Jack Kerouac’s haiku

Who knew that Kerouac was a fan of haiku?:
“Think haiku, and most Americans who know the poetic form automatically think “17.” That’s the number of syllables the Japanese masters used to create their brief, scintillating visions of seasonal life. But Americans who know the form a little bit better might also think “Kerouac.” Jack Kerouac, the poet of inordinate prose, was also a master of haiku, and a master, as always, at deformalizing the formalities of any genre. “Haiku, shmaiku,” Kerouac wrote, in a verse that ended, “I can’t/understand the intention/of reality.” He called haiku “pops,” which he defined as “short 3-line pomes.” In Kerouac’s haiku, now gathered in “Book of Haikus,” edited by Regina Weinreich, 17 vanishes as a requirement.” Read on.


One Response to “Jack Kerouac’s haiku”

  1. Jonathan Edelstein Says:

    A good deal of serious English haiku is in 11-syllable format; the English language apparently carries more information per syllable than Japanese. There’s an interesting article about the stylistics of English haiku here, and the Asahi Haikuist Network publishes English poetry (mostly in 11-syllable form) on a regular basis. Most of my own efforts aren’t worth mentioning, but I hold out the hope of getting into Asahi one day.

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