Haiku Society of America - haiku column 21

Haiku Society of America

.haiku column

Gene MyersThe Haiku Society of America is pleased to host this ongoing column.

.Haiku: a place to share tools available to haiku writers and fellow haiku fans (like how to use Twitter, Facebook and Scribd for building community, self-publishing and marketing). The column will also feature interviews, blog spotlights and occasional multimedia presentations.

Gene Myers

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.haiku column 21

.haiku column number 21 • 8-25-2013

by Gene Myers <poetgene@gmail.com>

What surrealism and haiku have in common 

Surrealists aimed to jar people. But they didn’t just jar. They had methods and messages. Surrealists filled their writings and paintings with images they believed were imbued with the deeper, common experiences of man.

This is where I start to equate surrealism with haiku. These days, when people say something is surreal they mean strange, disconnected. They are talking about something that they can't understand. However, that wasn't exactly the surrealists' goal. 

Surrealists were looking to show what was beyond every day. They were looking to show how we take everything around us for granted.

Now think about Basho's famous "old pond" poem—probably the most famous poem in the world—it was the first poem to displace consciousness. 

Literal Translation by Fumiko Saisho:

Fu-ru (old) i-ke (pond) ya, 
ka-wa-zu (frog) to-bi-ko-mu (jumping into) 
mi-zu (water) no o-to (sound)

Translated by Jane Reichhold:

old pond
a frog jumps into
the sound of water

Phasing, out of phase, this frog, this surrounding, this sound, this consciousness, this sound source, the splicing of it all . . . the Jung-like meditation of "Am I sitting on the rock or am I the rock?". 

Haiku poets don't practice automatic writing as the surrealists did. Their methods are usually quite the opposite. But still, they are trying to break through the numbness of everyday life caused by the filters we apply to the world around us.  

. . . so light is healing itself of the when in the well;
In the well—Eyedark, a moon state
of lunatic clear sounds, emerges.

by Gene Myers

While habitual thinking makes life more manageable, artists look to get past the usual so we don't take our existence for granted, or as the surrealists might have put it, to wake people up.

"This" is how surrealism and haiku are a lot alike.  

Wasn't Basho's ku the first poem to say, there is "this" and then there is you interpreting "this"?  

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Is there something you would like to see in a column? Email me at <poetgene@gmail.com>.

• .haiku column number 21 • 8-25-2013 •

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The Haiku Society of America web site featured a Haiku Column written by Gene Myers. Here is the archive of his columns written from 2010-2017

.haiku column number 37 by Gene Myers • 6/1/17

.haiku column number 36 by Gene Myers • 3/7/17

.haiku column number 35 by Gene Myers • 6/20/16

.haiku column number 34 by Gene Myers • 3/21/16

.haiku column number 33 by Gene Myers • 2/10/16

.haiku column number 32 by Gene Myers • 1/6/16

.haiku column number 31 by Gene Myers • 10/29/15

.haiku column number 30 by Gene Myers • 7/9/15

.haiku column number 29 by Gene Myers • 3/23/15

.haiku column number 28 by Gene Myers • 1/15/15

.haiku column number 27 by Gene Myers • 9/26/14

.haiku column number 26 by Gene Myers • 7/14/14

.haiku column number 25 by Gene Myers • 4/14/14

.haiku column number 24 by Gene Myers • 2/10/14

.haiku column number 23 by Gene Myers • 1/2/14

.haiku column number 22 by Gene Myers • 10/7/13

.haiku column number 21 by Gene Myers • 8/25/13

.haiku column number 20 by Gene Myers • 6/30/13

.haiku column number 19 by Gene Myers • 5/18/13

.haiku column number 18 by Gene Myers • 4/7/13

.haiku column number 17 by Gene Myers • 3/10/13

.haiku column number 16 by Gene Myers • 2/9/13

.haiku column number 15 by Gene Myers • 1/2/13

.haiku column number 14 by Gene Myers • 11/18/12

.haiku column number 13 by Gene Myers • 10/11/12

.haiku column number 12 by Gene Myers • 9/27/12

.haiku column number 11 by Gene Myers • 8/26/12

.haiku column number 10 by Gene Myers • 7/19/12

.haiku column number 9 by Gene Myers • 6/17/12

.haiku column number 8 by Gene Myers • 5/19/12

.haiku column number 7 by Gene Myers • 4/16/12

.haiku column number 6 by Gene Myers • 3/16/12

.haiku column number 5 by Gene Myers • 2/12/12

.haiku column number 4 by Gene Myers • 1/23/12

.haiku column number 3 by Gene Myers • 10/17/11

.haiku column number 2 by Gene Myers • 9/12/11

.haiku column number 1 by d. f. tweney • 10/6/10

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