viernes, 9 de junio de 2017

Contributor for re:Virals #91

This week's poem was

the space
between the deer
and the shot

— Raymond Roseliep, Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years (W. W. Norton, 2013)

To which I responded with the following:

"The end of the first line in this poem creates the first space, with the word “space” itself. We pause like patient hunters of poems, waiting for our prey to come into the line of fire — except we are not yet aware that that this is a hunt, and that we are part of it. We are, as readers, unsuspecting deer — momentarily suspended. Now, at the end of the second line, we become deer. Then we reach the climax in the last line, which artfully falls (like many great Japanese haiku) on the very final word, “shot,” which sends us now back to relive the moment, to watch the story unfold with a new objectivity. We have become the hunter. And the deer.
And we become everything in between.
We can observe the space — both physical and temporal — that separates the hunter and the animal.
The tendency of Japanese haiku to hinge on the last word is partly linguistic, as Japanese can easily form sentences where all the elements that come before the final word are modifiers. (It is noteworthy that many great translations of haiku invert the line order, so that what typically appears in the last line of a Japanese haiku, is generally moved to the front in the English translation.) This poem is not an example of that linguistic piling-up, but it does, however, take up that structural feature — so frequent in haiku — of saving the key element until the very end, and in this way makes us active participants in the unfolding of a drama.
Great haiku are like world-activating devices, giving birth to the so-called 10,000 things of the Tao Te Ching, usually by focusing on very specific moments, fragments, which nevertheless give us a sense that we are glimpsing a mere part of some unified whole. And so every time we read this seemingly unsentimental poem, set in what may be an indifferent universe, we are giving birth to the 10,000 things, and we can imagine the myriad sights, sounds, and sensations that go unnamed — in the space between the deer and the shot."

As this week’s winner, Danny gets to select the next poem, which you’ll find below.

boy smashing dandelions
with a stick.

— Jack Kerouac, American Haikus (1959)

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