April 17, International Haiku Poetry Day, can ironically be a hard day to discover true haiku on Twitter, where #NationalHaikuDay is currently the second highest trending term in the United States. Browse the hashtag and you’ll see what I mean: nothing but three-line, 17-syllable arrangements of prose — party tricks by the least clever people at a party.
So I thought I’d share this animated text experiment by Jim Kacian, editor/publisher of Red Moon Press and head of The Haiku Foundation, to push back against widespread misconceptions of the genre. Though more serious viewers might find that some of the font and animation choices border on cheesiness, to me, the irreverence is part of the charm (not to mention an essential feature of haiku/hokku since the 17th century). And the playfulness is in service to a pretty important lesson about modern haiku, as the description suggests:
Jim Kacian takes the Rorschach Test and makes his results public.
Pareidolia is the the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist, as in considering the moon to have human features. In this short film, poet Jim Kacian explores the relationship between the images of the famous Rorschach Inkblot Test and multi-stop monoku — one-line haiku with several possible interpretations. Music composed by Erik Satie, arranged and realized by the Camarata Contemporary Chamber Orchestra.
First screened for HaikuLife, the Haiku Film Festival held during International Haiku Poetry Day, April 17, 2016.
Jim Kacian riffs on the famous Wallace Stevens poem, but in visual terms, featuring variants on an original theme. Filmed on Moosehead Lake, Maine, in 2016 and presented here during HaikuLife 2017, part of International Haiku Poetry Day, an initiative of The Haiku Foundation, held 17 April 2017.
That’s from the Haiku Foundation’s HaikuLife 2017 page, which also presents a companion video:
While creating 13 Ways of Looking at a Haiku for HaikuLife 2017, Jim Kacian became addicted to the anagrammatic possibilities of his “seed poem”. Here are 13 of what he feels are the best variations (he warns that many others are possible).
Jim Kacian is one of the most prominent practitioners and publishers in the modern (gendai) English-language haiku scene. It’s great to see him taking such an innovative approach to haiku videopoetry here. Most haiku videos on YouTube and Vimeo are intensely conservative and boring, in my opinion, featuring little of the creative disjunction for which modern haiku is known.