[Please note: much of today's post has been stated here before, so if you're tired of a crazy, librarian-poet's ranting, you may want to skip this.]
In the morning, after feeding the cat and making coffee, I sit down and check the daily haiku posted at Mann Library's Daily Haiku hosted by Cornell University, Haiku in English hosted by The Mainichi, Japan's National Daily newspaper, and The Haiku Foundation (the daily haiku appears at the top of the page as part of the banner).
The Mainichi's haiku editor is Dhugal Lindsay, and he has selected the "Best of 2017" haiku that appeared throughout the year. The best are collected, with comments, in 68 pages, and presented as a PDF that you can download and read at your leisure. Lindsay has written the introduction. If you think haiku is just a three-line poem where syllable count is its most important feature, you need to read it.
Nowhere in the introduction does it mention three lines of 5-7-5.
Read through the haiku and you'd be hard-pressed to find one close to 17 syllables total. There are no in-your-face lessons taught by the haiku. No rhymes. No one tells you what conclusions to draw (except, on occasion, in the editor's commentary).
It is my hope that one day soon, a children's book editor comes across this "Best of 2017" introduction and takes it to heart. I would happily support any number of recent children's books that are subtitled, "Haiku about..., if only the subtitles were rewritten as, "Short poems about..." Right now, I read these books, gather what information the poet is trying to tell me about the world of naked mole rats or some other curriculum-related topic, and then shake my head at lost opportunities for a young reader to appreciate haiku.
Okay, rant over! I can't end without a haiku, now can I? Here's an ekphrastic one:
© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. "Sleeping Cat" by Jacques-Émile Blanche.
a closer look...
the old cat's chest
Elizabeth Steinglass is hosting this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up. Liz is one of those people who understands haiku, and, she is now an award-winning haiku poet! Click here. Congratulations, Liz!