Haiku Poetics via Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami 📚
Octopus flesh, faintly red, the roaring sea
The roaring sea, octopus flesh, faintly red
“It’s Basho," Sensei said.
You could say that the haiku we have written together is based on Basho’s haiku. It has an interesting broken meter. “The darkening sea, faintly white, a wild duck calls” doesn’t work, because this way “faintly white” carries over to both the sea and the duck’s call. When it comes at the end, it brings the whole haiku to life. Do you understand? See?
A(n About This) Poem I Like: on Near the Shrine of Saint Naum by Najwan Darwish:
Revelations have their concealed elements as well. I’m very skeptical about this habit (largely an American one) that poets have of talking about their poems at readings, as the poet becomes a kind of salesperson who talks about the product/poem before reading it. Would poetry readers truly care if I said that this poem resists holiness as authority and tries to suggest something more humanized? When a poet talks about their text, no matter what they say, it can be enough to ruin it—and it appears I’ve managed to do this in the lines above.
the poem is good too
From Matthew Zapruder’s intro to The Best American Poetry 2022, via Poet to Poet, on the role of the poet:
Poets are constantly breaking the rules, to reveal what should be considered beautiful and therefore worth preserving. Which means that the most important elements of the best poems might not be immediately understood as poetry. The inclusion of these disparate, unpredictable, misbehaving elements in the same space expands our sense of what is possible.
(Minimalist) Writing lessons by way of Tom Spanbauer and Gordon Lish:
You may not use thought-verbs. You have to externalize externalize everything the way an actor would, so the thought, the realization, the epiphany occurs within the reader. You can’t dictate emotion like that.
It’s about staying away from abstractions…You can’t say “he was a 6-foot tall man”…because a 6-foot tall man is somebody different to everyone who meets him. So, when your character says “he was 6-feet tall” you’re losing an incredible chance of describing—giving to the reader—how the character perceives a 6-foot tall man.
Typically, when people are talking, they don’t use abstractions. When they’re telling a story, they are using a much more intuitive way of describing things that is really linked to their experience. And that’s what you’re listening for, the way that the people describe things in, what Gordon Lish would call “burnt tongue,” this kind of inexact, awkward, ineloquent way of saying something. That says it in a new, fresh way, but also implies the emotion behind the story.
A story that’s told really beautifully and smoothly and elegantly, does not carry a lot of honesty or emotion. Doesn’t imply the kind of stress that’s behind the story.
So you’re looking for ways of kind of reinventing storytelling—and reinventing reading—so that reader’s have that fantastic excitement that you first had in first or second grade, once you figured it out and you could follow these symbols. You want to not just tell a story, you want to completely reinvent the act of reading, every. single. time.
from Chuck Palahniuk on the Tim Ferriss podcast (about the 12:28 mark)