Monday, September 23, 2013

A Room of My Own: A Dedication To You, the Reader

It is your interest in my haiku that has enabled this slim volume to continue its journey into the promised land of old souls. The NeverEnding Story of imagination carries us further...

The hunter's moon cracking in the attic window. And water stains on his unfinished manuscript, the one not for the faint of heart or for those who are loyal subjects of the totalitarian shasei regime.

On the Road leans
against Essential Haiku
his cold breath

Note: For those who are new immigrants or seasonal workers, the shasei regime (euphemistically) means the objective realist regime.

Editor's Note: A Dedication To You, The Reader is a sequel to Winter Thoughts (for Mary Oliver), whose opening haiku and prose paragraph are as follows:
rejection slip
a sunflower bending
to the wind

I often get editorial advice like this:
"You will notice that we veer away from authorial comment, abstract language, and the imposition of human qualities on the natural world. Instead, we choose haiku that achieve resonance through the juxtaposition of disparate images, credibly present in the same place at the same time."

Read the full text here

1 comment:

  1. The haiku aesthetics conveyed in the opening prose paragraph of Winter Thoughts are uncritically accepted by most of the ELH editiors/poets.

    In his Chapter one, entitled Masaoka Shiki, especially in its subsection, “Three Ways of Sketching from Life,” Ueda emphasizes the three stages of the employment of the “shasei” concept : Shasei for beginning poets to portray objective beauty, selective realism for experience poets to reveal their individuality, and makoto for masters to demonstrate basic truthfulness to things/their ideals from internal, psychological reality (By the way, this concept reminds me of Aoyagi's Haiku of Inner Landscape, accessed at

    Sadly, Shiki died so young and didn’t leave researchers enough notes, articles, or his haiku to explore his concept of “makoto” to the fullest extent.

    If you’re interested in understanding the sociopolitical-cultural context of Shiki’s shasei poetics:

    Here are some good essays/book chapters:

    1) Chapter One, Modern Japanese Poets and the Nature of Literature by Makoto Ueda
    2) Intro., Modern Japanese Haiku: An Anthology by Makoto Ueda
    3) Masaoka Shiki and Modern Reception in Chapter 2, Traces of dreams:landscape, cultural memory, and the poetry of Bashō by Haruo Shirane
    4) Buson and Shiki (Two parts: part I mainly about Buson and part II about Shiki), Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Vol. 44, No. 2, Dec., 1984. These two essays are must-reads for the study of the modernization of Japanese haiku, of the aesthetic relationships between Basho, Buson, and Shiku.

    This issue regarding the shasei aesthetics will be further discussed in my forthcoming 'To the Lighthouse' post.