Haiku

My first haiku book, such as it was, consisted of five sections titled “Hibiscus,” “Aviary,” “Isotope,” “Kindred,” and “Umbilicus” (the first letters of each section function as an acrostic). The first and last sections contain three poems, the middle section two poems, and the second and fourth contain eleven poems each. All thirty poems are examples of what I later called “stick poems”—vertically arranged words and letters. My splitting of words to gain extra meaning from shorter words found within longer words is directly influenced by E. E. Cummings. Except for one written in 1985, all poems were written in 1986, the year I self-published the book. At the time, my sense of haiku was superficial, thinking only that it was supposed to be 5-7-5, and all of these poems scan in that pattern. I did at least take creative license even with that misunderstanding by arranging the poems vertically, without knowing until just after I published the book that haiku in Japanese are written vertically, too. One or two of these poems have glimmers of hope, but most of them have no real connection to haiku, despite the books title. And speaking of titles, I felt the need to title eight of these poems (the first and last three, plus the middle two), but did not title the other twenty-two poems. As a sample, here are three of the titled poems.