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Celebrating Jack Kerouac's centenary and haiku

Jan 12, 2022

If you listened to S4E24 of the Haiku Pea Podcast you will know that Stanford M Forrester will be back on the podcast in March to help us celebrate Jack's centenary.

Join in with our preparation and let me know which of his haiku is your favourite... and why? 

What techniques do you see in his work?

On a website called brief poems I read Jack Kerouac's definition of American haiku:

The American Haiku is not exactly the Japanese Haiku. The Japanese Haiku is strictly disciplined to seventeen syllables but since the language structure is different I don’t think American Haikus (short three-line poems intended to be completely packed with Void of Whole) should worry about syllables because American speech is something again…bursting to pop…. I propose that the ‘Western Haiku’ simply say a lot in three short lines in any Western language. Above all, a Haiku must be very simple and free of all poetic trickery and make a little picture and yet be as airy and graceful as a Vivaldi Pastorella.  

I wonder how he would describe them were he alive today?

I'd like to share this one with you:

Close your eyes -
Landlord knocking
On the back door.
   Jack Kerouac, The Northport Haikus

It describes a scene succinctly, using everyday language. I can hear him in the poem, but he doesn't make himself the centre of attention. It leaves me wondering what the landlord is interrupting.

Having read much of Kerouac: a Biography by Ann Charters I ask myself if we can see this poem in an historical setting? Does it tell us of the state of his existence at the time of writing?

Looking forward to reading your choices...
the haiku pea podcast

ps. Thank you for the coffees. Now I'm saving for a much needed autocue. If you've seen my workshop on colour, you can probably guess why...


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