Heartfelt Thanks to all of the visitors who have found their way to the site, and to all my teachers(all of you), those who supported my efforts, and the many who allowed their work to be displayed here, and of course, my wife Paula for reminding me what time it was in the wee hours of the morning.

A letter to the Shiki List

Is it Haiku?


Jane Reichold

This letter was written by Jane during one of the frequent discussions on the Shiki Haiku List as to the nature of haiku. I am including it on these pages because, as I told Jane when I asked to use it here, I read it often when I am in need of a gentle reminder to stay on the right path, or to center my own thoughts when some of the discourses get a little heavy handed.

              The points brought up in these previous messages are valid and very interesting. I believe it shows how meaningful haiku can be when we remove a few pickets from the *fence*. I am bothered by the several times it is asked, "Is this a haiku?" I think the better question is, "Do I want to accept this poem as an example of haiku for myself?" With this way of stating the question, perhaps one can avoid painful discourses. I am totally for discussion, but when anyone assumes the authority to say "what haiku is(or isn't)", I feel the discussion has ended and turned into something quite different. The necessity of our asking ourselves this question becomes weightier when we each realize that we are responsible for what haiku IS; and what it is becoming. By our writing, we are defining the form. By our changes in the form it is being changed. If the style of current haiku seems to be going in a direction which is not compatible with yours,then you have an even greater *load* of responsibility to make sure people see the finest work you can do in your style. Surely someone will be inspired to work harder with the same rules you have taken up for yourself. In regard to Laura's question, "Does anybody out there know anything about this linked form, or is it just a twist on the traditional renga?". I was in correspondence with both authors (Christopher Herold and Maggie Chula) and this renga, (as it seemed to me from their words), was an experiment -- a sort of listening to themselves. It is obvious that they both knew renga from participating and also knew the koan method of teaching Zen, which surely *gave them the freedom* to use questions. Using questions is a poetry technique older than written history. Probably the very early *poems* were teaching devices in which a question was posed and then an answer given (like riddles which koans are the farthest extension). In fact the *magic* that happens between a 'question' and an 'answer' is the very stuff we aim for in haiku, (and tanka and renga) -- that connectedness which can only be followed by a leap. Thanks for reading this. Blessed be. \o/ Jane

Haiku Poets Hut Entrance

Basho Interpretations, Photo Haiku Illustrated Haiku & Haiku by Contemporary Poets


AHA! Poetry Jane's e-mail pob 1250 Gualala, CA 95445 USA Fax: 707 884-1853