Ever Projecting

Monday, September 13, 2004

The Haiku Project

I became interested in haiku when I moved to Japan and began to write my own. This infuriated the Japanese, who didn't believe haiku could be English and they were sort of right. I concede that they aren't real haiku but that haiku are a really interesting and important form of poetry.
Haiku are traditionally 17 Japanese syllables, with a seasonal reference as an anchor. English, having broken all the rules from the get-go, are more flexible and often have fewer than 17 syllables, as English takes less to say the same as Japanese. Haiku are very concrete, do not personify, are about nature and capture an action in its instant. Haiku are the snapshots of poetry, and are an interesting challenge to the more verbose among us.
My haiku project is to self-publish a small book of my haiku with their Japanese translations. The challenge of finding an appropriately bilingual translator lies ahead, and the challenge of printing Japanese letters and working with quite limited resources (the photocopier at the local 7-11 mainly). However I am looking forward to the result!


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