Haiku Butchers

Your haiku on Eminem of May 4 contain anything but haiku. The only connection I detect is a pale imitation of a form, one that’s seldom understood, as is the case here. I say “pale imitation” because of three lines that almost always add up to 17 English syllables, apportioned five-seven-five for the three lines. Beyond mere appearance I see nothing of the essence of haiku: an evocation of a momentary encounter between the poet and nature that draws one beyond the images at hand.

I deliberately refer to English syllables since in Japanese what are counted are sound segments. These are not equivalent to syllables. Thus, the meaning conveyed in 17 Japanese sound segments (or onji) can usually be conveyed in 12 or 13 English syllables.

What was published as “haiku” are only small political tracts, nothing more.

Joe Kirschner