Strands of the original haiku DNA have been cross-bred into many other cultures, spiritualities and languages ever since Japan opened its borders and culture to the international community.
It is our hope that the Living Haiku Anthology reflects what is being written as haiku today with no willful attempt to circumscribe future manifestations of the essential haiku DNA.
LHA Contest - Winning Haiku
slip one knit one the pattern of winter bones
Lorin Ford (Australia)
of a comet's tail
Michael Henry Lee (U.S.A.)
These two poems exemplify what I refer to above as figuration. While it is easy to picture someone knitting, and to follow the pattern, it is certainly a leap that is not realist in principle to conflate this with the pattern of bones. And yet what is suggested is oddly compelling, as though the pattern is indeed present. I found myself imagining the fibrous patterns bones present under the microscope, not knit, perhaps (though we do speak of broken bones “knitting”), but intensely layered and reinforcing. Add to this the clash of needles, with their own bony hollowness and metallic clank, and you have a complete and compelling picture that goes far beyond reportage, well into the realm of suggestiveness. I feel the choice of monoku format here is appropriate, providing an impetus that would be lost in a multi-line format, and making whatever breaks that were chosen seem arbitrary at least to a degree.
Likewise, it is surely a poeticism to render our satellite as a “braille moon.” Of course it is pocked, but the point of braille is that it is palpable, something the moon will never be. And yet we do feel the possibility of “reading” the moon. What highlights it here is its intersection with a comet’s crossing, an astronomical event that half a millennium ago would have been “read” in a host of ways as omens, portents from the gods or God, and having a direct effect upon those of us on earth. Though most of us have lost this particular set of beliefs, we are still amazed by such natural highlights, and we still find meaning in them, though perhaps now we psychologize them. The length of the tail would have been of particular import, meaning this and yet this, and so it still does.
— Jim Kacian