Friday, June 30, 2017

Revisiting Up the Mtn #188, page 42

      In this poem I contrast the natural Ukiyo I perceived while observing the ash flakes descending during a forest fire, with the more traditional Ukiyo/floating world of Japan’s Edo Period. Also, coincidentally Ukiyo or "floating world" in Japanese acts as a homophone to sorrowful world, which is what it simultaneously felt like when I was beset by ash flakes. Those ash flakes at first disoriented me, because for a split second I thought I was seeing and experiencing snow, in the middle of a forest fire. 
     

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Unifying intersectional discord within English Haiku Idioms (Part 3)

Distinguishing Haiku from Senryu  

I would suggest there is an insidious and subtle reason for the distortion in the artistic authenticity 

and natural aesthetic quality of haiku. This distortion is being intensified today, and is the result of 

humanities modern and technological progression apart from nature.  

Traditional or classical Haiku is distorted when its confused with senryu. Often even well 

intentioned poets, critics, publishers, and the media erroneously identify senryu as haiku. This is how 

haiku's unique natural aesthetic is re-appropriated, and in a sense is gentrified by the A-W World.

Senryu that reference nature with human or manmade themes at the forefront, themes 

which are not created or included as saijiki simply do not qualify as traditional/classical haiku. What is 

saijiki? Saijiki is a list of kidai/seasonal topics, and kigo/seasonal words. Several regions, countries, and 

organizations around the world have even created their own culturally and geographically specific saijiki. 

These saijiki are usually derived from or are seasonally aligned with T-C (traditional-classical) Japanese 

Saijiki.  On the other hand there is nothing wrong with non-traditional haiku that does not derive its kigo 

from saijiki. Still there is a distinct difference between traditional/classical haiku, non-traditional haiku, 

and senryu.

Again when writing traditional/classical haiku kidai/kigo are applied to the appropriate season or 

seasons one is writing of. Japan's traditional/classical perception and categorization of seasons into a book 

of saijiki differs from our A-W concept of seasons. This difference is where cultural, ethnic, and racial 

misconceptions of how we perceive nature begins. It is our failure as haijin, to clearly define what is and 

isn't haiku, that contributes to the publics misconception, and ennui in regards to how haiku is defined. 

This has created a haiku identity crisis in the A-W world, since it isn’t being definitively self defined in 

A-W terms. So the A-W world treats T-C Haiku as a divergent literary art form. An art form which 

acquires limited tangible or artistic value in A-W society. This is where, how, and why ehi like haiku 

struggle in A-W society. It is also part of why senryu is beginning to thrive, often under a guise that is 

indistinguishable from  haiku. 

The primary distinction between senryu and T-C Haiku can be discerned in how 

haiku references nature as defined by kigo/kidai drawn from saijiki as its primary subject. So what does it 

mean to have nature as the primary subject of a haiku? Well when writing traditional haiku nature is 

defined as anything that is identifiable or listed as kigo/kidai. Saijiki do include some references to 

humanity or manmade objects. Again this is where confusion can creep in. Since saijiki include 

references to humanity and manmade objects, this does not give us free reign to begin speaking of 

manmade issues (as the primary subject of a haiku) if they are not included in saijiki. Although if we take 

the time to create our own saijiki, and document manmade issues under a specific season then the poem 

can be called T-C Haiku. Writing haiku derived from a list of saijiki or kigo/kidai can simultaneously limit 

and expand the subject matter available to a haiku poet. kigo/kidai allow us to indirectly speak of nature 

without necessarily directly referencing nature, its plants, animals, etc; to do so we have to use seasonal 

references/kigo or topics/kidai when speaking of humanity or manmade objects. 

Still when writing haiku outside of the geographic area of Japan I believe we have to improvise if 

you will. If you are going to improvise then I think the kigo or kidai you use must reference nature from 

the locale you are writing of. It is also perfectly acceptable to create your own book of saijiki for your 

own geography, culture, ethnicity, etc as well. Again I want to reiterate there is nothing wrong with 

writing senryu, or non-traditional haiku not derived from saijiki. I’m just trying to create a clear 


framework for future distinctions between them. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Unifying intersectional discord within English Haiku Idioms (part 2)

The systematic cultural reappropriation & suppression of people’s collective notions of self, nature, & haiku 

Haiku, it's "a cicada shell of its former incarnation, verging on extinction in the area of 

world credibility as a serious literary genre". (Robert D. Wilson's online essay "The Colonization 

of Japanese Haiku" on the Simply Haiku Journal website).

So why are English Haiku Idioms (ehi) and more specifically hokku/haiku in particular suffering 

from literary gentrification, while teetering on the verge of extinction? Well some publishers, scholars, 

critics, poets, and Mr. Wilson suggest it's due to "the effects and depth of the colonization of the Japanese 

language and cultural memory via its adoption of the German-based university system; a colonization that 

would, in time, water down the depth and aesthetic integrity of hokku". (Donald Keene, "Dawn in the 

West").

“Gandhi understood this ... the systematic and complete elimination or suppression of the native 

... language ... of one people by another. Even though the people in question might be given material 

benefits through education ... if there is systematic destruction of their ... relationship with nature. 

Stripping people of their collective notion of self is a prelude to ... the process of colonization ... 

(which) goes on today under the name of 'development' wherein success is measured by the criteria of 

Westernization. ... Gandhi fought against this form of colonization as much as against its material and 

political manifestations … Although he was not against Christianity.” (Excerpt From: Malhotra, Rajiv. 

“Being Different.”iBooks.)

Of course neither Gandhi nor Malhotra were referencing Japanese Poetry, still their thoughts in 

regards to colonization and its effects on native languages and material benefits via western education, 

and our relationship to nature are all relevant to this discussion. Gandhi and Malhotra did so not in 

opposition to Abrahamic religions, but as a part of an effort to constructively critique them, alongside 

their own Dharmic belief systems. They did so in large part to prompt discussions with other interested 

parties. I am using their words to do much the same with haiku. In doing so I'm not suggesting that Japan 

has had its language eliminated; still it's hard to deny it hasn't been suppressed (and somewhat gentrified) 

in regards to its adaptation in the literate Western World. 

Much like Chinese Characters this suppression is most evident in regards to the decline of young 

Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans ability to remember the stroke order of their character based writing 

systems. These systematic collateral casualties of the A-W world occur as advancements in smartphone 

technology erodes and suppresses as Gandhi put it "peoples collective notion of self, their ethnic and 

cultural identity". Yes I am aware you can input characters with keystrokes, and even awkwardly do so 

with finger strokes. Still this process of gentrified finger stroking is prohibitively cumbersome, and 

restricts the ease of use that so personifies the smartphone experience for native english users. Thus 

instead of going thru numerous impedimentary steps to finger stroke in their characters in the correct 

order, most give in to convenience and dictate or type in their characters. This subtle, seemingly 

inconsequential change in behavior, inputting characters via a keyboard or vocally, rather than finger 

stroking characters into a text is an example of what Rajiv Malhotra was referring to when he stated 

"Cultural appropriation gives a false impression of equalization. (Excerpt From: Malhotra, Rajiv. Being 

Different.iBooks.). This cultural appropriation is also evident in how english mukigo/senryu is 

becoming indistinguishable from kigo/haiku.

This is also an example of how Chinese, Japanese, and Korean peoples receive "material benefit"

 via the "suppression of their native language" (Gandhi). Take this logic a step further and it becomes 

intersectionally apparent that the smartphone maker Samsung might be characterized as having been 

gentrified and or self colonized too. I would suggest that Samsung has been gentrified and or self 

colonized in regards to how it’s been assimilated into the global financial market (developmental 

success). As a result Samsung financially thrives (material gain), in exchange for contributing to the 

intersectional suppression of their native language(Korean/Hangul). This intersectional suppression of 

one of their "native language" becomes deceptively apparent, in regards to how Samsung coerces it's 

native smartphone users to suppress their culturally unique way of stroke ordered character driven 

writing, in lieu of the A-W's Android/iPhone keyboard driven writing model.

It may not seem that the suppression of this culturally unique native language on smartphones 

relates to haiku, but I maintain they correlate intersectionally. They correlate in regards to the systemic 

intersectional suppression of the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Peoples "collective notion of self". This 

notion of self is subtly suppressed when character based writing is culturally appropriated for keyboard 

based writing on smartphones; much the same occurs when mukigo/senryu is appropriated in place of 

kigo/haiku. These forms of A-W reappropriation, and native language suppression intersectionally 

correlate to cause discord; discord in how people culturally identify with their unique collective notion of 

self. This reappropriation and suppression also creates discord for everyone, intellectually and literally. 

Whether or not the A-W world is doing so intentionally is irrelevant to this discussion. The fact that all of 

these issues (colonization, gentrification, the systemic suppression and or reappropriation of native 

language, our collective notions of self, cultural identity, and our relationships with nature) intersect and 

correlate with one another is what needs to be understood by writers and readers alike, in order to rectify 

the discord which has been occurring in regards to haiku today. 

Still the issue of Japan's colonization whether self imposed by itself or externally imposed by the 

A-W world, is only one of the intersecting root causes behind the discord and decline of ehi (sedoka, 

kataota, katauta, renga, choka, wakka, tanka, hokku, haiku, haiga, poekuagery, etc) like haiku. In Wilson's 

essay he briefly touched on the fact that haiku began its decline during the Meiji Era, prior to the arrival 


of the black ships. In this essay Ill take this hypothesis several steps further.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Unifying intersectional discord within english haiku idioms #1

Unifying intersectional discord within english haiku idioms

How we conceptualize the world dictates how we contextualize nature, our past, our present, and our future. Just as our literary frame of 

reference conceptually, dictates how we contextualize English haiku idioms (ehi). We will most likely never come to a uniform consensus as to 

what defines haiku, although we can become unified in acknowledging some of its key components like kigo and kireji. These key components can 

act as the common threads that unify and personify haiku, all without dictating a uniform definition of haiku.         

             I've written this essay in response to Mr. Wilson's essay "The Colonization of Japanese Haiku" (simply haiku journal.com) My purpose in 

doing so is to engage the haiku community worldwide in a discussion. A discussion that speaks to haiku's past, present, and future. A discussion that 

focuses in on some of the intersecting issues brought forth in Mr. Wilson's essay. These intersectional issues are presently hampering haiku. I will 

put forth solutions that might contribute to rectifying these issues. I will also speak to what has caused the decline in the quality and misconception 

of what defines Traditional-Classical (T-C) Haiku today. Most significantly, I will speak to what the process of elevating the quality of haiku written 

today might look like.
Non-linear and intersectional issues concerning haiku

I will focus on five of the many issues that I believe are hampering haiku today. The first issue is one also addressed in Mr. Wilson's essay. 

This issue is the colonization which enables the Anglo-West’s (A-W) titular reappropriation of haiku, which has somewhat gentrified haiku as an art 

form. The second issue is our dysfunctional and or maladaptive perception of nature. The third issue is the inability of many to differentiate senryu 

from haiku. The fourth and key issue stems from our sociocultural discomfort in acknowledging the essential role kigo plays in defining nature in 

traditional haiku. Accepting, acknowledging, and literally coexisting with, rather than merely tolerating the essence of haiku goes beyond the three 

F's of western sociocultural studies, folklore, food, & fashion. The fifth and final issue pertains to the sub vocal reading of haiku, at least initially.
I believe Mr. Wilson's essay conveys a well thought out overview of how and why haiku has been declining since the Meiji Era. I concur 

entirely with the factors and issues Mr Wilson put forth in regards to haiku's decline. His work prompted me to delve deeper into these 

intersectional issues.

Revisiting page 38 of "Up the Mtn" #190



        Writing this haiku was definitely inspired by Basho’s many stays in what I call his hermit huts, like his famous Banana Tree hut. At the time I was living in a hut of my own, and imagined Basho had to deal with many of the same things I had to. Mice scurrying on my roof, getting into my hovel and eating my food. Or at least at one or two in the morning I hoped it was only mice. I lived there in the woods of a National Park for three years, on and off, for weeks and months at a time. 
At other times the trees swayed with the wind at night. I had to wonder why some of the random falling of trees in the wind hadn’t yet fell my 10’ x 20’ hut. While on other days i was stuck in my hovel. Melting snow for water and gathering and chopping wood to heat and heat food off my wood stove. 
Stranded in the silence of falling snow. Snow that periodically fell in downpours off weighted branches. Always bright, even at night, with the moonlight illuminating the air as moonbeams reflected off the fallen white, the snow. It was a magical time, an inspiring and humbling time. Since the hike out to the road was some 4 hours from my hermit hovel, Up the Mtn. The snow was deep and the temperature cold. The hike had to be timed to reach a Ranger Station where i could catch a bus back into town. If I didn’t time my hike right I could be stuck overnight at the station, till the next morning. It was an exhilarating, precarious, and sometimes worrisome situation. One I’ve never regretted having been through. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Revisiting page 26 of "Up the Mtn"


        To me the three poems on this page (Up the Mtn 24, 25, & 27) consists of a very long tanka, bookended by two long haiku, all of which speak of endings, death, and rebirth. These are much longer in syllable count, and even longer in mora. They harken back to the more rudimentary style of haiku first introduced in the West. Could, would, should they truly be considered haiku and tanka by today's standard, I think probably not by most critics and haijin, and haiku readers today. Still they work for me, speak to me. 
#24 bulging to splatter, #25 life closing in, & #27 fleeting amber, but wait they glow. The glowing for me is what bring them all full circle from splattering, closing in, and fleeting. Then on the same line where life, our fire begins it's fleeting, we, it, begin to glow. As if life has begun to once again returns, coming to life and glowing growing with life. Still will this glowing life be momentary or more of a long winded firestorm? Who knows? Rather then speak as if I know I just speak of observing the moments, the transitions from life to death to life again.




Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Revisiting "Up the Mtn" #176, page 38



Every word in this haiga's poem is a seasonal word/kigo to some degree.

greenery
(The poems most traditional seasonal reference to the greenery of summertime)

summertime foliage
(Summertime, well it speaks for itself. Meanwhile we regress in part into autumn, yet because summertime precedes the word foliage, it makes foliage a seasonal reference that is relative to the seasonal word before it. Thus foliage, a fall kigo in this particular context it acts as a summer kigo instead. Now you could debate does that mean summer is ending, well some might interpret that way. I interpret it as summer being in it's prime, blooming just before it will begin falling of, into autumn/fall.)

blooming
(Well this last verse, this last line, this last word, again returns us full circle back to the concreteness of the first verse, and beyond the less ambiguous seasonal references in the second verse. Now with only two syllables we experience summer in full bloom, blooming)

I felt this haiga's image and poem complemented one another well. They complement one another both literally in regards to the first line and the image, while the second and third verses do so figuratively, with a little more ambiguity. 
Also notice the summertime foliage could also be interpreted as the fallen trunk and tree stump surrounded by the green ferns.
In regards to the photographic technique behind the creation of this haiga's imagery,
the center of the image, is where it's highlights are blown-out. As your eyes move away from the center you see the Ansel Adams Zones of lightness begin to dissipate. From almost complete blown out whiteness, to almost complete blackness on most of the edges of the haiga's image. Referencing Ansel Adams Zone System, the center of the image would be the lightest zone, while traveling towards the edges of the image lightness subtly gives way to darkness as the image transitions through all of Ansel''s Photographic Zones.
From a more personal stand point I employed two of my favorite techniques. One, I create softness in the my landscape image. I prefer to forego the usual tack sharpness of today's commercial and landscape photographs in the creation of my haiga imagery. 
Second, I also prefer to forego today's trend in popular, commercial, journalistic, and much fine art photography and create images that are under exposed (3/4-2 full stops). I prefer imagery that is under exposed enough to prompt my audience to pause a moment to readjust-refocus their eyes to take in what they are seeing. These two techniques I employ are my way of communicating ambiguity in the haiga imagery I create.

So, what do you think?




Monday, June 12, 2017

Unifying intersectional discord within English Haiku Idioms (part 1)

Unifying intersectional discord within english haiku idioms

How we conceptualize the world dictates how we contextualize nature, our past, our present, and our future. Just as our literary frame of 

reference conceptually, dictates how we contextualize English haiku idioms (ehi). We will most likely never come to a uniform consensus as to 

what defines haiku, although we can become unified in acknowledging some of its key components like kigo and kireji. These key components can 

act as the common threads that unify and personify haiku, all without dictating a uniform definition of haiku.         

             I've written this essay in response to Mr. Wilson's essay "The Colonization of Japanese Haiku" (simply haiku journal.com) My purpose in 

doing so is to engage the haiku community worldwide in a discussion. A discussion that speaks to haiku's past, present, and future. A discussion that 

focuses in on some of the intersecting issues brought forth in Mr. Wilson's essay. These intersectional issues are presently hampering haiku. I will 

put forth solutions that might contribute to rectifying these issues. I will also speak to what has caused the decline in the quality and misconception 

of what defines Traditional-Classical (T-C) Haiku today. Most significantly, I will speak to what the process of elevating the quality of haiku written 

today might look like.
Non-linear and intersectional issues concerning haiku

I will focus on five of the many issues that I believe are hampering haiku today. The first issue is one also addressed in Mr. Wilson's essay. 

This issue is the colonization which enables the Anglo-West’s (A-W) titular reappropriation of haiku, which has somewhat gentrified haiku as an art 

form. The second issue is our dysfunctional and or maladaptive perception of nature. The third issue is the inability of many to differentiate senryu 

from haiku. The fourth and key issue stems from our sociocultural discomfort in acknowledging the essential role kigo plays in defining nature in 

traditional haiku. Accepting, acknowledging, and literally coexisting with, rather than merely tolerating the essence of haiku goes beyond the three 

F's of western sociocultural studies, folklore, food, & fashion. The fifth and final issue pertains to the sub vocal reading of haiku, at least initially.
I believe Mr. Wilson's essay conveys a well thought out overview of how and why haiku has been declining since the Meiji Era. I concur 

entirely with the factors and issues Mr Wilson put forth in regards to haiku's decline. His work prompted me to delve deeper into these 

intersectional issues.