something unexpected

“. . . I am inclined to think that short poems, even short poems with a seasonal reference and a 5-7-5 syllabic structure, written in English can’t be, strictly speaking, haiku. Or to say it another way, the haiku is still acclimatizing itself, in this country, to the cultures of American poetry. . . .  I expect something unexpected will eventually evolve from our admiration for and attempts to translate the practice of the short Japanese poem.”

                                       —Robert Hass (from R’r 7.4, November 2004)


home on the range

“In so much of poetry and thinking about poetry right now, there is a good deal of appropriate skepticism about the assumptions behind realism as a literary mode and therefore about the whole question of what we do when we think to represent nature. It might be useful to let this tradition—and the range of anti-realist practices, from surrealism to language poetics—enter the practice of haiku, if only to take away the sort of easy wow! poem that tends to be the first stage of our attempts to appropriate the form.”

                                        —Robert Hass (from R’r 7.4, November 2004)