I've thoroughly enjoyed judging the Charles B. DicksonHaiku Contest. I feel enriched from reading so many highquality haiku, which shows that organizations like the NorthCarolina Haiku Society and Haiku Society of America are ingreat demand to continue fostering the development ofaspiring haiku writers. Nonetheless, here are the selectionsfrom the contest, along with comments:
It could be, as it has been reported, that Basho simplyheard a frog plunging into water (a rather probableoccurrence as he lived in a marsh where two rivers joined)just at the moment a Zen master asked him a question on hisprogress in his meditations. Yet he didn't begin his poemwith his reality of "in the marsh" or "by theriver" but used "old pond" because in a quietpond a disturbance most closely resembles the way sound movesand is most accurate. Again the third image is the tie forhis metaphor of water for sound. Bodies (get that one?) ofwater have sometimes stood as metaphors for ears because ofthe way water reflects and distorts sound.
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At first reading this haiku may seem rather simple, butit shows a keen awareness. One can see the woman's old brownhands weaving intricate patterns. Perhaps she's weaving thereeds in a chair frame or bottom to make a chair. Like theold brown woman, the chair when completed will represent asign of humanity. The measure of the lines give therhythmical effect of the old woman's brown hands as theyweave. The alliteration of the "h's,""th's," and "w's" hint at the usuallyharsh sound of reeds bending and rubbing together, thoughthey give way to the wetness. One can see "her old brownhands" glistening like a baby's skin. Like the"thin wet reed," the woman's old brown hands areprobably thin. And not to be overlooked here is the fact thatthe reeds are as useful as the old brown hands.
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- From Greek Classic to American Original In the winter of 2001, American audiences initially paid little attention to Joel and Ethan Coen's Depression era, jail-break, musical "buddy" comedy O Brother, Where Art Thou.
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Issa was known for his sympathetic attitude towards theless fortunate ones around him, including the wildlife in hisenvironment. Once in his wanderings Issa observed a frogfighting with a number of other frogs. He wrote this littlepoem of encouragement to that creature:
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In Mary Mann's short story Little Brother she claims the sociological elements in which she adopts the story of a poor family as the true essence of the story is a real understanding about the conflict of Mr....
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Recently I've been studying William Everson's concept of"the earth as metaphor" in which he view all thephysical elements of our universe as substances standing infor greater deeper, finer truths. The Bach Flower Remediesare a practical application of this belief. Distillations ofthe essence of flowers are sipped, not for any medicinalqualities of the plants, but for the emotions of the otherworld which manifest in them.
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Nowadays, if Mom doesn't ever serve fish for dinner atleast the kids get a taste of haiku in grade school. For mostof us, our first introduction came from reading translationsfrom the Japanese which is a bit like comparing sushi tofrozen fish sticks. Even with the knowledge of the exotic,most poets remain solidly with the meat and potatoes ofEnglish literature. It often isn't until we get older that weaccept the simple goodness and benefits of fish, adding themto the menu a little more often; maybe even buying abook.