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tiny words: big appreciation

It's always encouraging to have a haiku chosen for tiny words and satisfying to have comments of appreciation posted there too. But when someone takes the time to analyse and dissect your haiku with insight and eloquence, and share that response, then that makes your appearance in the online journal even more worthwhile.

Many thanks to Strider, Haiku Apprentice at Learning Haiku by Reading and Doing for taking the time to respond to my haiku on 31st July 2013.

tinted mirror
what I think
I believe

-Lynne Rees

'Wow, another haiku poem that raises and sets me pondering philosophical issues. Or should I say, "confronting" those issues. Because the "mirror" mentioned in the work confronts us all every day, with apparent certainty. Who am I? What face do I present to the world? And for that matter, what is "the world"? This is literally an "existential" haiku!

This poem seems to deliberately set up an echo to Descartes' famous "Cogito ergo sum" - "I think therefore I am". For me, Lynne Rees appears to be challenging me to recognize that our other mirrors may also be "tinted". How do we know? What do we think? What do we believe about the world?

What we "believe" about ourself, our appearance, we usually judge by means of a mirror - even though intellectually we "know" of course that everything is in reverse. So when shown a picture of ourself in a photograph we experience with something like shock the revelation of what we "really" look like.

So for me, this poem is almost like a zen zazen, a challenge - and also a means - to balance our left and right brains. Our left hemisphere breaks reality into pieces - like shards of glass; it focuses on and manipulates "facts" and "data". The right hemisphere by contrast works to integrate these into wholes; into fully comprehensible pictures of reality. So which side of the mirror is real?

This poem leaves me unsettled. There is no final answer. Like those parallel mirrors in which I see myself reflected endlessly into the distance, this poem, and these philosophical questions, recur endlessly. The writing and the reading, the poet and the reader, are the mirror images. Which side knows? Which side believes?

Ah, wonderful!


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What happens when haiku happen

I'm delighted to post Paul Griffiths' account of a course held at Ty Newydd, near Criccieth, North Wales at the beginning of May. 'Haiku: Writing from Life and the Landscape' ran from 9th to 11th May, 2014 and it was a joy to lead. Please, join us, vicariously, for the weekend.
Haiku and haibun at Tŷ Newydd Writers’ Centre
This is an account of my participation in a weekend of discussing and writing haiku and haibun in a course on the theme, Haiku: Writing from Life and Landscape, held at Tŷ Newydd Writers’ Centre, Llanystumdwy, near Criccieth, Gwynedd, Wales, in May 2014.
Tŷ Newydd (The New House) is an old, beautiful building, looking across fields to the sea, a short walk away. David Lloyd George (1863-1945) grew up in Llanystumdwy and returned to the village in his last years, where Tŷ Newydd was redesigned for him by Clough Williams-Ellis (1883-1978), creator of Portmeirion village. Lloyd George’s grave, also designed by Williams-Ellis, stands close to the house, i…

In Interview with Jeffrey Woodward at Haibun Today

The Hungry Writer: An Interview with Lynne Rees
Lynne Rees started working with haiku forms in 2006, was haibun editor at Simply Haiku in 2008 and 2009, and co-editor, with Jo Pacsoo, of the British Haiku Society's Haibun Anthology, The Unseen Wind (2010). In 2011, she jointly edited, along with Nigel Jenkins and Ken Jones, another country, haiku poetry from Wales. Lynne has also published Learning How to Fall (poetry, 2005), The Oven House (novel, 2008), Messages (flash fiction collaboration with Sarah Salway, 2008), forgiving the rain (haibun, 2012) and Real Port Talbot (travel guide, local history & memoir, 2013).
JW: Let me ask first, with your permission, about your personal background. You come from Wales and I wonder what influence, if any, this circumstance had on your literary development and interests. The population of Wales is small when measured on the world's scale and Welsh history and culture are unique. Was a Welsh sensibility or identity formative for you …