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Anselm Hollo Does Haiku

posted Mar 29, 2012, 11:57 PM by Michael Dylan Welch   [ updated Mar 29, 2012, 11:59 PM ]
Anselm Hollo is a mainstream poet who has dabbled in haiku, if that’s a fair word to use, and is among those who teach haiku at Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado. In addition to his “Near Miss Haiku,” previously added to the Poems by Others page, I now offer his “5 & 7 & 5” sequence, which originally appeared in his 1968 book titled Haiku. I see these poems as using haiku “selfishly,” so to speak, as most of them demonstrate minimal awareness of the aesthetics of Japanese haiku, and limited understanding of standard techniques such as seasonal reference and a two-part juxtapositional structure, among others. Still, as poetic artifacts, they are a nod of appreciation for haiku, and an exploration of related possibilities in English. Can one do what one likes with haiku? Sure, why not? But as the translator Harold G. Henderson once said, this poetry cannot be taken too far and still be haiku.