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Sunday, March 09, 2014

Negative space in haiku: Writing Poetry: the haiku way request for examples

Dear Haiku Poets,

I'm looking for good examples of haiku utilising negative space aka whitespace/white space where the haiku is strong on implication, and the reader is invited to "join up the dots" as a fellow poet, not as a passive observer. 

This is for both an article in progress, and for my book Writing Poetry: the haiku way.

Often when we talk to each other we don't feel the need to spell everything out, and carrying that over into haiku poetry is an effective device. Alan Summers

"There is always the verbal equivalent of negative space in good haiku…"  Violette Rose-Jones

Here’s one from Jean Jorgensen from The Touch of a Moth: 35th Annual Haiku Canada Members' Anthology, page 115

he ties one hole
to another – fisherman
mending his nets

The Touch of a Moth: 35th Annual Haiku Canada Members' Anthology  The Touch of a Moth Edited by Claudia Coutu Radmore and Marco Fraticelli

Negative space needn't always be just the use of white space in breaking up the visible text.  It can be the way that a haiku uses its two parts to approach a subject by not directly mentioning it.

Haiku need not name the subject/topic directly. 

Stella Pierides has this to say about negative space in haiku:

My own favorite aspect of negative space is the 'hole' / empty space in the middle of the poem. Whatever form it takes, incl. punctuation and empty space(s), it gives the reader space through which to enter the poem and create meaning. You may be interested in Moore's and Hepworth's 'holes' in sculptures, also Fontana's 'holes', slashes' and 'gushes' in his paintings and sculpture (his Spatialism)

Although I think that all haiku utilizing a good enough cut would serve as examples, here are some of my haiku linked to themes of absence, cut, identity etc.

Stella Pierides

granny's cushion -
pulling the darkness out
pin by pin

Stella Pierides
In the Garden of Absence, Neusaess: Fruit Dove Press, 2012

between folding
and unfolding -
a dove

Stella Pierides
Publication credit: Bottle Rockets #26, February 2012

I would love to receive examples that show this aspect clearly and cleanly, making use of juxtaposition and/or disjunctive techniques, and 'the unwritten text' in parallel with the 'visible text' of the poem.

Also, the article in progress which has this current working title:

Travelling the thin white expanse #2:
The kindly elephant: 

Those other words in haiku inbetween written text

The article will cover aspects such as the leap in haiku, juxtaposition, disjunctive methods, and negative space.

So it's not so much the elephant in the room...

What do you consider an example of negative space in your own haiku?  

Haiku can be emailed to:

Leaving things out is as potent as negative space (whitespace/white space): 

Ganesha's moon
the cabbie’s last customer
smells of mint tea

Alan Summers

Publication Credits: 
brass bell: a haiku journal (November 2014); Miriam’s Well: Poetry, Land Art, and Beyond (Miriam Sagan's blog 2015

Forgotten rain
the wedding ring left
in a doll’s house

Alan Summers

Publication Credit: Asahi Shimbun (Japan, 2014)

Should everything be spelt out and dictated to a reader, or should we delight that a reader will throw themselves into the poem so much they add whatever they consider to be missing information between the two parts of the tiny haiku poem?

I'm a haiku writer who feels honoured if a reader adds their own life experiences to a poem of mine that only shows half a story.

Complementary to negative space is my white echoes and implication article: 

Haiku: The Art of Implication over Explication by Alan Summers

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