Japanese Poetry

The term "Japanese poetry" encompasses very wide area and is therefore much more complex than what I’m tryng to present here. Sure enough, some basic knowledge of zen-buddhism is welcome. Not intending to reveal the big picture of it (mr. V. Devide beautifuly rendered this!), I’ll just briefly try to describe the few forms that I took a shot at: haiku/senryu, haiga, haibun

HAIKU/SENRYU [examples]

I guess it’s not necessary to especially introduce haiku, it being probably the best known/widest spread form of the Japanese poetry. Often it is the the first term that comes across our minds when Japanese poetry is mentioned. Formally, the poem is organized in a lyrical text 17 syllables long (17 Japanese syllables! In non-Japanese languages this metrics is not so strict). It is generally split into 3 lines, following the syllable pattern 5-7-5, but it can entirely be composed in a single line!... Poet tries, confined within such narrow boundaries, to invoke a unique moment of experiencing nature, condensing the universe into a particular piece of objectiveness; or he blends with this piece, often perspicuously rendering (adding?) a whole array of associations this scene might provoke! Traditional haiku must also incorporate a word (kigo) denoting the season in wich the scene of the poem takes place. This word is otherwise not obligatory!...

The form of senryu is exactly the same as that of haiku, so it may be difficult to tell between the two at the first sight! Nevertheless, they differ by a fine distinction: haiku is oriented towards the nature and the poet’s direct experience thereof, inclining to objective description & poet’s non-involvement in the scene; on the contrary – senryu deals more intensely with poet’s inner life, subjectively expressing his personal attitude regarding the poem’s theme. Normally, neither haiku nor senryu use the rhyme (although it can occasionally be found)!

Since I’m quite unable to establish a direct contact to nature (III floor w/o elevator), I guess that the majority of my poems should be labeled as senryu, but such classification doesn’t bother me – I see a little farther (or closer – it’s relative!), so I call them both simply – "spiritworks”! ;-} I distinguish only the more personal, LIS-oriented ones (LIS itself is hardly comprehendable, so the spiritworks regarding it look also weird) from the ‘common’ ones!... Because I ran into haiku through writing the first ones (tryng to describe to my fellow-strokees my feelings abt. LIS), I list here some of them as well…

Methinks it shouldn’t be inappropriate to warn here: various short forms of poetry/versification (aphorisms, grafitti, especially mocking short verse-clusters, rhymed or not) frequently, generally because of insufficient info of the stuff but sometimes even with bad intent, get named "haiku" diminishing this way the worthiness of this gentle & noble skill! I call the readers that if they come across such an instance (or find themselves tempted to make one) to keep this reminder in mind and distance themselves from such impetuous putting down!... (Please, do not get me wrong: I’m not against humour!!! Actually, I deploy sarcasm in my spiritworks rather often, although it isn’t typical for haiku! If certain extent of fun is intended – it’s OK, but should the result be named “haiku”, I think it should at least follow conventions!...)


HAIGA [examples]

Simply put, haiga is a combination of a written (preferrably by hand - or forehead, of course!) haiku and a drawing/painting/photo that illustrates it. Something like ”Music by:…, Lyrics by:… “ Usually, this happens to be a single-person-work i.e. the poet himself illustrates his own spiritwork. But the pairwise collaboration is quite common, though! Drawing/painting is difficult for me and results thereof generally don’t match the original idea, but to manipulate (capipulate?) already finished photos – now, this seemed to be doable! Pre-stroke, I was an amateur photographer, even the digital manipulation was no terra incognita for me, since my last job included great deal of it! As I couldn’t handle a camera by myself, I needed a suitable already finished photo. Luckily, a good friend of mine (we took our first photo-steps together, way back in the late ’70.-s) published his photos on a photo-website and I used/manipulated some of them! I wanted by no means to imply that the originals be bad or imperfect! Just commented on them in a somewhat unusual way!... (Actually, it was pondering on a photo of his that made me venture into my haiga experiment!)

HAIBUN [primjeri]

A piece of prose (ranging from 1 sentence to a whole paragraph – occasionally even a couple of them) describing a situation. The poet rounds the text or gives the final touch to it (actually commenting on it) by a haiku/senryu (single or more of them). A haibun can contain several such pairings.