Monday, April 25, 2016

Haiku A to Z: U is for Unfinished, Unique


at the park 2013
"Because of its brevity, haiku can say only so much. Yet it really does say so much. It does this by relying on implication, on what is not said. No wonder haiku has been called an 'unfinished' poem. The reader must finish it, bringing his or her own experience into the picture. The poem itself makes the most of this expectation by focusing on the universal in the particular, and the particular in the universal. A haiku makes us aware of what we already know, but may not know that we know." --Michael Dylan Welch, Ten Ways to Improve Your Poetry with Haiku

Unfinished poetry...universal in the particular...particular in the universal. Unusual definitions but quite apt considering all the qualities of haiku.

Might we also add the word unique? A unique form of poetry, a unique group of poets, each haiku poem written unique in its own right.

On the surface, a simple form of poetry--unhurried, unruffled. But unfolding the layers, often profound. So, yes, unique.

Sometimes we miss the mark, but the upshot is that the journey is the best part of it all. And so contributing to the discussion once more, day twenty-one haiku:

under cobalt sky
young boy chasing raft of ducks...
shoreline undulates
--Kenda Turner
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10 comments:

  1. Very interesting explanation of haiku. In yours I see the boy laughing and having a great time as he chases the ducks beside the water. Lovely. Adorable picture too.

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    1. Thanks, Beverly. And the little one is a grandson and he really was having a good time!

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  2. It is unique! I think it has so much potential, to be personal, to highlight many topics, and to say so much with so few words. And yes, so many layers, that's a good way to look at it. Enjoyed your poem of the day. Have a lovely week! :)

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    1. Karen, you've defined haiku in a nutshell--thank you. All are reasons why I find it such a neat poem form. Thanks so much for your thoughts on the subject :-)

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  3. I don't think of haiku as unfinished. Like a 140 character tweet, one must distill all meaning into a limited number of words. Therefore it is more concentrated and meaningful, rather than unfinished IMO.

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    1. Lissa, I heartily agree--because so much is distilled in so few words, haiku is most meaningful. It is quite challenging to make this happen. Where I agree with the quote on haiku being 'unfinished' is in where the reader comes in--the reader 'finishes' the thought with what experience she brings to the image. Thanks so much for adding to the discussion, appreciate you joining in :-)

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  4. Love the introduction of the shoreline in your haiku.

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    1. Thanks, Elizabeth :-) Have a great day!

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  5. I like the STORY in this one. The word "undulates" says so much!

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  6. Thanks, Peggy--love that you saw story here...reinforcing the idea that the reader 'finishes' the poem. It works! Speaking of working, I found out I can post comments after all when I didn't think I could :-)

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