Essay

A Haiku Is When; or, What Can Your Brevity Hold?

An essay by a man who writes haiku and publishes an on-line literary review. He imagines that there is an audience out there for what he writes, but he is wrong. He imagines that there must be someone who cares, who agrees or who understands; he is again mistaken. No one cares what he says or how he says it; no one agrees with what he sees, what he understands, what he thinks or believes; no one is around to understand anything he tries to explain when discussing what he sees or knows or thinks. This has appeared in his literary review; it appears here as a choice selection by our Publishing-Editor who is also good friends with the writer/editor of this other literary review. The friendship is unconventional; you’ll have to examine what conventional means and how it applies to the friendship the two editors have.

Haiku and What Is

What else should I say about Haiku that I have not already said before, elsewhere, and herein, as I have and will again, in this blog and in these pages as well as other pages of other websites, The October Revue, The Poetry Review and variations thereof prior to the publishing of either of them? (That’s an awfully long question, the length itself is what I am referring to, not the answer it should elicit.) The October Revue was inaugurated in 2007, now nearly a decade ago. How much can one man write in a decade, probably in excess of 10,000 pages, if they were to be printed in standard sized font in hard copy. What this means I will not venture a discussion–hypotheses are for you to endeavor.

I do not know why I began with a reference to Haiku, as if I were going to discuss the form, discuss the what is, the what has been, the what could be of Haiku. I will  not. What I intended has been lost, and often this happens in the form herein used, the essay, itself a trial or a trying out of ideas, where they go, lead, take me–the form does meander, the form does have its backwash, the form is entirely plastic as Bakhtin had assumed for the Novel as a form, a new genre not of antiquity–we are not going to discuss either Bakhtin or his theory of the fossilized genres that come out of antiquity, Archaeology and literary critique often times have something in common.

What I am I trying to say is not the issue, but what I am saying that is trying, that is in itself the trial, most specifically, what is it that I think. I am one that insists that thought takes place in language, and that thinking is not randomly passing images in mind, nor is it playing hop-scotch with words. Yet, much in many of my essays is seemingly passing images at random–but no, it is not. Let me cut myself off from this fruitless tangent–and the essayist can fairly well sense where a road less travelled is tangental and will be fruitless.

I have often said that I can write 500 words on virtually anything–that’s 500 words articulately expressing an opinion or providing a description or an explication or a definition in progress for anything, anytime. Is that what I have done here is not a question for me to answer–500 words are not really many words, and writing mirrors thinking, so if the thinking is straight, or determined where it digresses–what? Five hundred words are not many words–period.

The soul of haiku is brevity, as I have been told the same was true for wit. I am not going to venture a comparison of wit and haiku, but wit as understood traditionally and as a component of the literary, has something of what haiku possesses. There is brevity and pithiness in haiku–no? Succinctness? Yes, of course–but haiku is not a matter of course, although part of its aesthetic is this sense of appearing as if it were of course, even when it holds a certain wondrousness for its unique perspective? perception? conception?

[Short Fiction]

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