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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

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Julie

Oh does that not describe the idiocy of haiku in English!

I hate haiku. It's one of my pet peeves that all school kids are taught haiku as a primary poetic form, as though schoolkids are too stupid to write poetry that was designed for ENGLISH!

Bwahahahahaha! Great one.

Julie~~who is still recovering from being undressed and split open by the Boss... what a night.

Caryn

Love it! I, for one, love haiku in English (the only language in which I've read haiku!). I need help writing poetry, so I like having guidelines like 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables. Haiku, schmaiku, I guess it could be called anything. I think it's sort of a little game for me. How can I manipulate and contort what I want to say into 5 syllables, then 7, then 5. Or maybe a different number if I'm not being so rigid? Here are a couple of my faves about one of most beloved creatures, the cat (from this site, http://agora.rdrop.com/users/tierna/haiku.html):

You must scratch me there!
Yes, above my tail! Behold,
elevator butt.

Terrible battle.
I fought for hours. Come and see!
What's a 'term paper'?

Kitty likes plastic
Confuses for litter box
Don't leave tarp around


Scott

So it seems I’ve struck a bit o’ a nerve. I’ve gotten comments, both on the blog and off, about haiku. Some folks despise the form and are glad that I’ve given it a bit of a poke in the eye. Some folks love it and are surprised that I’d attack such an ancient and revered form.

I neither hate nor love haiku, any more than I hate or love sonnets. I simply thought the haiku written by the professor’s daughter was brilliant. Had someone written a sonnet savaging the sonnet form and done so magnificently, I might have posted that too (although the odds that I could correctly remember a sonnet a week after looking at it on a door for fifteen seconds are pretty long indeed).

We learned haiku in sixth grade. In honor English in ninth grade we were given the assignment of writing limericks. That’s right. But the cool thing was that we were to make them as off-color and ribald as possible without every actually using any dirty words—it was a Catholic high school, after all. (Although I think the brilliant teacher may have been Jewish, now that I think of it.) Elise wrote an amazing one. I don’t recall the first four lines—hey, it’s been a while, you know?—but the last line was "And that’s why it’s called Gay Paree." As you might imagine, that one blew our young minds, especially when our teacher spit his coffee out as Elise read it aloud. I think she got the only A in the class.

Here are some more haiku (haikus? haiki?) I enjoy. Several of the canine ones border on the cloying but most avoid that fate, in my opinion. The jazz musician haiku, on the other hand, are pretty much uniformly wonderful, as well as disturbingly accurate.

DOGS
I love my master;
Thus I perfume myself with
This long-rotten squirrel.

I lie belly-up
In the sunshine, happier than
You ever will be

Today I sniffed
Many dog butts - I celebrate
By kissing your face.

I sound the alarm!
Paperboy - come to kill us all -
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

I sound the alarm!
Mailman Fiend - come to kill us all -
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

I sound the alarm!
Meter reader - come to kill all -
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

I sound the alarm!
Garbage man - come to kill all -
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

I sound the alarm!
Neighbor's cat - come to kill all!
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

I lift my leg and
Wiz on each bush. Hello, Spot -
Sniff this and weep.

How do I love thee?
The ways are numberless as
My hairs on the rug.

My human is home!
I am so ecstatic
I have made a puddle.

I hate my choke chain -
Look, world, they strangle me! Ack
Ack Ack Ack Ack Ack!

Sleeping here, my chin
On your foot - no greater bliss - well,
Maybe chasing cats.

Look in my eyes and
Deny it. No human could
Love you as much I do.

Dig under fence - why?
Because it's there. Because it's
There. Because it's there.

I am your best friend,
Now, always, and especially
When you are eating.

You may call them fleas,
But they are far more - I call
Them a vocation.

My owners' mood is
Romantic - I lie near their
Feet. I blow a big one.

JAZZ
Say, do you guys know
"Wedding Song" by Kenny G?
Buy the damn record

Riffing on "Rudolph"
Musicians in red and green
Learn humility

Solo pianist
Freed from all constraints of form
Heedlessly mangles

Jazz nymphs crowd bandstand
Offering carnal delights
My alarm clock rings

Double-timing bone
Sounds like somebody chewing
On a rubber band

Forty-two straight gigs
With no requests for "Take Five"
Time to call Guinness

Free jazz temptation
Strikes during the bride's first dance
What Would Wynton Do?

That plate of hors d'oeuvres
Cost more than we're getting paid
Think we underbid?

Rock drummer, lounge keys
Classically trained singer
Welcome to sub hell

God bless trust fund gigs
Only have to eat ramen
For a few more weeks

My drummer helped me
Count the syllables
in this Haiku

Tom Heilman

Julie writes:

Oh does that not describe the idiocy of haiku in English!

I hate haiku. It's one of my pet peeves that all school kids are taught haiku as a primary poetic form, as though schoolkids are too stupid to write poetry that was designed for ENGLISH!

Bwahahahahaha! Great one.<<<<

I've been teaching English in grades 6-12 for the last twenty-three years and have never asked my students to write a single haiku. I have also not discussed haiku as a primary poetic form. It seems your peeve needs adjusting.
In addition, I cannot imagine any teacher in any public or private school thinking his or her students are stupid in any manner. I surely have not met any who do.

Tom Heilman

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