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haikaiTALKS: a saturday gathering! ONE-LINE haiku

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

haikaiTALKS: ONE-LINE HAIKU - a saturday gathering_under the banyan tree

host: Richa Sharma


11th March 2023


Breakthrough in English-language Haiku


Dear poets,


The previous post focused on the translations of Japanese poems into one-line English haiku by Hiroaki Sato.


Renowned haiku poet, Alan Summers, has graciously shared his marvellous views, essays, and articles in the comments section. Thank you so much, Alan.


In essence, haiku is the poetry of the particular and is written within the context of a country's language and culture. So, coming back to the history of one-line English haiku, many western poets like Guillaume Apollinaire, Michael Segers, and Cor van den Heuvel started experimenting with different possibilities. The breakthrough came in the late 1970s when poet Marlene Mountain (11 December 1939 – 15 March 2018) published her first groundbreaking haiku book, the old tin roof (1976), which includes many one-line poems. It is available as a part of The Haiku Foundation's Digital Library.


She began writing haiku in 1968 and was one of the first haiku poets to focus on the one-line approach by way of analogy with the one-column vertical writing of Japanese haiku, thus becoming a major contributor to the English-language haiku in her own right. ¹


Notably, Marlene was experimental since the beginning, and her oeuvre demonstrates an exceptional ability to convey that language doesn't necessarily impose meaning where meaning is not. Discussions about her innovative works are important for as long as we talk of one-line haiku and the history of English-language haiku in general.


autumn mist oak leaves left to rust


(Frogpond 26:1, 2003)


Through the one-line form, she expressed her deep concerns for the environment and the freedom of women. Marlene's poems of the here and now tell us something more about the relationship between the human world and the natural world. Her gendai spirit is a constant source of inspiration and change.


The most important appraisal of Marlene Mountain comes from Haruo Shirane, author of the influential book Traces of Dreams: Landscape, Cultural Memory, and the Poetry of Bashō (Stanford University Press, 1998)


In 2001, these words from his letter to her will keep encouraging haikai poets for all times to come:


“To put it another way, what was most important for Bashō was what was called haikai spirit, to be constantly seeking new horizons, new forms, new words, and new emotions. In my view, you have that spirit.” ²


Here is another one-line haiku from Marlene Mountain's phenomenal collection the old tin roof:


the crayfish gathers her young beneath her


Another favourite monoku:


morning-glory folds into herself into her folds

Marlene Mountain

HSA Harold G. Henderson Award, 1979, HM


Sources


1.



2.


Galmitz, Jack. Views. Seawall Press, 2012.


3.


R’r 12.2 (Roadrunner Journal)


4.


Ross, Bruce. How to Haiku: A writer's guide to haiku and related forms. Tuttle Publishing, 2002. Print.


Happy International Women's Day. Huge congratulations to all the women haiku poets.


Warmly,


Richa


<> <> <> <> I am adding the link to the one-line verses I wrote with Marlene Mountain in 2016. It was published in BONES as an ebook. Corresponded with her everyday for over four months. http://bonesjournal.com/books/kala-marlene%20one-line%20twos%20final%20.pdf

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149 Comments


lakshmi iyer
lakshmi iyer
Mar 17, 2023

#1

.


into deep thoughts another autumn ends

.


Feedback please

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RS
RS
Mar 18, 2023
Replying to

Thank you for sharing your poem, Lakshmi 🌺

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Keiko Izawa
Keiko Izawa
Mar 16, 2023

Dear Richa, Kala & All,


In response to the requests of Richa and some other Triveni poets, I’d like to introduce some more gendai(modern) style haiku. This time, some of Kenshin Sumitaku‘s work:


lonelines spreads ripples on the pond


a cloud in my memory turns into that face


winter has come with an insect sticking to the windowpane


soaking wet a doggie


the pale shadow of her parasol I’m in love


a lonely night someone begins to laugh

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RS
RS
Mar 17, 2023
Replying to

Extremely heartbreaking. The poems are rare gems. I like to know about the unsung heroes.

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Meera Rehm
Meera Rehm
Mar 14, 2023

Thanks Keiko for the kigo.

#1. 14/03/23


blossoms viewing alone the widow lingers


alone the widow lingers blossom viewing


Feedback please. Richa, does it work? Thanks for your brilliant essay.

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Kala Ramesh
Kala Ramesh
Mar 15, 2023
Replying to

i like your version 1, too.

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Keiko Izawa
Keiko Izawa
Mar 14, 2023

Thanks, Kala, Linda & Richa for the suggestions!

#2

Mar 14th

Revised:

the drizzle pink blossom viewing (according to Kala’s suggestion)


original:

the pinking drizzle blossom viewing


Feedback much appreciated🌸


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RS
RS
Mar 17, 2023
Replying to

Keep the thought of “pinking,” Keiko. This will surely help you in your upcoming work of another variety.

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angiola inglese
angiola inglese
Mar 13, 2023

fog comes and goes (the) castle by the sea

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angiola inglese
angiola inglese
Mar 14, 2023
Replying to

a few days ago at the sea there was the hot sun, suddenly the "caligo" arrived....

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