[Dixielandjazz] Re: Haiku - was "police" & rules - was Watch Your Back - was haiku

Don Kirkman donkirk at covad.net
Sat Oct 23 12:13:28 PDT 2004

On Sat, 23 Oct 2004 09:35:57 -0400, Steve barbone wrote:

>on 10/22/04 11:58 PM, Bill Gunter at jazzboard at hotmail.com wrote:

>> Hi Steve (and Haiku lovers) . . .

>> Aha, we meet again . . .
>> You say:
>>> You still don't get it do you?

>> What's to get?
>Ah Bill, you cannot possibly be that dense, can you? Or is it that you too
>are unable to admit mistakes. ;-) VBG (subtle inside humor)

>About your rant on 5,7,5 and rules for Haiku (The side issue which you
>created). Remember I warned all to thoroughly research this subject. You
>obviously did not understand why. OK here's why.

>Everything you claim in your post about Haiku & rules is superficial and
>wrong. You mistakenly assume the website to read is the one with the Basho
>quotes. WRONG AGAIN. Dig a little deeper than the first site that pops up on
>a google search. Here is the web site with the  most knowledgeable
>discussion of Haiku. Spend at least 2 hours on it to LEARN. (It has a wealth
>of Haiku information)


ISTM that page reads somewhat like a seminar of classical musicians
critiquing an OKOM performance, except in reverse.  I only see one
article by a Japanese writer, and she doesn't seem to be saying the
Japanese have changed *their* rules for haiku but that English haikuists
have, for varied and sometimes understandable reasons having to do with
language structure.

I guess what's going on here is that some are talking in traditional
Japanese haiku terms and others in contemporary English haiku idiom.
Maybe that explains the failure to include the traditional seasonal word
clues that would be in Japanese haiku.  :-)

>1) The 5,7,5 meter which you so wrong-headedly cling to is NOT a hard/fast
>rule as you claim. In fact, neither is a 3 line poem. Some lines/meters are
>3,4,3 and/or 9,8 and/or just about what ever the writer wishes it to be.

>2) The 7 limit, which you erroneously claim for the second line, is exceeded
>frequently. Many haiku poems exceed the 7, just like mine did, and many stay
>under it. 

>3) The first rule of Haiku, Basho 17th Century, is "learn the rules and then
>forget them" because there are so many rules that one cannot adhere to them
>all since following one would break another. Check the website, you'll find
>that "rule" there. You must choose which rules you personally will follow
>and others will choose which ones they will follow.

>4) Plus, translating the form into English is difficult because 17 English
>syllables convey so much more meaning than the equivalent number of Japanese
>characters. Therefore English Haiku is much more suited to meter's smaller
>than 5,7,5. Plus the syllable rule is "up to 17", so anything smaller is
>quite proper if the 'substance" conditions are met. Following are some

>1. Seventeen syllables in one line.

>2. Seventeen syllables written in three lines.

>3. Seventeen syllables written in three lines divided into 5-7-5.
>4. Seventeen syllables written in a vertical (flush left or centered) line.

>5. Less than 17 syllables written in three lines as short-long-short.
>Then here are some others.

>1. In English, 2,3,2 or 3,4,3 is more suitable. (makes it more of a

>2. "Classic" Haiku is two lines, like 12,5 or 9,8 or 10,7 etc.

That seems to be more true of the sense than of the syllabic structure,
just as an OKOMer may carry phrases over the bar at times.


>Once again, my advice to you? EXPAND YOUR MIND. THOROUGHLY investigate the
>subject matter before reaching conclusions. You get in much less trouble
>that way. Do not rush to form a conclusion out of ignorance of the subject
>matter and then seek to justify it regardless of the facts.

>I do agree with you that the claptrap pseudo Haiku that you and I write, is
>not the "real" thing. What is the "real form/substance"? Suggest you go to
>that website above and spend a day or two figuring it out before you post
>lengthy examples of trash poetry that are not haiku and an effort to baffle
>us with BS. 

>Nobody so far on the list has written anything but a poor imitation of
>Haiku. All adhering to one type of form, but the substance is not there.

Maybe we're really creating senryu, the satirical comedic offspring of
haiku which uses the same structure.

Lament of a School Boy

Outside the window
  Clouds float in the azure sky.
Wish I were out there.
donkirk at covad.net

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