2012 .haiku columns
.haiku column number 4 • 1-23-2012
by Gene Myers <firstname.lastname@example.org>
January: Expectations for haiku in 2012
It's that time of year! I love when artists are focused on the future. It's always a good sign for the art. So I've been sending emails to poets, publishers and editors asking one simple question: What are your hopes for American haiku in 2012?
Charles Trumbull was the first to point out that this is actually not a simple question at all.
"I don't really measure developments in haiku in years—too short a period. And 'hopes'? I don't know what one can really hope for: haiku growth is organic and goes where it will. I can talk about expectations, however. The most exciting development in recent years is the challenge to traditional haiku of one-line and gendai-style verses. The controversy will surely sharpen with the arrival on the scene of Haiku 21, the new English-language haiku anthology from Modern Haiku Press, which takes a view of recent haiku that is sure to be provocative. It should be ready by the end of the year. At least one and probably two other major anthologies, more traditional in scope and tenor, are in the works and might be published in the coming year. The haiku traditionalists are being roused from their lethargy and beginning to push back."
He went on to compliment "the officers of the HSA, especially Ce Rosenow" and say that they "have been a tonic for the organization."
HSA President Ce Rosenow hopes American haiku "will become more integrated with American poetry in general" and this hope is one that many share, including one of my all-time favorite poets, Gary Hotham, whose book, Breath Marks: Haiku to Read in the Dark, I've been reading and re-reading for years.
"I hope the American haiku is taken more seriously by the literary world. I would hope that the sophisticated understanding and appreciation of the genre present in the world of the English language haiku and the skill of those writing them will become more widespread," he wrote in an email.
Both Haiku North America cofounder Michael Dylan Welch and Haiku Foundation President Jim Kacian have expressed similar hopes to me on different occasions. This is obviously an urgent concern in the haiku world. That got a lot of replies when I posted it on the Haiku Foundation blog, Troutswirl. So it's one of my New Year's resolutions, to help that cause along in any way that I can. But let's save that for another column.
Poet Jane Hirshfield, who published "The Heart of Haiku" in late June of 2011 and then "Come, Thief" in the fall, considered personified poetry when she shared her optimism for haiku in the new year. On its
Facebook page Lilliput Review said Jane "supplied the best definition of haiku (and poetry) ever" when she wrote, "The essence of a haiku is that it brings us to profound immediacy, beyond ideas—to a moment's comprehension that both exceeds and confounds whatever thoughts and concepts we may have had before it came into existence." Jane's reply got similar replies across the blogosphere, including David Boyer, who wrote, "Wow. You can't hear it, but I'm clapping" on Troutswirl.
"I would hope for more American haiku poets to see the value in joining organizations like the Haiku Society of America. I think we currently have about 700 members, give or take, and I recall that our
highest numbers were once about 850, during better economic times. But I dare say we should be able to top 1000, and even 3000, given the number of people out there, just in the United States, who are
actively writing haiku with a literary intent," wrote Michael Dylan Welch. "More important, though, I hope everyone continues to write and enjoy haiku, and share it with each other as a means of emotional and
experiential connection. By sharing haiku, we make ourselves vulnerable to each other, even if just slightly, and this shared vulnerability has the potential to bring us closer together. I find this to be one of haiku poetry's most endearing and long-lasting attractions."
As far as what you can expect from me in this .Haiku column over 2012, besides concerning myself with the exchange between the poetry world at large and the haiku world, I'm also planning an interview with Alan Pizzarelli and Donna Beaver on their technological and artistic gem, the Haiku Chronicles podcast. I'd also like to highlight other interactive advantages the web provides like video, shared docs, Skype poetry readings and publishing apps. Check back here on the 15th of each month!
Is there something you would like to see in a column? Email me at <email@example.com>.
• .haiku column number 4 • 1-23-2011 •