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(Haiku is simple to read but difficult to write. I was introduced and immediately attracted to this form a couple of years back. Though whenever I tried to write one the stalwarts bluntly told me that it was anything else but haiku. To get a fair idea of what haiku is all about I kept on bothering the best known haijins of this country, lucky that I came across them and they so indulgently gave in to my innumerable queries and countless questions. As it is an experiential form of poetry one has to be initiated into the world of haiku in a gradual and guided manner. However, my hiccups over haiku came to a sudden halt as I came across a few books on the subject. I am thankful to those who directed me to these treasure troves. One such priceless find is ‘Naad Anunaad’ about which this post is all about)  

I was wondering whether it was proper to write about a book which I was in the middle of. But then there are certain books which you can never finish reading and keep referring back because of their Biblical proportion in terms of their  encompass, the enormity of content and what they teach you without attempting to do so. And then there are those wave-like feelings which rise within you when you come across creations of exquisite beauty! Yes, this was my experience when I was going through “Naad Anunaad”,  a collection of 746 contemporary world haiku penned by 231 writers from 26 different countries, edited by the internationally acclaimed haiku poetess, Kala Ramesh assisted by Sanjukta Asopa, a well-known journalist and haiku poet and  Shloka Shankar, a freelance, writer, poet and visual artist from Bangalore.

This triveni of haiku exponents have created a tome-like referral (not in terms of size but again content) for all haiku learners and lovers across the world.

The book begins thus: “In Sanskrit, the primordial sound in the cosmos, referred to metaphorically as AUM, is known as naad, and its resonance as anunaad.…..In silences between notes, between words, between lines, the emotion that arises is known as Rasa – the aesthetic essence – which gives poetry, music or dance, a much greater sense of depth and resonance.”  This is also that defines the ethos of the book itself.

Haiku are word paintings. In film jargon, we could refer to them as shots frozen in time.” The images absorbed by our indriyas (five senses) are momentary, therefore, ephemeral. Haiku intend to immortalize these trickles of time. These Japanese form of short verses conventionally adhere to the 5-7-5 syllabic meter.  However, the word limit is not an encumbrance but an enhancer. Come to think of it, how can you imprison a moment of exquisite beauty within the bounds of verbosity? Words fail when you confront the beauty of truth. The minimalism in haiku, thus, belies the resonance of epiphany therein.

I dip my feet

in a river the river

joins the sea

  • Kala Ramesh

falling blossoms

the breath between what was

and what will be

-Kala Ramesh

The resonance of haiku is a derivative of what remains unsaid between the words said. These silences between the words and between the lines and between the images lend endless scope for personalized interpretation as well as introspection.

the ocean in a raindrop inside my womb a heart

-Kala Ramesh

after the rain

in each hanging droplet

the world upside down

-Kahinath Karmakar

deafening rain_______

to think of it has no sound

of its own

-Kashinath Karmakar

Needless to say, its zen-like quality which compels an awareness of the moment, haiku are therefore never in the past tense. And how can one visualize the larger picture if one is not deeply entrenched in the very now ______

rippling laughter

face to face with myself

on water

-Minal Sarosh

For me, haiku is nostalgia personified. The beauty of resonance is in its ringing pathos. The form eloquently brings forth what was, what is and what will not be….. and that is the reason why perhaps one can never get over a haiku…it deftly holds on to the wispiness inherent in the cosmos…..a wondrous feat in terms of word capture, to say the least…

autumn morning____

my shadow now

has a slight hunch

-Kumarendra Mallick

autumn wind

the slant in the handwriting

of my former self

-Polona Oblak

It is difficult to address the idea of abstraction in haiku as its dominant visual impact apparently overshadows the subliminal terrain which philosophises the futility of life.

between the sky

and the spin of the earth

this falling leaf

-Laryalee (Larry) Fraser

The esoteric splendour of haiku is in the interplay of sharp contrasts. The contradictions of Nature and the paradoxes of life delicately balanced on the fulcrum of unfailing precision and undiluted crispness.

this puddle

what my paper boat knows

of the sea

-Sanjukta Asopa

the gravedigger staring

into space

then back at the grave

-Rebecca Lilly

As once the internationally acclaimed haiku poet Ramesh Anand had veered my attention on the ‘wow’ factor essential to a haiku, fact remains, that it is the most inexplicable and at the same time the most adorable ingredient of this form which with ease flummoxes as well as fascinates a reader to no end. This undiminishing awe is what epitomizes the perfection of a haiku.

temple ruins….

an eroded Buddha

still in meditation

-Ramesh K

The minimalism in haiku lends it an abruptness which is engaging as it is intriguing. It is also this element that draws the reader into a collaboration with the writer to impute perhaps greater meaning to an open-ended summation. And therein lies the charisma of haiku.

galaxy…

just a lily-pond

will do

-Sanjukta Asopa

gossip column

only the ink remains

unsmeared

-Carol Raisfield

breakfast together

silence about things

that matter

-Carol Raisfield

this world

is a dewdrop world

yes…but…

-Kobayashi Issa

Translated by David G Lanoue

starry night

what’s left of my life

is enough

-Ron C. Moss

However, in its incompleteness is there a complete story…

dad’s house

I unbutton a shirt

that no longer fits

-John Mcmanus

Nonetheless, there is a timelessness about haiku and every time you read the same one you are never tired of it. I have already gone through the book twice perhaps thrice yet every now and then I come across a haiku which has a newer meaning, a fresher presentation and a novel touch which I had not discerned before. And I know a decade hence when I again pick up this book I shall find similar engrossing haiku which will again mesmerize me with their contemporaneity and relevance.

yard sale

the empty fish bowl

still wet

-Peter Newton

Haiku is suggestive – it shows and does not tell.. The form though rigid has an ingrained flexibility thereby leaving huge scope for innovation…There are some exquisite one-liners here for all to relish and muse over…

iampackedelevatoreverybuttonpushed

a man in a crowd in a man

-John Stevenson

At the cost of lengthening the post, I cannot resist giving here a few catchy and thought provoking haiku…the various rasas depicted in their symbolic best…

There’s an odd underlying pathos in haiku which is at times hard to fathom yet extremely palpable pulling the chords of the heart with a maestro’s touch –

city park bench

sitting briefly beside me

the midday sun

-Samar Ghose

salt free diet

somehow I knew it would

come to this

-Samar Ghose

Humour –

Wa    i  ti  ng fo  r   the  ne  xt      SNE     EZE

-Shloka Shankar

Satire –

orthopaedic clinic

a three-legged chair

outside the entrance

-Johannes Manjrekar

traffic argument

the camel’s sneer

is impartial

-Johannes Manjrekar

Nostalgia –

garage sale—

the flowered couch on which

I became a woman

-Carol Raisfeld

Haiku is multilayered lending varied interpretive scope to its readers.

Relatable –

year’s end—

only the sound of mouse clicks

from every desk

-Kashinath Karmakar

cricket fever

the CEO talks batting order

with the peon

-Quamrul Hassan

Evergreen romance –

sharing an umbrella

your wet left shoulder

my right one

-Angelee Deodhar

Picturesque –

window moon

an imperfect circle

in a perfect square

-Kashinath Karmakar

And here’s a yummy one –

New Year’s Day

the centre of the chocolate

not what I expected

-Carolyn Hall

In order to pick these haiku from a big bunch of beautiful ones I had to flag the pages of the book and now it looks like this..

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I am sure with the next reading the number of flags will grow and so will the colours….which implies not one reading is enough. You need to savour each and every verse longingly in order to soak in the undercurrents beneath the strings of simple words.

Haiku is really a word picture. By spacing of the letters and the alphabets the abstraction of idea finds vibrant imagery.

speeding along the awning’s edge

raiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin

-Anita Virgil

As Kala says haiku has changed forms over the years and the anthology does not only include traditional haiku but also modern haiku (gendai), senryu, border-line haiku and the new ku without grouping them under various categories in order to retain the rasa.

Kala hopes that  Naad Anunaad ‘will draw a new generation of readers and authors into the kind of intimacy with nature that our grandmothers enjoyed…..Nature here does not mean just the hills, rivers and forests – it includes cities and the life we live, our day-to-day activities, taking in stride the agonies, failures, successes and idiosyncrasies intertwined with the natural world.’    

Thank you Kala for giving us such a literary treat.

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About gc1963

A working woman with interests in reading, writing, music, poetry and fine arts.

13 responses »

  1. kalaramesh says:

    Thanks for a lovely review of the anthology, Naad Anunaad, Geetashree.
    _/\_

    Liked by 1 person

  2. S Abburi says:

    A beautiful review .. Congrats

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Amit Agarwal says:

    A scholarly write…shows your deep interest and understanding. Loved it:)
    Great quotes too! Thank you:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • gc1963 says:

      Thank you. More on this shall follow soon. As I have written in the post, I am indebted to a few, which includes you as well, for this evolving interest in this form.

      Like

  4. Dahlia says:

    Excellent review Geeta – this book goes on my list! Haiku was my first venture and attempt at writing – it is a beautiful art and my personal favorite form of poetry even though I am not at all good at it. Loved your choice of haiku – thanks for introducing me to this priceless gem 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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