submission deadline: August 1st

Submission deadline for R’r 12.2 & MASKS 4 is August 1

send ku for R’r to:

scott AT roadrunnerjournal.net

 

 

send ku for MASKS to:

haikumasks AT gmail.com

 

“es fallen” by the don juan remainder

Bashō, extracting genius & mediocrity

“Haiku after Bashō became increasingly popular, and with the growing stability of the tightly regulated feudal regime under the Tokugawa shogunate—a phenomenon unprecedented in world history—it was perhaps only to be expected that haiku poets would become decadent. It would not be correct to say that this was because later poets neglected the spirit of Bashō, or that they stopped seeking out the same things he did. We should instead recognize that this decadence followed directly from the continued adulation of Bashō. It was not simply that Bashō’s words underwent a process of mystification at the hands of his followers and later commentators. The cause lies rather in the failure to abandon Bashō. Art does not permit both artistic genius and artistic form to be studied at the same time. When the attempt is made, the spirit of genius is taken to be conveyed through form, leading inescapably to the formalization of the spirit itself. The result is called academicism or mannerism. Bashō studied Saigyō and Du Fu through the very different forms of waka and Chinese verse, so he had no choice but to extract and absorb only their genius. This would seem to account for Bashō’s ability to escape mannerism while still absorbing the spirit of the past. But since later haikai poets studied only haiku and called constantly for a “return to Bashō,” mediocrity was the unavoidable result.”

Kuwabara Takeo / “Modern Haiku: A Second-Class Art” (1946) [Tr. by Mark Jewel]

Mark Harris’s *burl*

I’ll admit that over the last decade there have not been too many haiku collections by individuals that have really excited me. A few now and then (Fay Aoyagi’s Chrysanthemum Love [Blue Willow Press, 2003], john martone’s dogwood & honeysuckle [Red Moon Press, 2004], and Philip Rowland’s together still [Hub Editions, 2004] come to mind) but not many, and not many, i mean, that have had a strong impact on me, or have sustained my interest.

Over the last couple years or so, however, there has been a nice cluster of haiku collections by individual poets that i think are outstanding (mostly at the hands of Jim Kacian’s Red Moon Press), collections i really enjoy returning to, find inspiration in, and seek out pretty regularly: Jim Kacian’s long after (Albalibri Editore, 2008), john martone’s ksana (Red Moon Press, 2009; out of print; but here’s a review), William M. Ramsey’s more wine (Red Moon Press, 2010), Fay Aoyagi’s Beyond the Reach of My Chopsticks (Blue Willow Press, 2011), and also her In Borrowed Shoes (Blue Willow Press, 2006), paul m.’s few days north days few (Red Moon Press, 2011) as well as his called home from 2006, and Peter Yovu’s Sunrise (Red Moon Press, 2010; out of print)—pretty much my favorite of these for its range of content, form, and techniques, and sucessful experimentalism (its melding of “tradition” with the “avant-garde”). The latest issues of Chris Gordon’s journal ant ant ant ant ant have been chapbooks of an individual’s work (Chris Gordon, Jack Galmitz, and Jim Westenhaver, respectively), and each has been well worth the waiting time between issues, and are nice to have close by. Two excellent, and important, retrospectives have also been published, Martin Shea’s waking on the bridge (Red Moon Press, 2008) and Robert Boldman’s everything i touch (Red Moon Press, 2011).

Mark Harris’s new collection, burl (Red Moon Press, 2012) is now among that group for me. It is outstanding in pretty much every way: the personal, oftentimes deeply intimate, emotive, and sometimes imaginative, poems; the range of poetic techniques and forms employed (the poems’ “internal energies”); the sequencing; and the excellent cover (utilizing Mark’s own artwork) which employs some of the “simplicity” haiku is supposed to be known for with a strong touch of modern complexity in execution (mirroring, in many ways, the poems within, and, i think, especially some of the content matter). Out of all the collections mentioned above, i think Mark’s work perhaps best displays the range of what is being done in English-language haiku today.

It all comes together amazingly. It’s a collection i’ve found myself going back to again over the last many months since it arrived, the poems offering new readings and new insights (and new inspiration) each time, always with something new to pick up on.

A powerful collection, and highly recommended.

8 poems from the collection:

Issue 12.3 of R’r will contain a substantial essay on Mark Harris’s burl by Jack Galmitz

heartbeat

“Haiku is poetry, and rhythm (beats) is the life of poetry.

[T]he 5 / 7 / 5 beats are the rhythm of Japanese haiku only, and thus the requirement does not apply to haiku written in other languages. To begin with, it is meaningless for haiku in other languages to adhere to the Japanese 5 / 7 / 5. What should one do then, when writing haiku in another language? It is best to determine the rhythm of the heartbeat of that particular language.”

Hasegawa Kai

/ Simply Haiku 7.1 (2009)

form

“I live in a culture that prides itself on how efficiently it kills people. Poetry is despised. It is frowned on like a disease. It’s easy to see why. Militancy involves rigor. Narrowness. Rigidity. Poetry is the opposite of that. It is a form of meandering. Of submergence and aberration. It feeds on anomaly. So that the forms it assumes vary wildly. So much so that the whole question of form becomes a problem bordering on hallucination. And is, ultimately, seditious. It usurps certainty. So that killing people with drones is a patent impossibility.”

John Olson / “Questions of Form”

// reblogged from Joseph Massey’s RANGE

interviews by Jack Galmitz with Chris Gordon & Peter Yovu

“While I’ve been very conscious over the years of using such poetic tools as juxtaposition, indeterminacy, sampling, and randomness to create haiku, I’ve been thinking in terms of images, feelings, senses, the matter of the poem. That the difference lay in the comparison of elements, not so much in the valence of meaning or the shifting of themes or focus.

In other words, I haven’t thought of it as an overlay of two different worlds, only an overlay of experiences. The mystical world and the mundane world are the same to me. Or so I strive to make them so. Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes it takes a great knack.”

—Chris Gordon

The Superlative Quotidian: An Interview with Chris Gordon

A Hundred Gourds 1.1 (2011)

“Yes, and though I stay away from calling myself a haiku poet, I will admit that there is something in me that is attracted to the 5/7/5 blueprint and likes to play off and with it. Maybe it’s like agreeing to have four limbs (I’m a quadropus) and not the eight of an octopus. The body has limits which the dance, for one, plays off and with. There is no exceeding (and maybe no excelling) without limits. Seeds and cells.”

—Peter Yovu

 Artisan of the Imagination: An Interview with Peter Yovu

A Hundred Gourds 1.2 (2012)

2 new books by Jack Galmitz

Contributing editor of R’r, Jack Galmitz, has two new books out: Views (Cyberwit), and The Word ‘Dog’ Does Not Bark (Lulu Press).

Beth Vieira, a former professor at the University of California at Berkeley, wrote the introduction for Views. Here’s a small excerpt to give you an idea:

“[Jack Galmitz’s] Views (. . .) shows the power of allowing perspectival seeing, the layering of views, to accumulate on a topic that might be a bit like an elephant in miniature—contemporary haiku. Like the blind men in the [famous Buddhist] parable, people cling to their own views of haiku even though they have grasped just a part. Galmitz, in tandem with fourteen poets, follows Nietzsche’s lead to allow “more affects . . . more eyes” to the matter.

Through interviews, book reviews, and critical pieces, Galmitz covers the poetry and larger concerns of a broad range of writers: paul m., Peter Yovu, Chris Gordon, john martone, Ban’ya Natsuishi, Tateo Fukutomi, Tohta Kaneko, Robert Boldman, Marlene Mountain, Grant Hackett, Richard Gilbert, Dimitar Anakiev, Mark Truscott, and Fay Aoyagi. Each writer appears in exquisite specificity, as if Galmitz can disappear into each’s shadow and yet at the same time be so active that he pulls them into the spotlight to take a fine-tuned look at the work each does.”

The Word ‘Dog’ Does Not Bark is a new collection of recent work by Jack. The poems in the collection are each given a title. Here are two examples that appeared in slightly different forms in R’r 12.1:

Ancestry

Descendant

of a star

that coexisting

Ancestry II

Impose do not

on the blank space

that pinioned the burial

new issue 12.1 now on the website

Many of you may have already checked out the new issue, 12.1.

It is now up on the website.

It features three sections of new ku (glass wombs, a collage of scissors, and not quite ice cream), Gathering Stones: An Interview with john martone by Jack Galmitz, Sunlight on a Different World: The Poetics of Grant Hackett, also by Jack, and Scorpion Prize 25 by Bob Perelman.


The submission deadline for 12.2 is August 1st, 2012.

MASKS 4: Send Submissions

We are pleased to announce that submissions are once again being considered for MASKS, now for issue 4.

MASKS is a journal that publishes haiku written by poets under the guises of pseudonyms (haigō, in the Japanese haiku tradition)—personae, mirages, alter egos, hallucinations, and/or tricksters.

Like the transformation masks carved by the Kwakwaka’wakw people, where, for example, the raven mask is opened and a human face is revealed (surrounded by two serpents), MASKS is a journal within a journal (R’r).

Send as many poems as you like to: haikumasks@gmail.com

Multiple masks may be used in a single submission, but all submissions must be accompanied by at least one.

For a look at what we’ve done so far, please see:

MASKS ONE    /    MASKS 2    /    MASKS III

We’ll be accepting submissions until August 1, 2012, and will respond to them as soon as possible.

Scott Metz & Chris Gordon, editors

realms

Bashō’s haiku speak only of what was around him [emphasis in original]. That is, his subject was either an emotion he felt subjectively or else natural scenes and human affairs that he observed objectively. This is of course admirable, but the fact that he discarded scenes which arise from imagination and are outside observation, as well as human affairs he had not experienced, shows that Bashō’s realm was rather small.”

—Shiki

Masaoka Shiki: his life and works

by Janine Beichman (40)

bones

“The bones of haikai are plainness and oddness.”

—Bashō

/ The essential haiku: versions of Bashō, Buson, and Issa edited by Robert Hass (238)

The Touchstone Awards for Individual Poems 2011

On National Haiku Poetry Day (April 17th; 17 syllables, get it?), The Haiku Foundation announced the winners for their Touchstone Awards for Individual Poems in 2011, as well as for their Touchstone Distinguished Book Awards for 2011, and also the winners of their 2012 HaikuNow! contest.

Lots going down.

No winners from R’r were selected for the Touchstone Awards for Individual Poems this year, but two ku that appeared in R’r in 2011 made their Shortlist. One was the following by Chris Gordon, from R’r 11.1:

And one of my own, also from R’r 11.1:

These were two, from the 30, i submitted for the contest (having been invited by THF, as editor of R’r, to submit 10 from each issue we published in 2011). Hope to share all of those sometime soon.

Two ku that i’ve shared on this blog as favorites of mine from other journals in 2011 got top honors however (out of 6 total):

gunshot
every pine needle
pointing at something

Gregory Hopkins

/ The Heron’s Nest (Volume 13:2, June 2011)

&

back from the war   
all his doors
swollen shut

Bill Pauly

/ Modern Haiku (42.1)

Also, as an individual, i was able to submit two of my favorites from other journals for the contest.

One of the two i submitted was Bill Pauly’s ku above.

i like this one so much because it can be read in different ways, and those readings (from the hyper-literal to the symbolic/metaphorical), for me, can be held in the mind simultaneously, and have, i feel, great depth, and far-reaching implications about the human psyche, war, society/culture, Nature, and the world. The words chosen are perfect—nothing’s wasted—and the line breaks are steel-solid. All around, a great and highly memorable poem.

The other of the two i submitted was Lee Gurga’s

the scent of paradise a dead bird in my hand

from Modern Haiku 42.2.

Here the abstract and the concrete are oddly and jarringly grafted on to one another to create a world i never encountered before, yet somehow feel i should’ve (or, actually, that i have, but didn’t realize it until reading Lee’s poem). The balance of release and lifelessness, sadness/aloneness and magnificence, invisibility and concreteness (yet invitation: what kind of bird? what colors?, etc.), the implication of death equaling life/new life, and vice versa, and the intense intimacy and physicality of the bird in hand (flight ceased, flight caught, flight realized and felt)—it is all so mesmerizing. Here the taxonomical naming of the bird would only impede and ruin the entire poem, like it does so often in English-language haiku. The one line construction is perfect and heightens the reading experience.

In the weeks ahead here, Paul Pfleuger, Jr. will be sharing his favorites that appeared in R’r in 2011 with some commentary and lingering questions; & i’ll continue to throw up more of my favs from other journals in 2011. And amongst all of that, the new issue of R’r (12.1) will be completed and unveiled.

Contribute!: The Haiku Foundation Video Archive

The Haiku Foundation (THF) has an interesting, exciting & important new project/campaign on IndieGoGo that could greatly use your help: The Haiku Foundation Video Archive. Be sure to check out the video that introduces the project.

Some words on the project from THF:

“[Help] contribute to the first collection of in-depth interviews documenting the development of 20th century English-language haiku. Poets, translators, and scholars, who have been largely ignored by the literary community, will share their work and discuss their ideas. The resulting video and audio recordings will be available FREE of charge on the The Haiku Foundation website, providing easy access to poets, teachers, critics, researchers, & readers.

Haiku poet Eve Luckring, an accomplished photographer and video artist, will collaborate with The Haiku Foundation’s founder and president, Jim Kacian, on a series of interviews. They will record in-person interviews using professional audio and video equipment. Within one year, with your help, The Video Archive will launch its website at The Haiku Foundation. THF is a not for profit organization staffed entirely by volunteers. A handful of generous people have funded our project so far; we need your help to realize The Video Archive.”

So, head over to the IndieGoGo site and throw some money their way. They’re looking to raise $6,000 by the end of June.

Carving Darkness: The Red Moon Anthology 2011

A copy of Carving Darkness: The Red Moon Anthology of English-language Haiku 2011 (Red Moon Press, 2012) was received the other day.

One ku that appeared in R’r in 2011 was voted in:

This year’s editorial board consisted of: Roberta Beary, Ernest J. Berry, Randy M. Brooks, Dee Evetts, Leroy Gorman, Maureen Gorman, Matthew Paul, Kohjin Sakamoto, John Stevenson & Max Verhart.

Jim Kacian is the editor-in-chief.

“So it goes.”

—Kurt Vonnegut

HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES?

Le fils de l’homme / The Son of Man by René Magritte (1964)

tr. by Burton Watson / From the Country of Eight Islands

tr. by Burton Watson / Masaoka Shiki: Selected Poems

1960 / Haiku: This Other World (#436)

September 21 1965   # e b ’ / The Collected Poems of Larry Eigner

Poems 1966-1967 [Pages, Random House, 1969]

/ A 2nd Flake (1974)

/ Modern Haiku 6.2 (1975)

Viral 7.2  by Chris Gordon

Gendai Haiku Kyokai Sakuhin-Shû (Modern Haiku Association Anthology), 1982              tr. by Fay Aoyagi

/ Opera in the Human Body (1990) [Turquoise Milk, Red Moon Press 2011]

/ Modern Haiku 35.1 (2004)

Haiku Shiki (Haiku Four Seasons), October 2008; created from a tr. by Fay Aoyagi

/ Ginyu 42 (2009)

MASKS ONE (2009)

 / R’r 9.1 (2009)

Chris Gordon :: Jack Dander

MASKS ONE (2009)

/ Ginyu 42 (2009)

:: Jack Dander / MASKS 2 (2009)

/ Ginyu 42 (2009)

/ R’r 9.2 (2009)

/ The Heron’s Nest 12.1 (2010)

/ R’r 10.1 (2010)

/ R’r 10.3 (2010)

/ Haidan (Haiku Stage), September 2011; new arrangement using a tr. by Fay Aoyagi

/ A Hundred Gourds 1.1 (2011)

Scorpion Prize 17 / Ron Silliman

A few days ago Ron Silliman commented on English-language haiku and minimalist poetry on his blog, and so I thought it would be good timing to share the Scorpion Prize he wrote here, wherein he selected and commented on his favorite ku from issue 9.2 (May 2009) of R’r. As always, chime in on his selections and comments if ye like.

Here’s what Ron had to say:

The first time I read through the ku section of May’s Roadrunner, I realized just how foolish I had been in offering to judge the Scorpion Prize from among its contributions. There were at least a half dozen works that stood out for me from a very strong collection overall. My immediate thought was that whomever I designate, I will surely be guilty of an injustice to several others. Rereading the selection several times – mostly with the names “turned off” (tho I know none of the contributors personally) – did not change this initial sensation of guilt, but I did gradually keep returning to two works that lasted with me long after I had stopped reading. Both are thoroughly worthy of the Scorpion Prize & therefore they must share it. The first of these poems is Lorin Ford’s 

which jolted me both for its perceptual accuracy & its originality. It reverses our expectations of “nature poetry” in a way that is entirely true to the greater tradition. The second, Doug Kutney’s 

does much the same thing, albeit with a somewhat more subtle & ironic slant to it. Once you have read either of these poems, they are impossible to let go of. You start seeing the world through their almost shared lenses.

Having said this I also want to acknowledge the poems by Paul Pfleuger, Jr., all of which are quite good, as well as the Latin-flavored trio by Michael McClintock & especially the humor in Michael Dylan Welch’s fourth “neon buddha” poem – the one laugh-out-loud moment in the entire selection. All of these writers make me want to read more. 

& here’s another look at those ku mentioned at the end of his piece:

Ron Silliman on Haiku 21, Jim Kacian & john martone

::::

Ron Silliman wrote a post on English-language haiku and minimalist poetry yesterday (May 14, 2012), focusing on Haiku 21 (edited by Lee Gurga & myself), Jim Kacian’s long after, & john martone’s ksana collection.

Comments? Reactions? Thoughts?

::::

Castor & Pollux by Chris Gordon (mixed media, 2010)