Haiku review – the last poem

This is the haiku review for the haiku, the last poem, by Sanjuktaa Asopa. The review is by members of In Haiku Mumbai and Chennai.

 

the last poem
signed with a flourish-
falling star

**

Gautam

 

This poem leaves so much open to interpretation that it has all the hallmarks of a super haiku.

 

I say haiku with some reservations because “falling star” appears to be a kigo. Yet the sensibility seems to point to the senryu. After all, writing poetry does not belong to the purely natural world and appears to be more man-made.

Apart from categorizing the poem, there is more than one level that opens up to the perceptive reader.

Who was this poet? Did he/she know the poem would be the last one at the time of writing? Or did the chronicler interpret it this way much later?

The flourish mentioned, may be an interpretation rather than intended by the poet.

Falling star, is suggestive of decline, but who noticed it, the poet of the last poem or the chronicler?

All these questions have a myriad possible answers, and as a well known critic once said, rhe more interpretations possible, the better the poem.

**

 

Geetanjali

 

This haiku by Sanjuktaa Asopa starts with an end by referring to a last poem. The stage is set for a sad haiku defined by a sense of loss in the first line itself. The second line introduces the poet (without any pronouns) and shows the flourish with which the poem has been signed. The image of a poet who is on the verge of a literal or metaphorical death is what comes to mind. This could be the last time the poet will ever write and sign a creation.

 

Then, Sanjuktaa juxtaposes the flourish of the pen very deftly, with a falling star. Suddenly, the poem takes on a very different depth because to me, the image of a falling star is one that lights the sky and one that many yearn to see and perhaps, wish upon for their own future. The poet has perhaps lit up the world around her with her own creations and now, knows that she has to move on. And hence, the flourish of the last signature. The clever play on the words ‘falling star’, which could refer to leonids and perseids or to the falling star which is the state that the poet herself could be at, leaves the haiku at a semicircle with plenty of scope for the reader to step in and interpret.

 

From a sad haiku, this turned into a poem about quiet acceptance, dignity, ends, and perhaps, even trailblazing. The endless possibilities are definitely what made this haiku a winner. (It won a prize in 2011 at the Calico Cat international bilingual haiku contest held by Origa in memory of Hortensia Anderson).
**

 

Shreelatha

 

the last poem—anything that suggests “a last” is so sad; and here it says-a poem. how sad! When does one say its a last poem .when the poet is no more. A death ku?

 

signed with a flourish— wow that gives me hope but with a tinge of sadness that its all coming to an end. but not before that one last performance.

 

falling star- bright and beautiful journey of a star before it gets lost

 

As I finish reading this poem, one image flashes on my mind. Sachin Tendulkar.
**

 

Rohini

 

A rather sad haiku is brightened with ‘a flourish’. The last line sounds final.  Did she give up writing? Or is it a death haiku?

 

Falling star suggests the process has been going on for a while.  The decline may be due to old age or the declining fortunes of a famous person. But it is rescued by ‘signing with a flourish’ which shows a certain awareness of the decline and a defiance of it by signing with a flourish even right at the end.

 

So it’s really a hopeful haiku. I like the flourish put in the middle line so it can cushion  the bleakness of falling star which might have been too much of a downer on its own.
**

 

Raamesh

 

The context of the phrase gives a second meaning to the fragment: of the poet on the decline. This reading then reanimates the phrase, in my mind there’s the image of the poet/ess struggling to accept that s/he’s no longer as popular as s/he was, and like all declining stars, the flourishes becoming more pronounced. The first line nevertheless indicates an end to this struggle; the acceptance, perhaps even surrender, that there will be no more poems. So why not sign it off with a flourish?

 

Analysis is of course, not without context. Though Sanjukta might not have intended it, her ku makes me re-examine the publishing phenomenon that is Rupi Kaur, now on the upswing even as her popularity leaves the current price establishment in tatters, and I wonder how prepared she is for the inevitable eclipse. In the same way that one sees writers, sportsmen and ageing movie stars.

 

Is it a death ku? I do not think so, but there is the inevitability of it, but an artistic rather than literal death. A signal for our times.
**

 

Sandra

 

There is a certain pathos to this ku. The last poem of the poet signed with a flourish… gives the impression that the poet’s best days are over and that his talent is on the decline. Recognising this sad fact, the poet gives significant importance to what he thinks is his last work of art.
**

 

Brijesh

 

Perhaps a death ku, L1 sets a poignant tone. The word ‘flourish’ in L2 though suggests an almost impish satisfaction at a writing life well spent. After all, even a falling star draws gasps of delight.

 

I wonder if it could also allude to the creator’s pen using the skies for a page and a falling star as a signal for us to sit up and take notice, now that his/her work is done
**

 

Vidya

 

She is an aging diva, a doyen of yesteryears. And now she has given her final performance. She knows she will not be performing again. And hence gives her best.

 

This piece is also reminicent of O.Henry’s last leaf. The masterpiece that the artist dreams is his/her final performance.

 

Does she like the artist in the O.Henry’ s story die a physical death? Or is it an artistic death?
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Elephant-headed haiku

Swinging to the chants of Ganpati Bappa Morya, The city of Mumbai celebrates its annual ten-Day festival in honour of Ganesha, the bringer of good things and the vanquisher of bad things. IN haiku Mumbai joins in the spirit with a special haiku ‘utsav’.

Send in your haiku, haibun, tanka, kyoka and senryu to inhaikumumbai AT gmail DOT com on the theme of the Ganpati festival, and we’ll feature them on our blog. Submissions remain open till sunset, 5 September 2017.

Our anthology— we’d like another date with you

Dear Friends, Lovers and Bringers of Chocolate,

We’ve been delighted by the response we got when we put out the call for submissions to our 3rd Anniversary Anthology here: http://wp.me/p7sIE9-eP

A first round of selections was done in our first committee meeting last month, and we were waiting to go through the subsequent submissions that came in by July 31. As that meeting is scheduled only for August 12, we wondered among ourselves whether we should keep the window for submissions open till then.

And so by popular vote, we decided we will. So we’re open to all submissions of haiku, haibun, tanka, tanka-prose, renku, renga, rengay, tan-renga and experiments with Japanese forms. As we said earlier, we aim to publish all these in an e-anthology on Kindle by Diwali time. You will find all the submission guidelines here: http://wp.me/p7sIE9-eP

Submissions will remain open till 12:00 (noon) on 12 August 2017, Indian Standard Time.

A second cup of cutting chai

cutting chai –
finally the rejection letter
off my mind

Arvinder Kaur

 

the Taj cafe—-
the steward’s smirk as I order
cutting chai

full cutting chai…
the waiter asks me once more
if I’m sure

Gautam Nadkarni

 

cutting chai –
the cup that helps me
brave the monsoons

chilly morning-
road-side vendors serving
cutting chai

finally
the sights and feel of home –
mugs of cutting chai

Sandra Martyres

 

some things
are inevitable…
ordering
cutting chai
at the hospital canteen

cutting chai
the flutter of divorce papers
between sips

Sanjuktaa Asopa

 

cutting chai
the rain falls
in both the glasses

Alaka Yeravadekar

 

cutting chai —
mother snaps the last biscuit
into perfect halves

Kala Ramesh

Cutting chai

The following haiku were written on the spot at our last meeting.

pelting rain-
the thought of cutting chai
drives me home

for frayed tempers-
the perfect antidote
cutting chai

SANDRA

 

hanging low
in the winter breeze
her breath
and the taste
of ginger on my lips

PARESH

 

cutting chai
again the waiter interrupts
my proposal

GAUTAM

 

cutting chai
the vegan
at a loss

cutting chais
the poets
make them count

winter’s eve
the urchin
begs for ‘cutting’

nursing a ‘cutting’
the world
through misted glasses

spring cool
the lovers share
a ‘cutting’

BRIJESH

 

the price of wi fi
cutting chai

the argument
more cutting than
the chai

ROHINI

 

behind the Taj…
I catch the chef sipping
cutting chai

at the tapri
the chaiwala from
across the street

scanning the menu
I wonder what they mean
by chai latte

cutting chai…
I watch my last pennies
jingle away

cutting chai…
still looking for
a smart kireji

RAAMESH

 

Would you like to submit something on cutting chai? Do send your haiku, tanka, haibun or senryu to inhaikumumbai AT gmail DOT com.

New Beginnings

We put out a call for haiku on the subject ‘New Beginnings’, and then life got on, same old, same old. Here’s our compilation at last, after a delay of many weeks:

*

strong winds…
a wilted flower
breaks away

~ Mahrukh Balsara

verdigris
wrinkled hands scrub off
past Diwalis

yet another dump
grubbing
for a fresh stake

one last lick
before nodding off
latest litter

new menu
the fresh lime soda
exactly the same

new home
mismatched cups
and staff

~ Brijesh Raj

new walls…
how long till this one
feels like home

~ Paresh Tiwari

new skin
the cut that wasn’t
deep after all

~ Kasturi Jadhav

grief counselling
my old lover is
my new friend

~ Deepa

new year
the resolutions fade
faster than the snow

kittens again
the same
old cat

~ Rohini Gupta

new year’s dawn
still trying to recall
last night’s resolves

memories
rising from the mist
a full moon

~ Gautam Nadkarni

forgetting
and forgiving the past memories
springs of fresh tenderness

~ Purushotham Rao Ravela

from his village dwelling
to life in the city
1BHK

new beginnings –
the drunk buries
his whiskey bottle

melting snow –
from the garden bed
a rose bud peeps out

~ Sandra Martyres

new manuscript…
In the heat of the flames
of the old one

windowsill…
a new summer day
unspools

euthanasia
the dawn’s glow washed out
by the streetlights

~ Raamesh Gowri Raghavan

*

Would you like to add your haiku on this topic? Please add them in the comments.

Inviting submissions for our new anthology

Indian summer
even our inhibitions
melt away

Even as I write this, IN haiku Mumbai has been in continuous existence for three years and a half. Over time, through innumerable cups of coffee in our monthly meets, three cafe closures, one anthology, a now-on, now-off blog, and the launch of a new literary magazine, we realise we’ve come a long way. 

So, we decided to celebrate ourselves by launching a new anthology, to be brought out by Diwali this year. And you’re invited.

We must say we had great fun putting together ‘the taste of sea breeze’ our first anthology of haiku, haibun, tanka, senryu, renku and renbun (which we claim to invent). And are happier to report that it was received well among the global community of ELH writers and readers, having had good sales in five countries. More than just a labour of love, it’s been an exercise in critical thinking and collaboration.

So, coming to the new anthology we propose. Here’s everything you want to know:

  1. Who: Anyone from anywhere in the world can submit. Our only requirement — the subject of your composition has to be India. Anything about India.
  2. What: Up to three each of anything in the haikai school of literature — haiku, senryu, urban ku, haibun, short-form renku (tan-renga, yotsumono) and tanka. Submit one renku or renbun if you like. Unfortunately for us, we’re not able to take haiga or any other illustrated form.
  3. Where: Send your compositions to inhaikumumbai@gmail.com in the body of the mail only. No attachements please.
  4. How: Please place your name, country, city and genre in the subject of your mail. So “Thaksin Shinawatra,  Thailand, Bangkok, Senryu”. Please let us repeat, do not send attachments. As the Buddha said, they only lead to sorrow.
  5. When: Submissions open 19 April 2017 and close 31 July 2017. We will then go through a reading and being period, and be ready to launch by Diwali day. So you can expect to hear from us August onwards.
  6. Why: Well, honestly, we had fun doing it once and we want to do it again. And because you and us, we all want somewhere to publish. But mostly, because there doesn’t really have to be a reason.

How to get selected:

  1. Please do judge your work before sending. While we don’t claim to be the best, we’re not so bad either. Our preference would be to have a slim but awesome book. 
  2. Please stay away from clichés. As resident Indians, we’ve seen enough snake charmers and elephants and Malana cream. Anything that shows India in a new light (and it doesn’t have to be flattering) has a better chance of being picked. Personal experiences will score, because that is the essence of haikai.
  3. We’re Trussians when it comes to grammar. Please do care to edit before sending. English is preferred; if you send in any other language please do send an English translation. We will follow Commonwealth spellings.
  4. Please be original. We’d like fresh, unplagiarised work. If you’re submitting previously published work, that’s fine, but please cite where it was published. Work published in a social media group not open to the general public’s view will be treated as unpublished.
  5. Selections will be made by our core group. Only that which passes muster among all six of us goes into the anthology. As we said earlier, our preference would be to have a slim but awesome book.

The decisions of the editors will be final and binding. And there’s no money we have to give out. But you’re all haijin and you’ve seen these two caveats before.

Happy submitting!

        sudden shower
        the mango petals fall
        off the new fruit