Footnote: On Writing Haiku Or Tanka, 1

Part of using an

ancient form is to respect

its traditions:  the

format's lineation and

its syllabification.


Kyakuchuu


aka


Starward


Author's Notes/Comments: 

Part of poetic skill is to comply with a form's rules---like sonnets, or villanelles, ot haiku and tanka.  Less than full compliance is less than authentic; if full compliance cannot be achieved, the Poet may need a refreshment of knowledge, or ideas, or of the original draft.  Not all words are going to fit, in chosen combinations, into the lineation and syllabification of those forms:  and poetic skill is required to select such words or phrases that fit, or must be manipulated or adjusted to fit.

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crypticbard's picture

The contention that arises

The contention that arises and also that brings most tension in these adaptations are the occasional dilemma that presents itself in the form of individual languages' differences in structure and employment. Languages don't always behave in the same manner and fashion at all times and when subjecting words and lines to structures that on that specific occasion the adapting grammar and syntax won't allow, then the resulting line proves forced and stilted. So when that happens what is the author to do but go to the heart and purpose of these structures and guides, the intent and soul of the form. Form should be the vehicle, the means of displaying the soul and not the other way around. It took many years to warm to this understanding before I could face and begin to enjoy e.g. haiku that is outside the 5-7-5 format, etc. And in so doing gained a better appreciation and respect for 5-7-5 in English that does conform and exemplify the source genre, in other languages other than the original. But that's probably much said in this space.


here is poetry that doesn't always conform

Starward's picture

Thank you very much.  You

Thank you very much.  You know---I most dearly hope you know---that I have the utmost respect for your poetry, and your comments; and I respect this comment no less.  I think, however, that the respect for the formal rules of certain forms (sonnets, Haiku and Tanka, blank verse as iambic pentameter) is too much ingrained in the very fabric of my soul to become comfortable with variations on those rules.  Some time ago, I read a very intensely moving, unrhymed poem of thirteen lines; and in the notes to the poem, the Poet called it a sonnet (and I cringed).  Formalism was part of my literary upbringing:  such that, immediately after my undergrad years, I found Eliot's free verse (even in the Quartets, and especially in the plays) inferior to Wallace Stevens' more regular iambic pentameter.  Most likely this preference for the formal rules makes me a fossil, but, after all, fossils are sought by collectors and can remind us of the ancient, even mysterious, past.  

   Thank you for the comment; I am always grateful for your words.


Enjoy effulgent days, and exquisite nights,

unto the exultations of Heaven.

Starward

crypticbard's picture

Most kindly so. And that

Most kindly so. And that comment was only to validate both, whereas without what's been referred to as the great heretics (a word I don't particularly rejoice in, mind: heresy) the world would not have evolved or advanced ( another 2 words that have turned into triggers ). And that is the challenge, how to uphold and cherish one without dishonouring or missing out on the possibilities and potential pleasure of the other.  On the street we can witness an anology of this, albeit an insufficient one: automobiles running alongside each other on the same thoroughfare but having left or right hand steering; different bodies with the same engines, and strikingly similar ones with different engines under the bonnet. In saying so, this is to lay it out there without motivation to persuade or dissuade but to acknowledge the variations and the validities of all based on their individual merits and distinctions. Apologies if expression could ruffle feathers, so to speak.  


here is poetry that doesn't always conform

Starward's picture

Thank you, and you need never

Thank you, and you need never apologize to me for any comment; and a Poet of your calibre will never ruffle these feathers.  Your comments have extended my understanding of the issue, and for that I am grateful.


Enjoy effulgent days, and exquisite nights,

unto the exultations of Heaven.

Starward