haikaiTALKS: a saturday gathering Q4

haikaiTALKS: a saturday gathering_under the banyan tree

host: Kala Ramesh

*** QUESTION #4 *** ******************

Question #3 from Mike Rehling:

How valuable is it to combine two different topics in a single haiku?

Should you even attempt it, or should you aspire to it?

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

Mike Rehling


Mike Rehling has chosen Jayashree’s comment as the best answer to his question.

Congratulations, Jayashree!

Jayashree's answer:

I also read this in an article on NZ Poetry Society by Susumu Takiguchi:

toriawase is joining two things together to form a single whole - which is a combination unlike juxtaposition where we are placing two things side by side for contrast instead of similarity.

So to answer the question based on my understanding of the above - it can be valuable when combining two images/topics/ingredients to enhance a desired outcome/the experience of an outcome. It is like putting together a Bento box to provide an overall experience of a Japanese meal. Each chef might have a different combination of items in the Bento box. The experience of the meal is what is holding all the different items served together.

Should we attempt it or aspire to it? As long as we are not left with an uncomfortable aftertaste, it should be ok to attempt. I think we all do in our normal writing anyway, but with a lesser degree of toriawase-ness. Haiku being a short poem, we need to be selective with our ingredients that we choose to combine. As far as aspiring to it - I will be happy with whatever my muse leads me to in the moment. Haiku to me is not an experiment. I don't write to create an experience, but I am writing in response to an experience (which in turn may or may not create an experience in the reader).

Not sure if I have answered the question - but there it is!


Hearty Congratulations, Jayashree.


*** QUESTION #4 *** ******************

Is English Language Haiku a completely new form, or, is it still anchored in the roots of the original Japanese hokku/haiku?

Jayashree Maniyil

This window will close on 13 October (IST). All answers should be in before that to be considered! Jayashree will get to choose the best answer and the baton passes on to the next winner!

Get your imagination and creativity to work!

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