Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Poetic Musings: Loneliness Haiku by George Swede

leaving my loneliness     inside her

micro haiku: three to nine syllables, 2014

George Swede

Commentary: First of all, typographically speaking, the "physical space" between "leaving my loneliness" and "inside her" creates a rhythmic break or pause (caesura), intended to have a psychological impact and thus opening up an "interpretative space" for the reader to co-author the poem.

Secondly, technically speaking, this is a good example of using the kire (cutting) that cuts a haiku from this reality within which one lives, from the literal place/environment/atmosphere (ba) of literal existence. Swede's haiku successfully demonstrates one of the most important aesthetic characteristics of Japanese short form poetry -- "ma." ("betweenness")

Thirdly, generically speaking, this minimalist or micro haiku raises "the question of the question of how small we can go. Or even, 'how short can a haiku be and still resonate?' 'Less is more' probably looms over most haiku poets’ heads, but oftentimes we want to get one or two more words in for flair, voice, or play" (micro haiku: three to nine syllables reviewed by Aubrie Cox, A Hundred Gourds, 3:4 September 2014). In the case of Swede's bipartite haiku, every word counts and one more word is too many.

And finally, thematically speaking, this haiku reminds me of the iconic sex scene portrayed in Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being: sex is merely the meeting of two lonely bodies.

For more information about cutting and ma, see my "To the Lighthouse" posts, titled Re-examining the Concept and Practice of Cutting"and Cutting through Time and Space 

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