Posts Tagged ‘haiga’

Vol. 3, issue 1 (Spring/Summer 2007). Edited by An’ya.

With thanks to Carole MacRury.

The front page of this tabloid-newsprint publication lists the creators of “Over 300 Verses and Works of Art in this Issue!”–along with countries of origin. These are mostly people from the USA, but there is a good number of Canadians and Europeans, with the Balkans well represented, and a smattering of folks from Japan, Australia, and South Africa.

Personally, I’m not fond of newsprint, even for newspapers, but this issue of moonset has some things to recommend it. For one, a feature of haiku and tanka on cats. Pick of the litter, to my taste:

a feral cat slithers
out of the storm drain–
spring thaw

Ruth Holzer, USA

Another interesting section contains “signature haiku”–“being the poem that you have written which is your own personal favorite and/or has been published the most, or one that you consider best represents you and your writing style”–so says An’ya. In two pages, some 60 or so verses, my pick:

apple blossoms
my grandfather snaps
his suspenders

Andrew Riutta, USA

Tanka is less numerously represented than haiku, but holds up its end very well, nonetheless. My favorite of the issue is this translation by Amelia Fielden and Kozue Uzawa (names in Western order, given name first):

in a country
where fog coldly descends
like the darkness
of the Middle Ages
I cross a street-corner

Watanabe Koichi
(name in Japanese order, surname first)

This from the translators’ book Ferris Wheel: 101 Modern and Contemporary Tanka, from Cheng and Tsui, 2006 (available on Amazon.com). About 30 of the poems from Ferris Wheel are included here, along with a useful essay by Fielden about translating Japanese poems into English.

Another striking mood-piece of tanka, from the “Signature Tanka” section:

has been set free . . .
a gull
lazes past my window
bright white in the sun

Melissa Dixon, Canada

Given An’ya’s own high interest in tanka, we might expect it to advance in percentage-contents in future issues of moonset.

A single, excellent, nijuin (20-stanza) renku, “Adrift with Her Dreams” reads at least as well as, if not better than, the pages and pages of other verses here. Hortensia Anderson piloted this ship with Carole MacRury, Adelaide B. Shaw, Heather Madrone, and Bette Norcross Wappner in the crew.

Two book reviews and a bunch of contest information round out the issue. The paper is also full of illustrations, of varying quality, from quick sketches in pencil or pen to (deliberately) grainy photographs, many of these combined with hand-written poems into haiga.

Published twice a year. More information is available on their web site: http://moonsetnewspaper.blogspot.com/.



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Edited by Stephen Addiss, Angier Brock, Angela Detlev, Josh Hockensmith, Phil Rubin, Kelsey Rubin-Detlev; published by The Richmond Haiku Workshop.

With thanks to the editors.

A slender pamphlet (current is 36 pp.), each issue of SxSE invariably contains some fine haiku. One “Editor’s choice” from this issue:

stray dog
my tongue chases ice cream
around the cone

Lynne Steel

. . . who also has an elegantly simple haiga on p. 16. One more I particularly enjoyed:

Labor Day
the full cheeks
of chipmunks

Michele Root-Bernstein

This issue also contains an interesting interview of Tom Noyes, who says, speaking of today’s English-language haiku, “There is too much emphasis on juxtapostition, which requires a priori thought and anticipation, obviating spontaneity and immediacy.” Wow! I thought it was just the other way around, that too much grammatical tying down of the various parts of a haiku results in stodgy, statement-like things, not poems. In fact, juxtaposition, or “cutting” (J. kire) is one of the three non-negotiable features of classic haiku, all too often obscured by translators such as R. H. Blyth, who don’t seem to realize their importance to the original authors and poems, making too many of their translations seem like warmed-over prosaicisms. (Henderson, for all his unwanted riming, knew better!) Well, de gustibus non disputandum est, if I spelled that correctly. One man’s trash another’s treasure. I do agree with Tom that strictly applied the “sketch from life” approach yields too many “so-whats” for healthy haiku.

Most issues, like this one, include a sheet of anonymous haiku on themes, which subscribers may vote on. Top contenders appear, with authors identified, in a later issue.

An excellent read, SxSE is well worth any haiku fan’s attention:

3040 Middlewood Road
Midlothian, VA 23113 USA

Current subscription rates: $16 (in US), $25 (outside US).

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