haiku. In writing haiku, I try to be aware of the stimuli and to understand the root, or essense, of the sensation(s) they invoke in me. As many haiku demonstrate, the stimuli are almost never extraordinary; they are common pieces of my natural and social environments that I capture by keeping my mind's eye open as best I can. There is no special place to look for "haiku moments" -- so look everywhere.

From what I've learned, haiku are the sights, smells, touch, tastes, and sounds of a moment in words that convey related images and interpretations. Other poems do this, too, but the haiku form does it particularly well by striving for conciseness and "show vs. tell." Because haiku is so often misunderstood or misrepresented as simple and trite, I think there may be haijin and haiku out there that we overlook. Consider the following poem, "Dust of Snow" by Robert Frost:

"The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued."

This poem, to me, expresses a "haiku moment" in a different (and arguably awkward) form. My intention is not to call Robert Frost a bad poet -- that would be wrong and ridiculous -- but rather to remind us to keep space in our days and hearts to be moved by such stimuli. I believe the important lesson is to invite and capture the images and senses of your days. ...The craft and revisions of the poems will come later.

Repost of Comments:

w. f. owen said...
Hi Amy,

Your post was very insightful. I
especially liked the last paragraph
about opening our senses and letting
the "craft" of writing come later. I know
for me the best haiku I've written merge
what I've sensed with the writing all
at once. Kind of a "eureka" moment.
It's as if the poem writes itself. Next
best, again for me, is the perception
followed closely by one or two versions
of a poem, which usually gets resolved
quickly. In any case, the sensation leads
the way. So, thanks for a thoughtful


9:50 PM PDT
Mark Hollingsworth said...
Thank you, Amy.
Yes, I think there's a haiku moment in this poem. Yes, it is awkward. And it tells. And it only has one image. So how might this moment become a haiku. Maybe:

end of winter
crow on the hemlock branch
dusts me with snow

10:36 PM PDT

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

If I remember correctly, Mark led us in a workshop whereby we each selected a poem from The New Yorker Magazines provided and turned it into haiku. Perhaps we could do that again the next time we meet? Just as Amy's workshop at our last meeting was so helpful, regular poems into haiku can be quite insightful.

Whaddya think?

Yvonne Cabalona

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

P.S. to my last post

Very good point, readers, i.e. we compose haiku in different ways. Now that you mention it, mine are often "eureka" moments as well. When that happens, most I know are just right on, others I've been able to work on afterwards, and the remainder turn out to be nothing. Was I misleading in the blog in presenting the process a different way? No, I just hadn't thought it through very well, I guess. And the main point I guess I was trying to say is that I found this haiku moment in Robert Frost's collection and it surprised me so much -- that I saw haiku outside of MH and Frogpond; that I recognized the sensation as a haiku moment; that the form didn't seem to do justice to the experience. All food for thought. Thanks for reading and responding.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

spring planting
the rise and fall
of a flock of birds

moonless night
search lights cross
uncross themselves

Posted by Yvonne Cabalona

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Haiku and related forms by CVHC Members

Here are some items our members
have published or are working on
(all rights reserved by each writer).

through chain link
and over razor wire
blooming almond tree

before dawn
of a mockingbird song
  • Mark Hollingsworth

distant thunder
a few cherry blossoms
float to earth

just blossoming
we meet under
the cherry tree

spring darkness
the scent of cherry blossoms
is bright
  • w. f. owen