jornales

for a moment of joy or moments no one pays for, i give myself a ‘jornal’. this makes me rich. try it.

What is ‘zoka’? (Prompt at NaHaiWriMo: My response, added comment and Alan Summers’ reply)

 

 

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15/10/12 (prompt by Scott Abeles: zoka)

Zoka is defined as “the process of creation, transformation, and destruction in nature”. The presence of “zoka” separates “object-based” haiku from “activity-based” haiku. Indeed, some argue that an object-based, zoka-free poem is not, by definition, a haiku.

Not quite sure I get it but here are my attempts at a response to the prompt:

sniveling wind
a puppy looks at me
for a nod

oak shadow—
a nesting moon rusts
on cloud mist

autumn stillness
a doddering mosquito’s
break-away
(Comment I added) 

Honestly, the prompt almost made me sleepless as the term, ‘zoka’, intimidated me but I wrote three, in case, any might be the right response to the prompt. This happens every time I’m confronted with Japanese terms. And yet, as I’ve been resistantly dealing with my doubts whether or not I’ve been writing haiku, I realized like the other evening, some of what I’ve tried to put in lines are quite ‘zoka’.

Learning more of this poetry form is constantly challenging given the many ‘voices’ that spangle the haiku-sphere. I do read and hear them as ‘voices’ rather than this and that ‘form/term’ because as in any art, each line for me, is of the writer’s/artist’s world.

Again, this too, had confused me when first reading haiku. It was a challenge to be ‘objective’ (stripped of the personal or hints of it as perhaps I misunderstood), a view quite alien to Poetry as I know. But I’ve persisted and still do bravely write haiku the way I filter a seeming sea of knowledge on it from a mosaic of my own lenses. I wonder though if it’s valid, ‘voice in haiku, I mean.

(Alan Summers’ reply)

Yes, all debates such as this do enlighten greatly. Thanks for the discussion. And thanks for the challenge, Scott!

Honestly, the prompt almost made me sleepless as the term, ‘zoka’, intimidated me but I wrote three, in case, any might be the right response to the prompt.

It made you write some good haiku using that prompt. Sometimes too easy prompts do not push us into stretching.

You should never feel uncomfortably intimidated, just enough to stretch those writing muscles.

In fact I’ve observed you, and many others, become incredible writers of haiku, in various styles, through NaHaiWriMo prompts, thanks to MDW!

This happens every time I’m confronted with the Japanese terms. And yet, as i’ve been resistantly dealing with my doubts whether or not I’ve been writing haiku, I realized like the other evening, some of what I’ve tried to put in lines are quite ‘zoka’.”

Exactly! What’s good about the NaHaiWriMo page is that we are all in this together, and out of that support there has been some incredible work.

When I did my recent prompt courtesy of MDW, I was astonished how many fine, not just good, but very fine haiku I had to reduce to the nominated number for the forthcoming anthology. And it was a difficult prompt too!

You can always use Google or Bing to search these terms out. I have a huge database backed up on my computer for the benefit of my workshops.

You can always email or FB message if you are not sure. We are always learning, so I keep up to date as much as possible, and have a useful set of resources.

Learning more of this poetry form is constantly challenging given the many ‘voices’ that spangle the haiku-sphere. I do read and hear them as ‘voices’ rather than this and that ‘form/term’ because as in any art, each line is of the writer’s world.”

Exactly!

Again, this too, had confused me when first reading haiku. It was a challenge to be ‘objective’ (stripped of personal perception as perhaps I misunderstood), a view quite alien to Poetry as I know. But I’ve persisted and still do write haiku the way I filter a seeming sea of knowledge on it from a mosaic of my own lenses.”

You have a remarkable style and voice in haiku, it’s a privilege to know you and read your work.

I wonder though if it’s valid, ‘voice in haiku, I mean. Yes, all debates such as this do enlighten greatly. Thanks!

Having a voice in poetry is what we all aspire to, and so I’d say we can also have our own voice in haiku. After all Basho wanted his students (and in a way, we are his students too) to go their own way in haikai literature, not to copy what he had done.

We don’t know what he’d like or dislike but I think many of us would be both surprised and delighted that he’d like certain developments and progressions in haiku. Alan Gibbons

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January 26, 2013 Posted by | background, comment, haiku | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“With Cherries on Top” (a NaHaiWriMo ebook, the first of its kind haiku anthology)

“More than something to keep like journals we’ve been published in, for me this is a treasure because I have a small hand in it. Like the 30 other prompters, on whose prompts I, too, wrote, I also had the privilege to select more than five for the collection out of which Michael Dylan Welch made the final choice; in other words, I know the process that went into its making quite intimately.

But most of all, I’ll always read each haiku loving it as the work of a NaHaiWriMo friend, most of whom I’ve written with on the same page every day and still do. Thanks again, Michael, for the great work you’ve poured into this superb anthology—the first of its kind, I believe. And congrats to us all, NaHaiWriMo poets!

Definitely a treasure! Superb haiku by NaHaiWriMo poets and awesome images so apt together!” —Alegria Imperial  

The history of this book is a major part of my personal history of writing haiku. I’ve written most of it in this blog. I’m sure you have noticed how my haiku has taken shape since I signed up on Facebook because of National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo). All it asked of anyone is to write a haiku a day. I joined in mostly because I’ve met Michael Dylan Welch, who is to me everything to a haiku, and from whom I keep learning.

His role in my haiku life started with my first ever haiku award in the 2007 Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (VCBF) Haiku Invitational, which was also my first published haiku. He was a judge that year and I met him at Van Dusen Gardens during the Cherry Blossoms Festival a year later. I had my first ginko walk with him, too, at the gardens. How could I not trust the Facebook site he created?

As well, Melissa Allen, who I met through our blogs, by then already on to her place in English haiku,  had announced NaHaiWriMo. Also at the fourth meeting of our then newly formed Vancouver Haiku Group, Jessica Tremblay, now of Old Pond Comics fame, also a VCBF winner, who came for her first member meeting,  reminded us of NaHaiWriMo.

It turned out NaHaiWriMo couldn’t end in a month. We, who hopped in, wouldn’t let up and so, it’s still on.  In August, Michael came up with this idea of a-prompter-a-day instead of just one for the month. This book is what it was.  I know, dear readers and followers of jornales, that you love haiku. Inflame it with this “With Cherries on Top”, a haiku anthology written by poets of varying haiku-writing stages, demonstrating the very essence of haiku which is: With senses wakened is how we find newness in the same things or what we think is the same day every day, and writing it down into a haiku renews the very thing as much as the poet and those to whom the haiku is shared. I’m sure our haiku will enrich you beyond its more than a hundred pages.

My haiku on ‘watermelon’ prompt by Stella Pierides

watermelon moon

our burdens lighter

than we thought

(Because I haven’t updated this blog to be able to encrypt a link, you might want to copy and past this on your browser or simply click on the link on my blogroll)

https://sites.google.com/site/nahaiwrimo/with-cherries-on-top 

November 24, 2012 Posted by | background, culturati news/views, event, haiku, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

a dragonfly/zips into a tower–/what I remember (a 9/11 repost from filipineses09)

911 REVISITED (REPOST FROM A 2010 POST)
September 12, 2011, 1:55 am

It’s still for me a searing memory…that morning 10 years ago

a dragonfly/zips into a tower–/what I remember

Visit to a Hallowed Ground

I looked on a shallow dish of dirt, raked and dug out, and still seething. From where I stood at the portico of St. Peter’s Church on Barclay Street from across what used to be the World Trade Center, I gazed and gaped incredulous. How could it seem so small, so nothing now?

That now hallowed ground I had once walked on, eyes up where the twin towers held up the sky, was raw like a vulture’s leftover meal — the vulture that had zipped into it from the same sky.

The smell of burning still tarnished the air: it was sharp and pungent. Thin spirals of smoke still seeped off the ground where the dying has not ended. There was a stench in the downtown train I thought must be someone’s mess or as the friend I was with said, could be the cleaning agent used. And then, I realized it was the stench of decaying flesh.

For the first time on this visit to New York, three months after the disaster that the world now calls by its date, September Eleven, I finally lived the nightmare.

I could not recognize turns on the streets I learned by heart a whole summer I lived in New York. I had to let go, and be led on by the steady stream of people, moving about in a daze like me. We have walked into a city that was pummeled, ripped, and blown in parts; it felt strange.

The buildings around the World Trade Center, once glinting towers now scarred and wearing ashes have turned old and looked haunted. Delis and coffee shops serving breakfast at 8:45 that morning have grown frost where they had stood still. (In which of them had I once shared with a friend the tastiest sticky bun ever one morning we walked this far?) But I had yet to find the remains of that day.

We had stopped at every cross street that opened to Ground Zero, and hung our heads. We had stalled, holding back tears, where instant graves had blossomed on wrought iron fences or granite walls. The graves drew out the grief, and tears gave names to what were earlier anonymous faces: A wife to one of those still missing stumbled into a huddle, and crumbled to the ground, touching a framed picture adorned with ribbons now frayed and fading. She had visited this grave each day since. A brother to one still lost crept from behind us quietly planting another candle where what he lit last night was dying. He had no way of telling if his brother was among the dead; he was still missing like many who walked into that ordinary summer day but whose bodies have not been found.

A wind ruffled the pages of a letter a grandmother had pinned on a young woman’s framed portrait, detailing how her oh so innocent two-year old son regaled the family with stories of a visit to the zoo in last weekend’s tearful dinner. A scrap of lined paper, bold scripts now blotted, was a young boy’s inspired poem on the heroic death of those he didn’t personally know. The ‘graves’ were now a mosaic of grief; none of us who strayed into them could stay around for long.

Memories of the nightmare played on. On these same streets, thousands of wounded had limped, transformed by terror and grief. Some had lost their hair in the fire, others, half their faces. The sirens had screamed, flying through the night and days from then on. New York congealed into a mass of the helpless hurt, the faceless who came to help, and the cops and firemen who gave their lives to others whose names they had no chance to ask. Blood flowed from cut limbs, and also from veins held up for the taking. This city of spunk and internal faces broke into a weeping, sobbing, moaning humanity. We, who lived through the nightmare whole days on end on television, could only imagine half the reality then.

From St. Peter’s portico, we glued our eyes on those giant combs of steel, the cranes that moved clumsy marionette arms; the diggers had not stopped sifting for remains. They had gone deep underground, out of our sight. After this visit, when they hit what used to be the Cortland subway stop, five more bodies turned up. But where we huddled, necks craned to Ground Zero on this visit, there was nothing else we could see out there. What I kept staring at instead, and like perhaps those strangers around me did, were spots on the ground that held memories, my own…

(read the rest of it at my other blog filipineses09, just click on my blogroll. Also I’m trying to double check this: this was nominated for a Pushcart Award 2010 by Sketchbook but I cannot find my record of it. Perhaps because it was just too overwhelming, almost incredulous, that I lost it but I know I’ll find it or maybe not among my messy files.)

September 12, 2011 Posted by | background, diary/memoir, lyrical prose, reflection | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

…the white cat’s eyes and …some truths under the sun (cat haiku for today ‘Hug Your Cat Day’)

Also for June: ‘Adopt-a-Cat’ month

Daily Haiku Selection
April 22, 2011
(Mainichi, Japan)

winter sky–
the white cat’s eyes
bluer

Alegria Imperial (Vancouver, Canada)

Dili, the inspiration for the haiku

Dili, the fluffy 3-year old male cat, inspired this haiku. He’s not mine but a friend’s. But I do feed his brother, Divo, and him when their mom or dad can’t get home on time for their supper. Divo, a gentle tabby, takes care of Dili. Both are adopted; no, Dili, was picked up from a roadside in Dildo, Newfoundland (yes, there’s such a town), meowing his way into the entrance of an inn his would-be parents had checked in.

His dad describes him as a “furry snow ball the size of his palm”. Even then, his dad noted his wide cushioned paws. They had waited until they would have had to fly back to Vancouver if anyone would come around looking for him–no one did. Wrapped in a box, Dili, on that rigorous flight ruffled the vacuum packed air with his constant whining and restlessness.

In his new home, here in Vancouver, none of that energy and compulsion to make sounds abated. He meowed into his parent’s half-dreams; they woke up from his ‘screams’. He was declared deaf by the vet. But of course, he’s all-white and blue-eyed,isn’t he? Yes, both azure blue unlike some with one eye green, hence, not deaf.

In three months after troubled sleep but alternating with delight at his crystal stare and the cotton-feel of his fur, his mom and dad walked into an Animal Shelter, where in their research seemed to have the most cared strays, and met Divo. Their mom recalls how he cuddled up to her from her very first touch. This sweet boy to this day gives his mom massages, kisses and cuddles, listening to her coo, thanking him.

Dili and Divo have grown as true brothers. Dili, an acute observer of movements–he even lip reads–takes cues from Divo. But sometimes, Divo knowing of his deafness, sometimes springs up behind Dili, which begins a mock tussle. Their bond have tightened like it were of twins–of the spirit if indeed as God’s creatures they do have.

the eyes–
some truths under the sun
in Dili’s and Divo’s

Divo, the contortionist

June 4, 2011 Posted by | background, haiku, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

the rose bud/under a sky/full moon (random haiku and what else I am learning about haiku)

1.
rose bud
still tight in the rain–
the coming of summer

2.
under a sky
bent by a rainbow
we ease for home

3.
full moon
on an open cesspool–
the sun for me

full moon partially obscured by the Earth's atmosphere (21 Dec 1999 taken by austronauts aborad the Space Shuttle Discovery) courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I love how images work so well with haiku. And like paintings, they can be very compelling and draw out in their distance the deepest of emotions. Nothing should be overt in haiku. It must be hinted at, almost hidden or unnoticed.

For me, it could be something like a quiet reflection on the spit-notes of a waxwing or the epiphany of yes, a full moon on an open un-lidded cesspool. In the first, the notes for me feel like droplets of crystals that melt into a soft coating on my being, gifting me for a moment with the just-being-there-ness of a salmon berry blossom for a hummingbird; in the second, the moon sinks into my darkness– cesspool that I am in many ways of ‘pecadillos’, those daily pin pricks of rebellion from virtue and goodness–and turns on the light of the sun that is in me or what I believe to be my spirit, which at its core remains as powerful as the Sun from whom the moon draws its brightness.

Perhaps, I’m taking this too far but haiku works when it works for the poet–this is what I’m learning fast, though of course there are still the basic elements to go by. At the workshop of Michael Dylan Welch that I attended last Saturday right here in Vancouver in my neighborhood at the historic Joy Kogawa House, he emphasized a few key elements:

*not 5-7-5 syllables unless one is writing in Japanese
*must have a season (kigo) word (there are hundreds of them in a compilation by Japanese masters that differentiate for example mist and fog in spring and autumn have degrees of thinness, or even the moon is different in winter and autumn)
*must appeal to any or all of the 5 senses
*must be objective, meaning, not what is the emotion but what caused it
*precision (sharp focus), immediacy (of the moment not past or future both of which make it static), juxtaposition to make it ‘leap’ into a larger or higher perspective, which may be attained by contrast
*there’s a lot more than that, of course, and I’m still learning

Truly, reading haiku –and there’s thousands of them–and about the art may not be enough. Haiku has been for centuries some kind of a ‘group art’. It must be shared and worked at with others. For me, some kind of openness even humility are a must, a willingness to learn and be straightened out if what one has written seems vague or imprecise and the reader squints his eyes, knits his brows and says, ‘huh?’ instead of ‘ahhhh…’, clasps his hands and looks up to the heavens. Indeed, joining The Haiku Foundation that gave me access to Shiki Kukai, the Vancouver Haiku Group, and signing up for the NaHaiWriMo facebook site as well as submitting my haiku to and getting ‘acceptance’ and more often ‘declined’ mail from online haiku/tanka journals as well as other literary journals have been extremely rewarding.

Haiku’s most precise definition is ‘a short poem in one breath’. Ahhh…okay then, do these random haiku here make you say, ‘ahhhh’ or ‘huh’?

May 17, 2011 Posted by | background, haiku, poetry, reflection | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

my East Wind haiku (voted on Sketchbook’s kukai–Jan-Feb Vol 6 issue)

east wind—
his words bristling
on grain stalks

6th place

tremor
in the stones—
the east wind

7th place

storm clouds
flying on an east wind—
absent dawn

9th place
(This actually got none or zero votes though it is placed 9th among others as the editor liked it. I think the last line is abstract and doesn’t tie-in with the the first two lines. Perhaps ‘waiting for a hawk’ or ‘a hawk swoops down’ would have made it more concrete.)

I wrote these haiku with my being transported to the Philippines. Vancouver light on my window that morning I composed them washed the colors of trees, leaves and stones with the blankness of snow. The freeze bristled frosted twigs but in my heart, the East Wind blew a bristling steam of foreboding quite palpable at the onset of the dry and hot season (the other season of the two we have is wet) about the time of Easter, or Spring in the western hemisphere. From that memory, I wrote the haiku.

What is the East Wind?

The east wind from Wikipedia:

“An east wind is a wind that originates in the east and blows west. In Greek mythology, Eurus, the east wind, was the only wind not associated with any of the three Greek seasons, and is the only one of these four Anemoi not mentioned in Hesiod’s Theogony or in the Orphic Hymns.

In Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Garden of Paradise, it is the East Wind who takes the hero to visit the eponymous garden. In J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, the East Wind, like most other things dealing with the east, is viewed as a thing of evil. In Book III (which appears in The Two Towers), after Aragorn and Legolas have sung a lament for Boromir involving invocations of the other three winds, the following dialogue takes place:

“‘You left the East Wind to me,’ said Gimli, ‘but I will say naught of it.’

‘That is as it should be,” said Aragorn. ‘In Minas Tirith they endure the East Wind, but they do not ask it for tidings. …’ ”
In George MacDonald’s At the Back of the North Wind, on the other hand, the East Wind is described as more mischievous than strictly evil; the North Wind comments, “…[O]ne does not exactly know how much to believe of what she says, for she is very naughty sometimes…”

Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes story “His Last Bow”, published in 1917 but set in 1914, ends with Holmes addressing his assistant Doctor Watson on the eve of the First World War… The same speech was used at the end of the 1942 Basil Rathbone Holmes film Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror, this time in reference to the Second World War…”

March 24, 2011 Posted by | background, haiku, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment