Issa and A.R. Ammons on society and the artist, or haiku vs. other poetry forms

A world of dew, 
and within every dewdrop 
a world of struggle

-- Issa

From what I've seen and who I've met, many come to haiku not through other poetry forms, but through their spiritual tendencies. 

It tends to be a spiritual practice where practitioners nourish each other, not driven by antisocial behavior and glorified eccentricities.

This is not to knock the poetry world at large, to which I also belong, just something worth noting. There is a real competitivness between poets, whether they are competing for faculty positions, retreat openings, writing program slots or even just fighting to fit in with the rest of society.   

Haiku poets don't have those resources to fight for and generally focus their art on "the big picture." 

The Role of Society in the Artist 

Society sent me this invitation to go to 
hell and 
delighted not to be overlooked I thought 

I could make arrangements to accommodate 
it and went off 
where, however, I 

did the burning by myself, developing 
fortunately some fairly thick shields 
against blazing and some games 

one of which was verse by which I used 
illusion to put the flames out, 
turning flares into mirrors 

of seeming: society 
attracted to this bedazzlement wanted me 
to acknowledge how it had been 

largely responsible and I said oh yes it gave 
me the language by which to send me 
clear invitations and society 

designated me of social value and lifted me 
out of hell so I could better share 
paradisal paradigms with it 

and it said isn't it generous 
of society to let you walk here 
far from hell---society does this because 

it likes your keen sense of acquired sight 
& word: how wonderful of you to say so, I said, 
and took some of whatever was being 

passed around but every night went out 
into the forest to spew fire 
that blazoned tree trunks and set 

stumps afire and society found me out there 
& warmed itself and said it liked my unconventional 
verses best & I invited society to go to hell 

-- A.R. Ammons

No comments:

Post a Comment