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Submitted on
October 6, 2009
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20 (who?)

cloudless noon we debate the gender of God


autumn moon
alone in the field
prize pumpkin


AM jazz
the phone line rocking
with crows


countless stars
the beggar jangles
his change cup


city sunrise
the cubicle office


work day over
the scarecrow's shirt


leaf clutter at his gravestone things I never said


indian summer-
the teenager paints
a swastika


miles from home
news of her cancer
in stage 2


gusty noon
the bike race slower


leaving the canoe
five immigrants


world hunger report
I turn the potatoes
a second time


city dusk now and then a starling


fading rain...
my grandmother finds
another ache


October dusk
the groundskeeper steps
between graves


holiday rush
the Jack O' lantern carved
with an overbite


war memorial
at the general's feet
a beer can


hunter's moon
the widow circles
a singles ad


returning home...
the trashcan glowing
with frost


autumn heat-
the evangelist returns
with a pie

This will be a twenty day series of haiku and senryu poetry exploring the theory of "the Four Shades." This idea, proposed by Dick Whyte ~SOLARTS and myself deals with the boundaries existing between haiku and senryu and the manner in which those boundaries can be manipulated to create more resonance within a poem. This idea will be discussed further in our coming text "Sakura: A Study of Haiku, Tanka, Senryu." :heart:

Indian summer- another term for early autumn or unseasonal spikes in heat. :heart:

12- Previously published in Haiku News, the web-zine founded by ~SOLARTS and myself.
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zenatz19 Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2010
1. I really like how you used the word "cloudless" here; you could've just said "clear" or something but the use of "cloudless" instantly creates somewhat of a tempestuous mood, simply because the word "cloud" is present. Gives more meaning and insight into the nature of the ongoing debate...

2. A salient, distinguished image-- I can clearly imagine this milieu. I also like to think that the autumn moon is the prize pumpkin...because when I think of the phrase "autumn moon," I get the image of an orange moon during a lunar eclipse, just based primarily on the colors I associate with autumn.

3. Lots of sounds in this one; I like how everything, when considered individually, suggests being woken up. Waking up to the radio playing jazz, waking up to the phone ringing, waking up to the sound of crows squawking. I also get the image of musical notation with the second and third lines-- the phone line representing the staff, and the crows being the notes. Which is really cool, since given the mention of jazz in the first line, the crows' movement and black forms essentially recreate the jazz sheet music...

4. Really lovely and stirring... you've written it in such a way that the reader (or at least, me) is struck with a wish that some of those stars from the panoptic sky would fall down into his tiny cup.

5. I love the contrast in images here. A city sunrise is something expansive and encompassing, whereas the following two lines suggest smallness with the words "cubicle" and "lamp-lit" -- which are both entities that are contained and limiting. There's quite a lot of warmth and light conveyed in this poem, but it makes me a little sad because I just keep thinking about someone working alone in that cubicle throughout the whole night. And how they are probably unable to see the natural beauty of the sunrise once morning arrives, because he/she is confined to the artificial light of the lamp.

6. I really like this one; I've always associated scarecrows with being tired, dry, and worn-out because of their appearance and what they're made from... Qualities that go nicely with the idea of their tiresome work day, and the possibility that perhaps they'll be able to relax now that the day is over. This has a unique magic about it...

7. Just incredibly moving; resonating with truth and a strange kind of fragility...

8. Another awesome poem...earthy and languid; the color red conveyed throughout... And of course, the double meaning with the words "indian" and "swastika" is brilliant.

9. Alien and distant... like, the notion of being miles away from home, and "news" being cold and indifferent information, and cancer intrinsically being a foreign thing in the human body.

10. The speed of the wind contrasting with the speed of the bikes...such an inverse relationship-- when one increases, the other one decreases. I like how it's at noon-- the time when both hands on the clock point upwards.

11. A striking, relevant image... what makes this scenario even more urgent is the knowledge that in general, five people is a very large number of people to fit into a single canoe.

12. Very powerful, as usual. I think it is interesting and very appropriate that the food in this poem is potatoes, because I associate potatoes with the Irish potato famine... and the consequent widespread starvation.

13. Deeply beautiful... I like how the darkness-- the weight of the night-- is descending, but there is still the lightness and spontaneous movement of the starling; that's a lovely, subtle contrast...

14. So poignant and atmospheric. I love rain so much, so the sound of fading rain radiates a certain sadness for me. It is not surprising that awareness increases (i.e. aches become more acute and noticeable) when silence starts to pervade...

15. The color that immediately flashes into my mind when I read this is grey. There is an air of cautiousness, as if the groundskeeper is pointedly being careful about where he's stepping, out of respect or perhaps superstition...

16. This is a really endearing image! As if imperfections are created when people are hurried in their work... It reminds me of some dialogue from the film Dil Se when the protagonist is describing the girl he loves-- "Dark black hair, but little eyes. High cheekbones. A flat if somebody had pasted it on in a rush."

17. Makes me question the respect given to such memorials, and I don't know why, but it also makes me question the sobriety of the general back then! For some absurd reason, I suspect that the general was a drinker back in the day...

18. I love that the widow is circling the ad, like the way eagles circle over their prey...and what's really cool is that the whole situation only becomes evident with the last line-- up until then, the reader is likely to think that the widow is actually hunting.

19. This is actually such a beautiful image. The passage of time elucidated by the tiny detail of frost on the trashcan. Also the idea that the trashcan is "glowing" -- sort of like a light (albeit a cold one) to welcome you back home.

20. I really like the way you separated the second and third lines here. It places more significance on the pie's role. Like the autumn heat is suggestive of an argument, and the pie acts as the subsequent appeasement. Especially since you used the word "returns" instead of something like "arrives"...

Laurence55 Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2010
Hey Natalie,

These are phenomenal comments. I like that you always take time to address both the structure and multiplicities of any haiku (or tanka) that you read. As a poet, this is a tremendous gift. Most people don't read things nearly deep enough.

1. I'm glad you liked this piece. I was experimenting with a few new ideas in haiku and wanted to sketch them out here. Unfortunately, this poem led Dick and I into a nasty debate with an amateur haiku (though he didn't actually WRITE haiku) poet here. That is why you see so many hidden comments in this thread.

2. Thanks, I was working with floating lines in this piece.

3. I'm really glad you liked this one! The reading you've given here is just outstanding. To be honest, this is one of my personal favorites and one that I use when introducing haiku to new audiences. This was a very spontaneous piece, which are usually the "gold" for haiku poets. Your reading of structure here is fantastic by the way, particularly the idea of birds being seen as notes. Its a very layered thought because the birds are becoming what it is they create. I like that unfolding.

4. Yeah, this is one of Dick's favorites. Beggars seem to find their way into a few of my poems. Its important to have an "all is one" idea in haiku, become the subject rather than just write about it.

5. Lovely reading here. This poem isn't one of my favorites, I feel that it came too "roughly." Oh well, just a reminder for more study, more refinement.

6. Thanks! This is another that wrote itself. Lately, I've been looking to get as far away from the "poetic" as possible. Through complete simplicity, we discover the poetic.

7. I was working alot with single unit poems during this time. There is a different sensation when reading one unit haiku. Haiku poet Richard Gilbert has written alot about this.

8. Very seem to see exactly what I was seeing here.

9. Excellent reading. I'm not really satisfied with this one, but your reading really illuminates the poem.

10. Very nice, your reading here sounds like an interpretation of the Tao. I hadn't considered the opposing energies here.

11. Unfortunately, this issue seems to be at the root of our current political squabbles. Its something I saw alot as a kid in Miami.

12. Ah, this is another poem that has done pretty well in the Haiku News community. I am happy with it, particularly the juxtaposition. Like you, I associate potatoes with famine.

13. It was a peaceful night on the outskirts of Atlanta!

14. Thank you Natalie. I too love rain, but I never sleep well when its raining for some reason. I enjoy listening to it as I read though, or just sit on the bed.

15. Thank you! Yeah, this poem came as I was watching a funeral procession enter the mountain cemetery. This poem is also an example of the concept Dick and I have been developing, the theory of the Four Shades.

16. Ah, great reading! This was a fun poem to write!

17. These memorials are all over Kennesaw Mountain. They even act out the Civil War every spring!

18. You and I are thinking the same thing. I wanted to work a bit with pillow words here. This poem was published later in Prune Juice. Its one of my favorite senryu.

19. Thank you Natalie! When I wrote this, I had been thinking alot of an earlier haiku by Richard Wright, one of the first well known black haiku poets. This poem is kind of a homage to his work. I'm not a big fan of his structural techniques, but his ability to capture images with pathos was amazing.

20. Its funny, I actually hate this poem! It falls flat for me. Your reading is stellar as always though. I don't think this poem deserves it.
zenatz19 Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2010
It really is an honor to be able to read your writing here, and it truly is shameful that I faved this last October and finally commented on it almost a year later! You write so beautifully, and it is the ostensible simplicity of your language that I adore so much.

3. When I read that sentence of yours-- "the birds are becoming what it is they create," it occurred to me that you were referring to the birds actually creating/being the morning jazz music? The sounds they make ARE the jazz referenced in the poem? Whereas my initial thought was that the birds are becoming what they hear-- the birds are listening to actual jazz music (playing in someone's home, for example) and thus emulating it. It was really cool learning of the former interpretation just now; made me love this poem even more...

11. Yeah, I know... Did I tell you that I'm considering minoring in Asian American studies? I took an Asian Immigration course last winter and at the end of it we were discussing comprehensive immigration reform, which made me realize that it's something I'm really interested in. So if math doesn't work out for me, I could always work for the ICIRR in Chicago! :lol:

14. Really? I actually sleep the best when it's raining. The sound of the rain beating down on the roof gives me something to subconsciously focus on as I try to go to sleep.

15. You know, I often wonder where specifically you derive your inspiration from for many of your poems, so it's really cool knowing a little of the story behind them, like for this one. :hug: Also, Kennesaw Mountain really seems to be the perfect place for a poet to be! Mountain cemetery, Civil War reenactments...!!

20. LOL you hate this poem? :glomp: I would've never guessed that.
Laurence55 Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2010
Don't worry, there isn't a time limit on good comments :heart: I appreciate that you take the time to read and consider my work.

3. This is why I love haiku! So many unique unfoldings. You've revealed another dimension of the poem here. Very nice...

11. I remember you mentioning that you were interested in Asian American studies. I think you would do fine in any profession dealing with human rights. You have a deep sense of compassion and idealism that comes through both in your art and your everyday being. You should think about it. :heart:
zenatz19 Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2010
:smooch: I really have to go talk to my adviser soon because other than majoring in math, I have no idea what exactly I want to do with my life. :laughing: I want a profession that combines math, art, music, astronomy, and immigration... LOL, is such a career possible?
Laurence55 Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2010
Anything you set your sight on is possible :heart: :floating:
zenatz19 Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2010
kit-su-ne Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I like the first one a lot, but then I only read poetry for fun so I dun think I can make any intelligent comments on ur stuff :P I like the simplicity and image of each.
Laurence55 Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2010
Reading for fun is just as valid a reason as any intellectual one :heart: Thank you for your kind words!
mooshu17 Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
I like them all but I especially like 7, 12, 15, and 20, especially 20 because it gives me the greatest mental image of a Jehovah's witness on his bike balancing a pie. As you can see I'm finally getting around to going through all my deviations :)
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