Friday, February 24, 2012

The Worldess Poem

      I'm reading again the book "The Haiku Anthology" by Cor van den Huevel. I came across some lines which I want to share.


     When I first read Alan Watts's characterization of haiku as "the wordless poem," I thought it was because a haiku had so few words, but now I believe it goes deeper than that (whether Watts intended it or not). Haiku, for the reader, is wordless because those few words are invisible. We as readers look right through them. There is nothing between us and the moment.
     To achieve this goal, certain literary practices common to traditional western poetry are usually avoided by American haiku poets. Such devices as figures of speech or rhymes are rarely employed, for these tend to take away from the thing as it is. The haiku should take us right to the moment and present us with the tree or a leaf, the spring rain or the autumn wind, a rose in a garden or a rusty pick-up under the pines, just as they are-- no more, no less. The phrasing and choice of words provide the music of a haiku, which must be short as a birdsong. Meter is rarely employed. When it is, it is used to create a musical flow that is unobtrusive.    


     Ending this section of the book, Forward to the Third Edition, he writes, "I hope you'll agree that living in the haiku moment is a poetic experience of the highest order."   
     I definitely agree!

4 comments:

  1. One of my favorite haiku books, and it should be one in which every new haiku poet should read! I need to buy that book though. I'd read it when I borrowed it a few times at the local library. Maybe after Lent...

    Haiku is wordless and at times musical. Yep, I agree! Haiku is definitely a wonderful poetic experience; not enough words to describe how wonderful that is (ha! wordless!)!

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  2. Try purchasing that book from Amazon.com. That's if you don't mind a secondhand one. I just checked it out. It's only about $3.00 plus shipping.

    I have a long list of books to read. :-)I better start borrowing from the library or purchasing my own copy from Amazon.

    :-)

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  3. I really like this:

    Haiku, for the reader, is wordless because those few words are invisible. We as readers look right through them. There is nothing between us and the moment.

    I think it defines the heart of haiku.

    Gisele :)

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  4. You're absolutely right, Gisele...:-)

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