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haikaiTALKS Q 27: a saturday gathering

*** Q #27 ***


haikaiTALKS Q #27: a saturday gathering_under the banyan tree

host: Kala Ramesh

Hearty Congratulations, to Ashish Narain!

Kavitha has picked Asish Narain’s answer as the best reply to her Q!

For last week’s discussion, click here:

Listen to what Kavitha has to say:

Dear Kala

My heartfelt thanks to you and Lakshmi for allowing me to present forward Q#26 for haikaiTALKS.

Though the responses were few they were profound and constructive.

I would like to thank Lakshmi Iyer, Neena Singh, Robert Kingston, Shalini Pattabiraman, Tish Davis, Vandana Parashar, Ashish Narain and you (Kala Ramesh) for stopping by and sharing your valid thoughts.

Robert Kingston, the first to attempt the question and share Nick Virgilio’s haiku along with his own, threw light on how we at times struggle to find and finish our lines while others flow in naturally. His haiku was simplistic yet was like a bird’s eye view. Thank you for sharing your ku with us.

Shalini Pattabiraman shared her ku along with her thoughts about being one with the universal consciousness to bring simplicity into our writing. The whole idea of transcendence and flowing in shapelessness is beautifully depicted through her writing. Thank you, Shalini for sharing.

Thank you Kala for stopping by and sharing your understanding of 'karumi' and the importance of equanimity in thoughts, word and action to write a simple yet deep ku. Your ku depicted just that. The whole idea of transcendence is beautifully captured in both your and Shalini’s ku.

Lakshmi Iyer pulled strings from my haiku and also shared her thoughts through her deep insights. I loved her haiku where grandma knits a purple sky. The ability to look at things with a childlike wonder yet attach depth to them is simply beautiful.

Tish Davis had captured the essence of haiku through the simplistic ku. Tish’s perspective about haiku being uncluttered and being balanced deeply reflects in the ku. Thank you, Tish Davis.

Neena Singh thank you for stopping by. I loved the way Neena has defined simplicity- uncomplicated and light. She has focussed on the truthfulness of haiku. Show as you see through her haiku. Loved both her ku especially the hummingbird one.

Ashish Narain’s take on presenting a ku non-judgementally and leaving it for the reader to have their own unique experience is a different take from the others. I simply liked this take where Ashish Narain meant that the ku should leave something for the reader to imagine, ponder, and wonder about. It shouldn’t dictate how the reader has to react and create a space for the experience. His haiku, simple yet deep and elegant, unfurls its layers as you read it again.

So I pass on the baton to Ashish Narain for next week’s question.

Thank you once again.


Kavitha Sreeraj


Now for Ashish Narain’s Q:

Hi Kala,

Thanks for letting me know, and my thanks To Kavitha for picking me up. Here is my question. I fear we will not get many responses to it, but I still feel like asking it.

Thank you, Kavitha for appreciating my response and letting me ask the next question. In a way, your question provoked my one below, so thanks also for forcing me to think more about Haiku!

Simplicity is the heart of haiku. However, simplicity is also the ultimate form of sophistication. Even more so when you combine it with brevity. This often leads to a reliance on stylistic references to suggest more than there are words to say. E.g., the moon is now generally considered to signify autumn and all that goes along with it- growing discomfort, old age etc. This however means that the reader must develop sensitivity to meanings carried by context and implied through nuance, and this could lead to haiku becoming difficult to reach by readers not used to it. Greater reliance on structure and stylistic devices also could potentially detract from spontaneity, which is what Basho tried to infuse into the form.

Q #27

So my question is do you see a trade-off between structure and stylistic elements (like kigos), and spontaneity and accessibility in haiku? If there is, which would you rather choose? If there isn't, can you provide some examples of haiku which do both?


Trivenians are given time until midnight of 18th May (IST) - two weeks, because I want our poets to think about this Q. And to share your poems and comments on this topic.

Waiting to read your responses!

your host,


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