As I grow older, I grow crankier. But, I've also learned to let things go. I'm no longer going to be bothered when anything and everything in 3 lines of 5-7-5 syllables is labeled a haiku. I give up. It's not worth getting my underwear in a knot when all around me are:
numerous online "haiku" contests such as "Write a haiku--in 5-7-5 form-- about..." the "Twilight" series, techie subjects, Lord of the Rings Online, food and drink in Portland (OR), pets, or the British summer (this last contest has Yoko Ono as a judge, and the entries appear in London tube stations!)
books, wines, ballgames, and just about anything else, tersely reviewed/summarized in 5-7-5
lists of computer error message haiku, or cat haiku (they've shown up in my inbox at least once a year since 1998)
Although I'd like to call most the above-mentioned stuff, Fake-Ku, I wouldn't dare suggest that anyone is creating fake poetry, and, I wouldn't want you to think that it isn't enjoyable. It has provided me with quite a few laughs over the years, but I don't consider these poems haiku. Therefore, I'd like to propose that English language haiku in which the 5-7-5 form is not the defining
feature of the poem, be called something else. We need to come up with something that separates the two types of work. What shall we call our poems? I don't speak Japanese and so have no suggestions for another Japanese term. If we're talking about English language haiku then shouldn't the word be English?
Using "essence of a moment keenly perceived," as a guide, and after consulting my handy-dandy thesaurus, I'd like to suggest quiddity
. It's slightly exotic, relatively unknown, and it means, "the essential nature of a thing." A great name for a haiku!
Perhaps we should come up with something completely different like Andrew Clements did in his book, Frindle
. His character, Nick Allen, a fifth grader, decides to rename a pen. He comes up with frindle
and begins using a frindle instead of a pen. (If you don't know it, it's a fun story.) So let's see, what's a good made-up word...sketern? lilnym?
What do you think? Please use the comments feature to contribute a term of your own. Let me know that I'm not alone in my obsessive pursuit of informing the public about contemporary English language haiku. (Or maybe I am?)
According to the definition of insanity provided by Rita Mae Brown (but usually attributed to Ben Franklin or Albert Einstein), "doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results," you may think I'm insane, but, I promise, this will be my last rant
about faux haiku...
Here's a quiddity of my own to end this rant:
I'd also like to pass along this link to the Haiku Foundation's digital library
, in case you're not familiar with contemporary English Language haiku.
The Poetry Friday Round-Up for this week is being hosted by Irene Latham at Live. Love. Explore!