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haiku commentary ~ Jacob Salzer

haiku


how many
become one
sound of rain

          — Jacob Salzer, Frogpond 38.3

I have a particular fondness for line-break – perhaps because I came to haiku from writing free-verse where line-break is the principal structuring tool. But it’s still something that matters to me in constructing haiku, although I approach it with a lighter touch to avoid any overly dramatic effect that a longer poem might be able to carry and dilute.

And it was the idea of line-break that immediately hit me when I first read Salzer’s haiku, on the page and out loud… the idea that the haiku would work as well without any:

how many become one sound of rain
The haiku’s theme of oneness, alongside the option for the reader to pause in multiple places to play with the sense of what Salzer is saying, make it perfect for the monostich form. BUT… that’s not what Salzer chose to do so instead of simply imposing myself on the poem I want to look deeper and appreciate the author’s intention.

The line-breaks definitely …