Wednesday, September 03, 2003

  Graphomaniacs everywhere love to pen haikus. Few adhere to original guidelines for form, flow, and content. Fewer still sprout verses that are memorable and clever. But the activity is often engaging, entertaining and wholesome. Innovative approaches to haiku that stretch and remold the practice of poetizing are especially peculiar. Here are two examples of haiku's latest incarnations.

Haikoo.Com is described by its creator, Joanna Briggs, as "an internet directory that mimics the structure and architecture of Yahoo! While Yahoo uses 25 words to describe web sites, Haikoo uses seventeen syllables and the format of haiku poetry to describe sites. Similar to Yahoo, users submit links with descriptions that are approved by an administrator before publication on the site." The idea is spiffy, though the undertaking seems to have stalled in the early stages. Pickings are slim, and witty entries are far between. Nevertheless, the idea is a lot of fun, and the project has much potential, in the right hands. (via Reflections in d minor)

Haikoo Directory
Home-Social Science-Site Listings for Social Science

Their language was hope
For neutrality in speech
But more speak Klingon.
Haikoo Directory
Home-Entertainment-Movies-Site Listings for Movies and Film

A party with a
Vegetarian in fur,
poison and a knife.
Honku.Org is the brainchild of Aaron Naparstek, a Brooklynite who turned to haiku as a way of combating pestering sounds tooted by raging drivers crawling through traffic in his neighborhood. The first verse, taped to a lamppost, spurred a local movement of like-minded anti-honk haiku fanatics. Words on the phenomenon soon spread to the media, a book followed shortly thereafter. Honku has since evolved to poetry about cars and traffic in general. The notion, again, is marvelous and constructive. However, I've had trouble finding even a couple of genuinely interesting examples online. Perhaps Naparstek's book is more abundant. Here's a glimpse:

Need a few days off
after Sunday night drive from
the vacation house.
-- Aaron Naparstek

For a substantially more sublime and humbling experience, see Children's Haiku Garden, a site with poetry and illustrations by children.
Sean Engstrom, grade 10, School of the Arts, Rochester, NY

the child waves
every ten seconds
-- Will Brideau, grade 9, School of the Arts, Rochester, NY

Finally, if all of the above doesn't satisfy your craving for wordplay, consider "Passing Gas", a photographic glorification of quirkily named small-town America. Gary Gladstone's project will acquaint you with residents of such charming locales as Ding Dong (TX), Good Grief (ID), Knockemstiff (OH), Scratch Ankle (AL), Stinking Point (VA) and so on. The pictures are punchy, hearty, and bubbling. This hee-hawing and spirited compilation will make for chuckles and good spirits galore.

"Intercourse, Alabama.
Nancy B. Ezell, widow"
Gary Gladstone
"Sweetlips, Tennessee.
J.C. Pickett, surveyor, construction worker"
Gary Gladstone

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