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A long past poem as starting point

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  • A long past poem as starting point

    After reading through posted examples, I commented on one of the poems & wanted to start a new thread. Lifting my comment as a starting point:
    I feel like something very important and transcendent is happening in this thread and I just wanted to say I'm excited for the possibilities and hope to try writing like this. I'd written a long poem about 25 years ago that was exploring interplay between two different perspectives that merge by the end, and I think it would be an intellectual and poetic challenge to take this sort of parallel play and the deep subconscious connections between things to write in shorter format. It's so pure, and contains the power of more than the sum of its parts. There are the two parallel haiku, each brilliant in its own right, and then the spark between them, and also the individual sparks between adjacent lines - like the way the mind experiences the external all the while from the perspective of an internal mind with its infinite subtext of associations. I think I'll start a new thread with what I just wrote and include that longer poem I referenced, and try to go from there as a starting point to try to create this way.

    So here's the longer poem, keep in mind I was 19 when I wrote it and it's full of me trying to figure out my summer boyfriend, who was from Macedonia and had a rather dark intense personality, and I had just spent a winter holiday with him there. I had to take 3 screen shots, so at the image breaks the lines are meant to continue down from where they were even though they don't line up perfectly. To me, it illustrates the man and the place he's from and how ultimately it was this conglomeration of darkness I didn't want to be involved with romantically. I just wanted to share it as a precursor.

    Anyway I'd like to take this idea and really condense it into haiku format with two parallel lines of thought. I mean, not this exact poem, but this way of writing. Maybe if I take the idea further, a one liner at the end can merge the concepts...

    Screen Shot 2020-01-05 at 10.35.58 01-05-20.jpg
    Screen Shot 2020-01-05 at 10.36.14 01-05-20.jpg
    Screen Shot 2020-01-05 at 10.36.32 01-05-20.jpg

  • #2
    Hi Agnes, I like the lyrical quality, cadence and images of your poem. But, I’m confused about what you want to do. Are you asking others (us) for ideas on how to turn your stanzas into either sequential haiku and/or a parallel format? Or, are you just kind of musing about what you’ll present as an ongoing creative thread? You might give Clayton’s tutorials a read through to get you going:
    Last edited by Ray Caligiuri; 01-05-2020, 04:42 PM.


    • #3
      Agnes, glad you are enjoying the parallel format, Johannes has written extensively in this format, as has Hansha. Both of their voices are unique and they've found a manner in which to own this form in their own unique ways. I look forward to seeing what you come up in with exploring the idea of parallel haiku.

      Before I even found haiku, I experimented with the idea of "contrapuntal" poetry, just in the way a fugue of Bach can have multiple voices for a sense of polyphony, I wondered, how might that play out in poetry?--what would a poetic fugue look like?-- so I experimented from there.

      So it was a great pleasure when I found linked verse, in which multiple poets write in a call and response of several voices, and also the parallel haiku, where two poetic voices play against each other in a polyphonic way. It was nice to find a context and scene where some of the ideas I wanted to explore already had been strongly developed; linked verse was an instant click for me, and it sounds like parallel haiku may have that kind of appeal for you. I have written some, but I find I'm not as deft at the form as our esteemed friends.

      If you want to post new parallel poems that you want feedback/criticism for, feel free to put them in the postku workshop area. Like Ray I wasn't sure if you were just musing aloud sharing this poem, or looking for feedback. I can move it to the workshop if you're looking for in-depth criticism, but otherwise I would say you're in good company here and we all look forward to seeing where you take this.
      ghost cave i brush aside the dharma of a lobster god


      • #4
        Hi, no I'm just musing aloud, and thought I'd share this to give myself a starting point. I'm interested whether writing parallel haiku is something that's done in tandem line by line, or pairing two haiku already written together after a spark is found between them. I'm sure both ways happen.

        I have these short two that I wonder how they work together because they seem interrelated somehow. And looking over my work, I wonder how many others might go together like a fine wine & cheese?

        i turn
        into a lily


        • Ray Caligiuri
          Ray Caligiuri commented
          Editing a comment
          I don’t think it matters if the kus are new or not, just how well they work on each side and integrate together. I really like the one you’ve done which meet the criteria for me. Well done 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

        • Clayton Beach
          Clayton Beach commented
          Editing a comment
          For a parallel, like say a two part invention by Bach, there are two poetic lines, and there is the sum of both. So both sides, if read down independently, should sound like complete and separate haiku, but then if you read them together with the interruptions, the sum total should add new meanings/resonances and recontextualize the material in a way that gives several different readings/interpretations.

          Sonic Boom did a special feature on them, you can read the issue here.

      • #5
        Thanks Ray! And thanks for the further definition & Sonic Boom link Clayton.


        • jshb
          jshb commented
          Editing a comment
          Hi Agnes, for what it's worth I wrote something about how I (and that's MY way, and may not be your way) came to the decision that parallel haiku might just satisfying my own poetic "needs". In almost all of my books of parallel haiku (esp. those named Noah's Eggs there's a few pages from 2013 of what I was thinking back then. I think there's 7 books of parallels (the first one just named "Parallels). Mind you, it's only how I perceive the "form", and you might want to do something else with it. But as Clayton said: both haiku should ideally work on their own. In the later years I have "expanded" my own use of the parallel with one line of (poetic) prose or a one-line ku. Guess they're now "triptych" or "triads" (like in three notes sounding at once).

      • #6
        Hi Agnes,

        When you wrote:
        "Anyway I'd like to take this idea and really condense it into haiku format with two parallel lines of thought. I mean, not this exact poem, but this way of writing."

        I thought it would be playful as an experiment to take a stanza, see what happens. For example:

        Crisp black (Agnes).png
        This is not to say the poem works! And the 'voices' (I think of them as voices) in (the) parallelism are taken from what seems a single voice (first stanza) in your poem. I like your poem, am reminded of the Kalevala. Anyway, the notion is that in parallel structure it seems any notion of voice can be cloned, fractled, twinned, conjoined, spiralled (as a caduceus). I'm not sure how the brevity of a parallel in the haikai-related world could or would easily extend into a longer form. Perhaps the formal repetition at length would get tiring, so you might change it up. When I read parallels, their brevity has a pleasing succinctness. It seems a point is made, or a notion is (finally) posed -- rather than a narrative begun which will be linguistically extending on the page, as a story.

        There is a tension, more evident to me, in the parallel form, between discursiveness/story and the 'empty-form' of the disjunctive cut. Arguably a parallel cuts more than a haiku, due to the broken voices/objective layout; on the other hand it's longer and a sense of dual narrative has to build up for it to speak dually. If you see what I mean: you need more more there. And that means a greater sense of narrative -- which takes you into an extension, a move into the short-poem form -- a short poem, yet haiku-extensible.

        One concept I conjecture: the (parallel) poem must not be two. Neither one. The two (voices/vertical columns) create appositional tension and reading dyslexia. How? What? is this coincidence, collision, collusion. canalling, causative caterwauling? That's the breaks; how rides then the togetherness, the conjoining? As you extend the narrative (length) the form slips further in to the familiar elegiac-confessional poetic format, and the multiplicity of disjunction -- the paradoxical challenges to semantic sense, will likely recede. And the danger here is you get a derivative poem that's "techniquey." Or effete. There needs to be power and impact in the parallel, given what the reader must go through. And if you just want two poetic voices why not write a screenplay?

        Or (a big -or), you could write an extended parallel (in that form) in which the reader (i.e. the logical style of the text) retains degrees of ambivalence/multi-valence; keeping the reader juggling, keeping all the balls in the air, landing now and again on what seems to be a hand of sense. This longer poem might make a good poem. I think we can find many contemporary poems that, if not strictly in parallel form, do create a duality of strongly separated voices that only touch through the force of reading -- of the demandingly, maddeningly concise habit of reading left to right and back again, down the page.

        In her longer poems, Emily Dickinson approaches a multi-voiced (not exactly parallel, but close) narrative valence, haiku-extensible. So many long-dashed gaps, jumps, crevices, image shifts. Yet narrative as well. Her works often possess a genius that may speak to the new.