05 August 2007

" ... In 1956, the magazine Haiku Research estimated that there were at least four million Haiku poets practicing the art -- if that is the proper word for the tireless permutations of crows perching on a branch, frogs leaping into a pond, drops sliding off bamboo-leaves, and autumn leaves rustling in a ditch. Its stereotyped imagery and fixed number of syllables leave no scope for individuality, style, or critical evaluation. The inquisitive Mr. Enright once asked some professors of literature how they could tell a good Haiku from a bad Haiku. "We cannot," replied one of them, "the trouble is that we don't know what standards to apply. But perhaps you, from Cambridge ... "

"He smiled politely. Another suggested with a strangled cough, "All Haiku are good perhaps?"

-- Arthur Koestler, The Lotus and the Robot (New York: Macmillan, 1961).

No comments: