Haiku, Kigo and the English Language
#1
Hey, folks, I'm looking for some opinions on what is considered Kigo In the English language. Is it a seasonal word that is translated from the Japanese or any word that can be justified as seasonal? Is there a specific list of accepted kigo in Japanese? If so, what impact does it have on English haiku?

I started writing haiku with a reference to nature, not a specific word in mind. I particularly like tanka but I should probably improve my haiku with what I've learned since joining this site before resuming tanka play.

Any and all haiku/kigo views, links, suggested reading would be appreciated.

If my questions are too specific feel free to ramble, any thoughts on the subject are are welcome.
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#2
as far as i know it's a representational word for a season. there's a big big list somewhere for Japanese kigo but in general it can something associated with a particular season, ie; frogsborn, lamb cuckoo high rivers.

it has no bearing apart from being a seasonal word. english is english and japanese is japanese, it a bit like comparing the apple to the orange syndrome. it can't be done. the rules are more or less a translation a bit of jiggary pokery and a hammer to squeeze it into english we have some yosa no buson who wrote a fair few haiku (japanese style) here
and some Matsuo Basho haiku here
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#3
(09-23-2014, 11:15 PM)billy Wrote:  as far as i know it's a representational word for a season. there's a big big list somewhere for Japanese kigo but in general it can something associated with a particular season, ie; frogsborn, lamb cuckoo high rivers.

it has no bearing apart from being a seasonal word. english is english and japanese is japanese, it a bit like comparing the apple to the orange syndrome. it can't be done. the rules are more or less a translation a bit of jiggary pokery and a hammer to squeeze it into english we have some yosa no buson who wrote a fair few haiku (japanese style) here
and some Matsuo Basho haiku here

thee is also this thread, if the pdf doesn't work there should be enough info to see the document online.
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#4
(09-23-2014, 11:26 PM)billy Wrote:  
(09-23-2014, 11:15 PM)billy Wrote:  as far as i know it's a representational word for a season. there's a big big list somewhere for Japanese kigo but in general it can something associated with a particular season, ie; frogsborn, lamb cuckoo high rivers.

it has no bearing apart from being a seasonal word. english is english and japanese is japanese, it a bit like comparing the apple to the orange syndrome. it can't be done. the rules are more or less a translation a bit of jiggary pokery and a hammer to squeeze it into english we have some yosa no buson who wrote a fair few haiku (japanese style) here
and some Matsuo Basho haiku here

thee is also this thread, if the pdf doesn't work there should be enough info to see the document online.


the japanese season words - here
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#5
There are extensive lists of what are considered to be accepted kigo and I did have a couple of them saved but got rid of them because it just didn't seem the right way to go about writing haiku. The trouble with most of the lists is that they are what the Japanese would consider to be kigo and therefore the cultural and historical reasons for some choices aren't always known by people of other languages. For instance I know that the moon is japanese kigo for autumn which I often find strange because it is possible to see the moon at any time of year. So is it possible to write a spring haiku that features the moon? I know that the Japanese use 'milky way' also as an autumn kigo but this is because that is the time of year that it is most visible. It then seems that haiku almost becomes a secret code that is only understood by a few and some will point out what they see as mistakes or deficiencies in others haikus, which to me seems to go against the very nature of haiku.
I do think that there should be some kind of reference to a season and a reference to nature, but I think that they are dependant upon the writers location and perception of the things around. It seems that a lot of haiku are judged from a Japanese perspective, but in the same way that over time people realised that a counting 5-7-5 syllables was not an accurate representation of haiku then also kigo should be given the same possibility of adapting to suit the writer.
For instance 'fogglethorpe' who has written some excellent haikus on this site always said that where he lived there were really only two seasons so for his haiku to be judged from the Japanese perspective of 4 distinct seasons would be unfair.
I think that rules are there to be broken and adapted and can be done so in an imaginative way whilst still being respectful to the origins of haiku, although there will be some purists who will never be fully satisfied unless there are frogs and cherry blossoms in abundance.
The one question I have asked in the past was whether it was acceptable to name a month in a haiku and therefore referencing a season, because I can't recall any traditional haiku that have done this, in fact I think I've only seen it once and that was by Jack Kerouac. It would seem an obvious option sometimes for a kigo, but it also seems like an easy option that could be viewed as unimaginative.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_kigo this is wikis list of kigo and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kigo this is there kigo page which tells what a kigo is and gives specific dates for when seasons occur although you will find that they are very Japanese centred. And http://worldkigodatabase.blogspot.co.uk/ this is one I've just found that has regional kigo and looks quite interesting at first glance.

Mark
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#6
I agree with the fact that rules need to be broken. And sometimes sticking to rules is kind of restrictive.

Where I live too there are just two seasons, monsoon and summer and I have never experienced spring or autumn in the real sense to know what exactly they are.
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#7
it's a given that the seasonal word can be connected to a certain area, the Sahara or Gobi would use dessert related kigo as would winnipeg or newyork. to do so isn't something i see as rule breaking. in the Philippines where i live we have the rainy and the non rainy seasons and that it. the thing is, many write haiku outside their country (about frogs and ponds and willows and cherry trees. in these case the poem has to work (i think)

let's face it, it isn't hard to come up with a seasonal word wherever you live.
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#8
watching
over the lambs ~
eagles
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#9
feats of seasonal flow
Basho (surely he'd know)
where our kigo should go
Henry David Thoreau?
(in our secret tableau)
lists of words row on row
bird, frog, flower, and crow
on our haiku plateau

look

it's

Mount Fuji's snow
almost terse
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#10
It's snow joking matter don't you know,
cherry blossoms, full moons, downtown tokyo,
flutter byes, dragon flies, toxic skies and co.
slugs, bugs, red raw lugs, mugs of hot cocoa,
growing grass, glowing lass, 10 degrees below,
milky way way over my head or is it a U.F.O?
frozen loch, heat wave shock, lazy cock forgot to crow,
grapes on the vine, dry white wine, mine's a red bordeaux,
bell ringing monks all aglow, smelly singing drunks full of woe,
haggis running to and fro, crack huntsmen crying tallyho,
water towers, counting the hours sunflowers by Vincent Van Gogh,
a frog, a bear, a big yellow bird, Oh Oh that's the muppet show not kigo.
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#11
Big Grin Big Grin

Thanks for all the interesting responses. I've been thinking of the why of kigo and I've come to its ability to bring the reader to a specific time/place, to invoke a memory that sits in the reader that will bring him halfway to where the poet is. The lists seem pretty meaningless to me, including everything or using 2 English words to define one Japanese word.

So I think I'll chuck the list and make sure there's a least one word that performs the trick.

From what I understand a haiku ideally pivots on the second line, tanka again on the third. Do you think the dash after the second line is needed, or nice? Should the reader automatically see the turn without it?
billy wrote:welcome to the site. make it your own, wear it like a well loved slipper and wear it out. ella pleads:please click forum titles for posting guidelines, important threads. New poet? Try Poetic DevicesandWard's Tips

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#12
(09-25-2014, 03:32 AM)ellajam Wrote:  Big Grin Big Grin
Thanks for all the interesting responses. I've been thinking of the why of kigo
and I've come to its ability to bring the reader to a specific time/place, to
invoke a memory that sits in the reader that will bring him halfway to where
the poet is. The lists seem pretty meaningless to me, including everything or
using 2 English words to define one Japanese word.

So I think I'll chuck the list and make sure there's a least one word that
performs the trick.

From what I understand a haiku ideally pivots on the second line, tanka again
on the third. Do you think the dash after the second line is needed, or nice?
Should the reader automatically see the turn without it?

The season word lists can get pretty ridiculous. Personally, I like to use
them (though I don't feel bound follow them). Here's a favorite of mine.
It doesn't go all crazy listing a zillion and it's all on one page so you can
use your browser's 'find' to search:

Yuki Teikei Haiku Society Kigo List

Haiku can pivot at the end of the first line or the second line, or BOTH
(my absolute favorites). When both there's no dash. The dash, btw, is always
optional. A well-composed haiku doesn't usually need one.

*BOTH usually involves using the whole second line as a pivot, i.e. the haiku
makes sense with the second line in the first part or the second part.
(The second line can be a single word as well.) The effect is a little like
enjambment; in that you think it means one thing, then you find out it means
another or both.

Example of a haiku with a pivot line:

white crane flying
through the mist
an autumn moon


white crane flying through the mist
an autumn moon

white crane flying
through the mist an autumn moon

It also equates the white crane with the autumn moon as they are both white and
both seen through the mist. This is not necessary when using a pivot line.
The ancient Japanese term fot this is 'double whammy'.

This is also an example of an improper haiku in that haiku should never use more
than one kigo. Which is pretty STUPID as this would rule out a haiku having
both a frog (spring) and a lily (summer). Yes, stupid, not in the spirit of haiku imho.
almost terse
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#13
Well, I got a good laugh on the double whammy which stopped cold on the no two season words. Again we come to non-Japanese seasons. Where I live waterlilies appearing are a sure sign of spring and the frog chorus on a summer night fills the humid air. And an early morning frog on a lily pad is a fun sight that is only missing during winter.

Why to you feel it's best to stick with separation that doesn't happen naturally?
billy wrote:welcome to the site. make it your own, wear it like a well loved slipper and wear it out. ella pleads:please click forum titles for posting guidelines, important threads. New poet? Try Poetic DevicesandWard's Tips

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#14
(09-25-2014, 06:12 AM)ellajam Wrote:  Well, I got a good laugh on the double whammy which stopped cold on the no two season words. Again we come to non-Japanese seasons. Where I live waterlilies appearing are a sure sign of spring and the frog chorus on a summer night fills the humid air. And an early morning frog on a lily pad is a fun sight that is only missing during winter.

Why to you feel it's best to stick with separation that doesn't happen naturally?

I don't think it's best which is why I think it's stupid.

I think the main spirit behind all this is to root the haiku in just one time.
Having more than one goes against the (supposed) simplicity of haiku.
That seems reasonable and can be done without assigning rigid season-meanings
to words; especially when no one agrees on which go where.

So what you originally said is pretty much what I believe as well.
Haiku is fun(ny).
Ray
almost terse
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#15
sometimes i use the dash sometimes i don't. i see no problem having more than one seasonal word mainly because it's impossible to know all the seasonal words out there that and the fact different places have different seasons.
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#16
There is this whole modern haiku thing whereby the haikus have nothing to do with nature. It's everywhere on tumblr.
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#17
they're other places also, it's like a 10 line sonnet, it not a sonnet, it's a ten line sonnet and a different thing altogether. a poetry form has a set of rules (though some may be cloudy) once you create a new set of rule you end up with a new poetry form. i see it as disingenuous to call it the same name. often because the person is incapable of sticking to a given form. (of course some are just breaking boundaries while using the same form name....which in itself seems to be a bit conformist for the purpose.
why not call it by a different name. the reason i say this is that pretty soon those who want to use the seasonal word won't know of it's use.

english haiku separate the old form from the new, why not name the new haiku that doesn't use the same rules as neo haiku or something else.
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#18
'Post Haiku-ists', 'Modern Haiku-ists', and 'Neo Haiku-ists'. Seems like you've just stumbled upon the reason for Christianity's split into a gazillion factions.

Anyway, back to seasonal words, I do think that in the right context many words can become seasonal. Haze, sweat, and sleepy are a few examples.
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#19
I've always wondered why Australians can't write proper haiku; it begins to dawn.

----------------

I have found (on wiki, of course) my favorite seasons:

Modern mid-latitude ecological:
Prevernal, Vernal, Estival, Serotinal, Autumnal, Hibernal

We could abbreviate them to: P V E S A H and use one of them
instead of the dash(or put at the beginning) Call them season letters.
Nice and simple.

Consider me
As one who loved poetry S
And persimmons

- Shiki
almost terse
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