I've been reading a lot about Basho recently (and some about Buson, Issa, Shiki, and other Japanese poets). For the poets of Basho's era, poetry was very much a social vehicle. The more skilled poets might later pretty their pieces up for publication, but most poetry arose out of human relationships.
fishing limit the trout at the bottom of the pool
I'm coming out of a rule-bound, restrictive period in my
haiku-writing. I am feeling more experimental, and more
prone to break rules that get in the way of what I want to
This might or might not be progress. I've written some really
bad haiku lately. They've scratched a certain itch, and unleashed
other, better haiku.
Juxtaposition, though. I do not find juxtaposition easy. I don't
think I truly understand juxtaposition. I keep finding little bits
of the puzzle, but I don't have a complete picture.
I don't think juxtaposition is something that can really be understood
intellectually. I think it's more like balance. I have to read and write
a lot of different haiku before I have the sense of juxtaposition.
Maybe I'm not even talking about juxtaposition. Maybe I'm talking
about what makes a haiku sing.
danse' sacre et profane another false note on my viola
In my trip backwards through Japanese time, I'm turning up
heresies. Basho, for example, liked to stand poetic phrasing and images
on their heads. That was his juxtaposition, and it suited the time in
which he lived. Shiki preferred shasei, and condemned Basho's little
parlor tricks. Haiku, however, contains both of them, and also Issa,
who was capable of flashes of insectoid brilliance in the midst of his
I know nothing about haiku. Better to stick to my beginner's mind
and just play the way I feel it. I might learn, eventually.
dead lilies the children's hair bright in the sunshine
There's a new form, called the gilklue. Written in three lines,
containing an accusation, with elements from 20th century parlor games
and tv series.
back in the bottle
it was jeannie in palm beach
with her harem pants
true or false? smoke blows through the sun-dappled trees
2 February 2003