Item of Interest || When is Haiku Not Haiku?

David Coomler, on his web log Hokku, has a recent post on the hokko/haiku relationship— an issue I only recently began studying myself. From a limited and hasty process of research over the last five years I discovered the evolution of the modern term haiku is not entirely the same notion of Bashō himself intended.

In his opening paragraph he states:
"Bashō called what he wrote hokku, as a part of his practice of haikai; that was true whether the verses appeared independently or in linked verse or in travel journals. The same is true of all writers of the verse form in the centuries prior to the 20th. And of course those who write hokku rather than modern haiku today continue to use the same term – hokku — as was used in past centuries."
Confusion sets in due to the basic casual reading of these forms of poetry: in English typically, three lines of poetry look like any other three lines on any other piece of paper. And also, it seems that only fairly recent has interest in the Japanese cultural writing peaked.

However, there are subtle differences and these should be acknowledged and address when teaching these different forms. After all, as I stated in the comment form to Coomler, a Renaissance Italian sonnet is very different from a modern English sonnet; even though they are both sonnets by appearance, themes have altered overtime. The approach to the same fourteen lines transforms into something other.

It will be interesting to see where future changes develop in the teaching of these two forms.


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