It’s a funny thing sending off haiku to haiku journals. Even with the most recognized publications, the variety in the styles of poetry – and the execution of them – is extremely wide. It’s hard to know what a publication wants to receive, and both acceptance and the quality of publications feels very hit and miss. It comes down to submitting work to the publications I like reading the most and leaving the rest to chance. Haiku (and senryu, haibun and the like) in English is still very much in its infancy in the grand scheme of themes, and so is my use of it. I guess that’s all to be expected.

One thing, however, that nobody seems likely to accept at the moment is “concrete haiku”, a form of visual poetry that had a spurt of popularity in the US (in particular) in the 1970s. Higginson and Harter touch upon it briefly in their excellent The Haiku Handbook, which includes an example by Larry Gates from his series of “test patterns”. Gates repeatedly uses the letters from the sentence “in the grass” to create a square of lettering in which he then hides the word, “snake”.

This gave me the idea to play around with concrete haiku myself. One of the results was the following representation of the lovely Japanese phrase, “Even monkeys fall from trees”, in Japanese (I have an English version, too, but that is refusing to appear as it should on this page). It’s a bit silly, but I still like it. The only problem for me is that this being visual haiku, I would love it to look much better – something that is beyond me. I only know how to play with words not images. The idea is there, the execution isn’t.