haikaiTALKS: a saturday gathering Q3

Updated: Oct 9, 2021

*** QUESTION THREE *** ********************* haikaiTALKS_under the banyan tree

host: Kala Ramesh

Question 2 was:

Haiku is a sketch from life.

What is your opinion on this.

The member who has given a good interpretation to the question gets to ask the next question!


So after reading and rereading all your lovely comments, I did fall for Mike’s observation: for he has 'pinned' the moment and what it means to him explicitly. Mike, thanks a ton for joining the discussion!

I 'think' that a sketch is too much to tell sometimes. Haiku is a touchstone for the poet to share an aspect of their life, either a human moment (senryu), or a fragment from nature. The haikai poem is something like a drop of water on the shore. It has all the same aspects as the sea itself, but by itself, it is no more than a 'hint' of the total body of water. The rest of the 'connections' are left to the reader. Eric Amann said that haiku was a 'collaboration' between the poet and the reader and that the meeting of the two is what provides the 'experience' of the poem that brings it to life. Haiku is more like an Enzo than a sketch, predictable in its basic form yet unfinished at some point to let the reader in to experience the poem. Even a 'sketch' might be too much in my estimation. But then who am I to question Shiki???

vanishing act

a leaf

in the stream

Just a thought...



Mike has this Q for haikaiTALKS: a saturday gathering under the banyan tree feature!

Welcome to the discussion! Post a poem (optional!) to illustrate your point!

How valuable is it to combine two different topics in a single haiku? Should you even attempt it, or should you aspire to it?

Mike Rehling

Some extra information on this topic from Mike. Morikawa Kyoriku (1656–1715), one of Basho’s foremost disciples, argued that the “combination poem” (toriawase), which brought together different topics in a single hokku, was the most important technique of the Bashō school and, furthermore, that it should leap beyond the established associations of a given topic.

* Early Modern Japanese Literature: An Anthology, 1600-1900 (Translations from the Asian Classics) . Columbia University Press. Haruo Shirane


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