What are the roles of art and craft in haiku? Is one private and the other public? How do they mesh together? I explore these and other questions in my new addition to the Essays page, “Private and Public Vision: Learning Haiku from Joyce Carol Oates.” Please take a look.
One of two new additions to the Rengay page is an acrostic rengay, which I had fun writing. It shouldn’t be too hard to see what the acrostic spells out in “My Winds.” Also added is a rengay that isn’t acrostic, written with Max Verhart. Check out “Freezer Burn.” Lots of other rengay to explore on the Rengay page, too—solo, two-person, three-person, and six-person collaborations.
Where will you be on June 25? How about Anderson Park in Redmond, Washington? I recently updated the Poets in the Park page to feature the 2016 schedule. I began this festival in 2004, repeated it in 2005, and then resurrected it in 2014 as part of my Redmond poet laureate duties, all with help from the Redmond Association of Spokenword. We held the festival again in 2015, with about 250 people in attendance. And it’s all happening again this coming weekend, on 25 June 2016, from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm, with a wealth of readings, workshops, vendors, a bookfair, installations, and more. And it’s all free! We also have craft activities, mini golf, hula hoops, a poetry nature walk, chalk art, Haiku on Sticks, free ice cream, and other fun distractions. But mainly we’re celebrating poetry. Check out our action-packed schedule (scroll down) and our Facebook invite. See you on June 25!
A major new addition to the Essays page is “The Matsuyama Declaration: An Annotated Analysis.” It offers my previously unpublished comments and reactions to this influential 1999 manifesto on international haiku for the twenty-first century. The main concept this declaration is known for is probably the notion of “keywords,” and how they might serve as an international replacement for kigo, or season words. Keywords are not just the most important words in the poem, but words that carry particular allusions, whether cultural or literary. My sense is that haiku around the world have already been making the most of such allusions (see “A Sampling of Cultural Haiku” for American examples). I don’t think world haiku needs the term “keyword” (which isn’t really clear) to refer to this technique. Moreover, I think it’s a mistake for such allusions to be a replacement for seasonal references. That’s because any language, culture, or region can develop its own season words, and all the associations and overtones that go with them—and have already been doing exactly that for many years. Indeed, I think allusions and cultural references should be considered for each haiku in addition to season words. My annotations explore these and other ideas presented in the declaration.
The late Franz Wright seems to have been attracted to haiku poetry. In addition to a short book of Buson translations, examples of his interest in haiku include two new additions to the Poems About Haiku page. They are “Passing Scenes (While Reading Bashō)” and “Three Bashō Haibun.” The three haibun are translations, so perhaps they don’t belong in the “Poems About Haiku” section, but they do at least underscore Wright’s interest in haiku. If you know of more examples of Wright’s exploration of haiku, please let me know. I love the Bashō allusion at the end of “Passing Scenes.”
I’ve just resurrected a long and detailed old essay, written in 2002, and have added it to the Essays page. It’s “Problems and Challenges of International Haiku,” and was prepared for a panel discussion of the same name that I put together for the first Haiku Pacific Rim conference at California State University Long Beach in Long Beach, California. It seems that many of the challenges (at least as I saw them then) have not changed a great deal in the fifteen years since I wrote this paper. I hope it might provide some interesting points to consider that are still applicable today.
A new addition on the Essays page is “One-Part Haiku,” a short exploration of haiku having just a single part instead of the more common two-part juxtapositional structure. A one-part haiku is equivalent to Japanese haiku that have their cutting words at the end of the poem. This essay recently appeared in Geppo. Please take a gander—and don’t miss the new postscript at the end, which expands on the essay with additional examples.
From early 2001 until sometime in 2004, I was an active member in the Raku Teapot private online haiku discussion group. In 2003 its members published Raku Teapot Haiku, a beautiful anthology collecting 143 haiku by twenty-four of the group’s members, including a compact disc with recordings of the poems by all the poets. You can read my six haiku from the book, all chosen for their emphasis on sound, newly posted to the Haiku and Senryu page.