Thursday, August 15, 2013

Haiku North America, 8/15

Were I any sort of poet, my experiences at Haiku North America (HNA) would be written in glorious haibun, and each and every reader would achieve enlightenment. I am a beginner, at best, and so you’ll have to read Basho’s Oku no Hosomichi. That being said, my thoughts of HNA, Thurdsay, August 15.

How Long Is a Moment by Michael Dylan Welch:
Welch’s presentation was based upon the idea that haiku should “capture a moment,” according to some scholars, editors and/or writers. He challenged this idea by presenting haiku with short time spans (possibly moments), long time spans, and no time span at all. All were published haiku, though, many by famous authors within the haiku world. Welch further challenged the idea of a “haiku moment,” by differentiating between a static moment and a dynamic moment. A static moment is one in which nothing externally happens, but the viewer, and in turn the reader, become aware of something. A dynamic moment is one in which there is a clear beginning and end, and is often based upon the use of a verb. There are haiku which are dynamic moments, haiku which are static moments, and haiku which are neither. Unfortunately, Welch’s discussion was cut short due to time constraints, and so further investigation wasn’t possible. I’ll try to hit up Michael sometime in the conference and ask him other questions that I have.

Kigo: The Scent of Haiku by Patricia Machmiller:
Machmiller’s paper was one long haibun which demonstrated, quite successfully, the various types of kigo available to English speakers. While I wish she would have explored various types of kigo, and possibly the difficulties with kigo in English, particularly those concerning regionality, her paper did, nonetheless, raise particular questions. How, in a globalized society, can kigo work? Consider, for example, various types of produce which once were relegated to a specific season, and are now available year round. Another question raised by an audience member concerned the change in season for a modern kigo. Certain kigo are associated with one specific season in Japan, and yet in modern times, with the adoption of a non-lunar calendar, occur in another season. For example, the Tanabata festival is a fall kigo, occurring on the seventh day of the seventh month. However, it now occurs on July 7th, which is clearly a summer kigo. Machmiller discussed the balance required, and the possibility of losing a section of one’s audience, when using one or other interpretations of the kigo “Tanabata”.  Machmiller recommended some excellent resources, among them Gabi Greve’s kigo database, and William J. Higginson’s “The Haiku Seasons.” As an advocate of chiboo kigo, I also recommend (and Greve touches upon this within the database) regionalized kigo. For example, “lake effect” or “lake effect snow” only occurs in a specific region within the United States, and thus serves as a Chiboo Kigo for the Great Lakes Region, and areas along Lake Erie in particular. More haiku with this kigo will add depth and resonance as they play off each other.

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The poet doesn't invent. He listens. ~Jean Cocteau