Saturday, April 22, 2006

Exquisite haiku corpse

exquisite-corpse.jpgMake a haiku generator. Stack 5 haiku on top of one another, staple then slice the pages between the lines. Then you can mix and match the lines of the poems to make a total of 125 haiku.

You can write your own 5 haiku (there's some of Basho's below to choose from if you want). When you print them out make sure you leave enough room between the lines to cut.

You can choose or write any haiku but if the corresponding lines of each are grammatically similar, that is, all first lines are noun phrases, then they'll all mix and match, at least grammatically! (Not all of the haiku below match each other grammatically.)

You can read more about Exquisite corpses and where the name came from.

This idea comes from Queneau ... at Rhizome. It, in turn, comes from an idea by Raymond Queneau who wrote a book of 10 sonnets (14 lines each) that were grammatically similar so that lines could be mixed and matched freely to form 100,000,000,000,000 poems!

Matsuo Basho haiku translated by Robert Hass from Poem Hunter:
A bee
staggers out
of the peony.

A caterpillar,
this deep in fall--
still not a butterfly.

A cicada shell;
it sang itself
utterly away.

A field of cotton--
as if the moon
had flowered.

A snowy morning--
by myself,
chewing on dried salmon.

Autumn moonlight--
a worm digs silently
into the chestnut.

Awake at night--
the sound of the water jar
cracking in the cold.

Blowing stones
along the road on Mount Asama,
the autumn wind.

Waking in the night;
the lamp is low,
the oil freezing.

Winter rain
falls on the cow-shed;
a cock crows.

The sea darkens;
the voices of the wild ducks
are faintly white.

Coolness of the melons
flecked with mud
in the morning dew.

First snow
falling
on the half-finished bridge.

Moonlight slanting
through the bamboo grove;
a cuckoo crying.

Spring rain
leaking through the roof
dripping from the wasps' nest.

Stillness--
the cicada's cry
drills into the rocks.

The dragonfly
can't quite land
on that blade of grass.

The morning glory also
turns out
not to be my friend.

This old village--
not a single house
without persimmon trees.

When the winter chrysanthemums go,
there's nothing to write about
but radishes.

Winter garden,
the moon thinned to a thread,
insects singing.

Winter solitude--
in a world of one color
the sound of wind.

Fleas, lice,
a horse peeing
near my pillow.

(Basho spent a lot of time traveling about Japan so he probably slept in less than ideal circumstances fairly frequently!)

Translated by Geoffrey Bownas And Anthony Thwaite

Spring:
A hill without a name
Veiled in morning mist.

The beginning of autumn:
Sea and emerald paddy
Both the same green.

The winds of autumn
Blow: yet still green
The chestnut husks.

A flash of lightning:
Into the gloom
Goes the heron's cry.
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