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Mark Young

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Eileen Tabios at winepoetics, June 2003



Tuesday June 10, 2003

Close Journal. Drop Journal Again. Page opens onto 1/28/01: On plane returning to San Francisco, read Selected Letters of Jack Kerouac. P. 46 -- Kerouac says, "I think American haikus should never have more than 3 words in a line -- e.g.

Trees can't reach
for a glass
of water

I am inaugurating the Filipino Haiku [PinoyPoets: Attention! I'll post if you send me some!]: 3 lines each having one, two, three words in order -- e.g.

can't reach
for a glass


Wednesday June 11, 2003

In my June 10 post, I mentioned how I conceived -- counted out -- the idea of a "Filipino Haiku" while writing in my "Counting Journal" on 1/28/01:

Well, Filipino poets responded to my call with enthusiasm. Perhaps in part because, as Michelle Bautista points out, the idea of one-two-three "works with the Filipino nursery rhyme: isa, dalawa, tatlo, ang tatay mo'y kalbo [pronounce phonetically to catch the rhythm] -- which translates into English as "one two three, your dad is bald."


Thursday June 12, 2003

HAY (NA)KU!!!!

honor you
with pinoy haiku
--Ben Soriano

Most of the "haiku" (scare quotes deliberate...) sent to me come from writers who also happen to belong to the Flips Listserve, a listserve of either Filipino writers or anyone interested in Filipino Literature that was co-founded by poets Nick Carbo and Vince Gotera. While my compadres and comadres happily sent me what Vince called these "Stairstep Tercets," my project also ended up eliciting a discussion on the implications of Naming -- and how I was approaching it by using the phrase "Pinoy Haiku."

Vince asked:

Appropriating the "haiku" name has all sorts of prosodic and postcolonial problems (by which I mean the WWII "colonizing" of the Philippines by Japan, among other things). Am I being overly serious here? When Kerouac refers to "American haiku" not having more than three words per line, I think he might have been reacting to Allen Ginsberg's "American haiku" which has 17 syllables per line. I guess my concern about calling it a "Pinoy haiku" is that readers could say hey, "Pinoys can't even get the haiku right?" They won't always have the Kerouac quote to guide them.

Besides, why must we always be doing things in reaction to the term "American"? An interesting parallel poetic-form-naming might be Baraka's "low coup" form (the diametrical opposite of "high coup" / haiku). Maybe the Pinoy version could be the "hay (na)ku"?

Incidentally, for you non-Pinoy peeps, "Hay naku" is a common Filipino expression covering a variety of contexts -- like the word "Oh."

So I replied that these were being written for WinePoetics whose readers (presumably) have access to the backdrop of how I came to concoct this idea, including the Kerouac reference in my "Counting Journal" that cites his version of "American haiku." And, certainly, I hadn't "seriously" thought through the implications of my project (as you peeps know, I was just ... counting). But, I think what's wonderful about any form of Art is how it also serves as an entryway into other discussions -- into a variety of engagements.

Consequently, I modestly bow (egad: nearly broke my back doing that bow -- bowing just doesn't come naturally with Ms. WinePoetics, ya know) to Vince's wisdom (he is, after all, older than I am; wink here at Vince) and rename this form





Last updated 01 April, 2004