Basement Haiku Noir
a slant of sunlight
on my basement window sill
the dead fly
Here is an excerpt from my Lynx interview with Jane Reichhold
Jane Reichhold: Recently you were working with 'darker themes' in your haiku. Why did you want to do this? And how did it work out for you? Do we need to enlarge the subject matter used in the Japanese genres?
Chen-ou Liu: I've been writing a series of haiku noir on darker themes, such as sudden death, suicide, psychiatric illness, violence, homelessness, alienation, estrangement, racism, rape, …etc. I've had first-hand or second-hand experiences of dealing with most of them (note: a haiku noir is a narrative haiku, i.e. a cinematically dark flash non/fiction in verse) .
I am most influenced by Takuboku's conception of 'poems to eat.' He defined them as 'poems written without putting any distance from actual life, ...and they are not delicacies, or dainty dishes, but food indispensable for us in our daily meal.'
In terms of dealing with one's dark moments, the difference between poets and other people is that poets can convey their feelings through poetry. As Graham Greene stresses, 'writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those, who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear, which is inherent in [that] human condition.'
Every time when I put my tangled feelings, stress, or anxiety on paper, I feel relief in the moment. Especially when writing about dark moments, I connect them to the feelings of the past and of the present, and in doing so, it enables me to discover the wholeness of things and the connectedness of human experience. This view of writing about dark moments as a way of healing is well explored in Louise DeSalvo's Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our stories Transforms Our Lives. My review of this book can be accessed at http: //scr.bi/owyOEI.
As for enlarging the subject matter used in English language haiku, I think there is an urgent need to do so. most English language haiku are based on a narrower definition of haiku. Professor Haruo Shirane discusses this in his famous essay, titled 'Beyond the Haiku Moment: Basho, Buson and Modern Haiku Myths: ' 'English-language anthologies of haiku are overwhelmingly set in country or natural settings even though ninety percent of the haiku poets actually live in urban environments. This would seem to discourage haiku poets from writing serious poetry on the immediate urban environment or broader social issues.'
His essay reminds me of Shiki's, titled 'Haiku on Excrement, ' about discovering - or rediscovering - beauty in excrement. In the essay, Shiki demonstrates that the old masters had great capabilities of producing beauty out of ugly material, 'citing 41 poems (most of them haiku) on feces,18 on urine,4 on farts,24 on toilets, and 21 on loincloths.' In the concluding section, he makes clear that he is not particularly fond of writing haiku on excrement; but he mainly uses this topic as an example to show how the poet can explore a wide range of themes (Makoto Ueda, Modern Japanese Poets and the Nature of Literature, pp.29-30)
I identify with Shiki's approach to writing haiku. Most of darker themes in my recent haiku are, directly and indirectly, related to urban life issues that are experienced by all of us and covered by media on a daily basis. For me, they are legitimate subject matters for haiku writing....
Read the full text at, http: //www.ahapoetry.com/ahalynx/272interviews.html
Chenou Liu's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (Basement Haiku Noir by Chenou Liu )
- An ugly sniper, MOHAMMAD SKATI
- AAA, Vera Sidhwa
- my love to you is simple, James Berth
- Ebola, Stephen Wylie
- To the occupied lands' people, MOHAMMAD SKATI
- colorblind, James Berth
- Why Didn't They Meet?, Lora Colon
- Longing for Love, Brenda Harris
- closed shop, lee fones
- Gentle Night The wick Has Burned, Is It Poetry
Poem of the Day
- 04 Tongues Made Of Glass, Shaun Shane
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
- Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
- Eat That Pussy, Anuj Tikku
- Daffodils, William Wordsworth
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
- "Hope" is the thing with feathers, Emily Dickinson
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)
- Heather Burns
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)