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open sky :: SAMVAAD | 24th September

hosts : Sanjuktaa Asopa & Kashiana Singh


Sept

ember

- Carolyn Hall


( First published in Mariposa #5, Autumn/winter 2001; reprinted in Haiku: A Poet's Guide, 2003; Haiku 21: an anthology of contemporary English-language haiku , 2012 and The Doors All Unlocked ,Red Moon Press, 2012)

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8 Comments


Adelaide Shaw
Adelaide Shaw
Oct 05, 2023

Sept

ember


Without the explanation, I did not make the connection to 9/11. It would have been obvious when published shortly after 9/11 occurred. What I did think of was that this is a poem about autumn with the burning of leaves as envisioned by ember. Autumn begins in mid-September, hence the splitting of the word. This might not be what was intended 22 years ago, but this is what came through to me before reading the background to the poem.


All the above leads me to a question about the expectation of relevance of a poem years later:

Should we expect our haiku to be always relavant?


Adelaide B. Shaw

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lakshmi iyer
lakshmi iyer
Sep 28, 2023

Too good!

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lev hart
lev hart
Sep 28, 2023

Without Lee Gurga's commentary, as repeated by Carolyn Hall, I doubt that very many readers would understand the poem. Traditionally, of course, a haiku needs to stand alone, without benefit of a footnote.


Another flaw, from my standpoint, is that Hall's presence is made all-too-conspicuous by her clever show. In Basho's frog ku, the poet's presence is, as it were, invisible. His ma, "self-forgetting," enables the verse to express itself, not his self.

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Lev Hart, you raise a good point by talking about self-forgetting, ma, in Basho's haiku. But in this poem what shines through is not the poet's presence or ego, but maybe the style, the brilliance? At least I don't see the poet here.You're right though that without the commentary, this would be hard to understand. I just found it very very intriguing and that's why I wanted to feature it.


Please do visit and leave your comments here more often. Different perspectives and questioning voices are always sought and welcome here in open sky.

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And here is what Carolyn Hall says about this very unusual verse. Hope this will help you all appreciate it better.


"I am happy to tell you the story behind the making of this verse. As I said, I wrote it very shortly after 9/11/2001. Lee Gurga, in Haiku a Poet's Guide described it perfectly, so I won't try to improve on his comments. He says, "In [this] poem, 'september' functions as a season word. In addition, poet Carolyn Hall has used the cutting of the word in the line to convey the feeling of how the month of September 2001 was interrupted for all of us. The remainder of the word in the second line presents us with the…

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lakshmi iyer
lakshmi iyer
Sep 28, 2023
Replying to

This rocks!!

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Nani Mariani
Nani Mariani
Sep 24, 2023

Beautiful!!

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