Sunday, March 27, 2016

Poetic Musings: Lip to Lip Haiku by Nick Avis


Bending with the Wind, 1993.
Nick Avis


The Master said, "The hokku has changed repeatedly since the distant past, but there have been only three changes in the nature of the haikai link. In the distant past, poets valued word links. In the more recent past, poets have stressed content links. Today, it is best to link by transference (utsuri), reverberation (hibiki), scent (nioi), or status (kurai)"

-- Nihon koten bungaku zenshu, 51:503, cited in Haruo Shirane, Traces of Dreams: Landscape, Cultural Memory, and the Poetry of Basho, Stanford University Press, 1998, p. 85

Nick Avis’s  brilliantly crafted one-line haiku shows his creativity in style and skillfulness in technique. He employs no space between words used in the juxtaposition of one simple phrase ("lip to lip") and one word-picture ("tulips") to create a visually and emotionally evocative image. The "word link" (or "object link"; mono-zuke), which relies on lexical or word association (liptoliptulips), gives readers the lovely image of a passionate couple lip to lip in a field of blooming tulips.