Monday, January 13, 2014


(Why is the cultural modification of haiku form /and literature in general/ racist?

By Dimitar Anakiev

Poets create bridges
among cultures, poetasters
create walls - the ELH
- - - Dimitar Anakiev

In the end of long discussion in HMC which followed publishing of my article Taliban of Haiku Community we have final conclusion published in comments by Taro Aizu– his report is supported by Paul David Mena and T.w. Rassmeussen. These three poets openly advocated racist viewpoint during discussion and openly refused to accept International P.E.N. standards in literature which determines: All forms are universal, all cultures are equal. Before answering their conclusion let me say that my article Taliban of Haiku Community in these few days were visited on my blog by about 100 people and no one left a comment or counter-argument even it was also sent to all main leaders of "Talibans Haiku Movement" in US, that is racist movement of ELH (English Language Haiku). It speaks for itself how weak is argumentation of racism in literature. But basically racism is not built on argumentation, it uses lies and manipulation, it counts on ignorance of masses that cannot understand subtle details of cultural politics. The same case is with "conclusion" of our racist friends in HMC. Let me cite the conclusion:

Taro Aizu (supported by Paul David Mena, T.w. Rassmeussen) wrote: "My conclusion of these discussions and aruguments is that all cultures are equal but diffrent and the difference is not a discrimination, nor racism but an abundance. So we have different forms of haiku according to our cultures or our personal ideas."

What we have here is typical racist maneuver that tries to explain racism as something "natural", "organic" and "factual". In last statement they basically say:

The form of JEWISH HAIKU and ARYAN HAIKU cannot be the same. The form of JAPANESE and ENGLISH haiku cannot be the same, the form of HAIKU WRITEN BY WHITE PEOPLE cannot be the same as HAIKU WRITEN BY YELLOW or BLACK PEOPLE... In fact, the last statement of Taro Aizu, his conclusion: " So we have different forms of haiku according to our cultures or our personal ideas", is pure and obviously lie because we all know from everyday practice that haiku in English and haiku in Japanese, and haiku in any other language is not culturaly limited (determined)– we have fixed, 575, form in English (by major poets like Kirkap and Wright) as well in Japanese and all other languages. We have "free form" in Japanese, English and other too. So, the point is that our racist friend do not want to accept that formal abundance is a result of INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM (that means, they do not accept the licentia poetica) and build their politics on false meaning of cultural differences. Quite contrary, the mission of poetry and all arts is to show that that all people are people independently of cultural differences. So racist (and all totalitarian) theories in literature and poetry comes from people that are basically not writers and poets but more and less poetasters which misuse the field of poetry and literature for ideologic work trying to subordinate poetry to culture and other ideological institutions.
Typical method of discussion for such "poets" doesn't come from talking on facts but from their ideas which are falsely presented as "true" and "facts". Anyone following our "discussion" in HMC can easily see that none of my statements in the article Taliban of Haiku Community is answered with counter-argument. Instead, facing arguments and facts they shift escaping the topic and offering "new topics" again and again. They just try to confuse uninformed readers and use this fog as a cover.
In my conclusion I can say that we have serious problem in International Haiku because the politics of subordinating poetry to cultural differences is a clear policy of cultural apartheid. The ELH movement is an expression of cultural apartheid. It is natural that leaders and followers of cultural apartheid do not accept International P.E.N. standards for cultural share similarly as apartheid regime in South Africa refused International human-rights standards. The reaction of multicultural international haiku community must be the same as the reaction of UN: to show and announce the apartheid and to isolate it. I think poets who advocates walls among the cultures in arts and literature do not belong to community of poets of any kind, particularly not international. Poets and artists that are responsible to the poetry and art cannot go blind by such negative phenomena, cannot stay silent. I am happy that our Haiku Master Class serves to educate poets about.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014



A critical haibun by Dimitar Anakiev

All forms are universal, all cultures are equal

- - -International P.E.N.

Haiku community, as well as any international community of poets, was always built on the unifying power of poetry. The mission of art in general is to show that all people are people independently of cultural differences. Important part of the multiculturalism is existence of two main approaches in haiku: "classical"-" teikei (定型 fixed form), based in original 5-7-5 syllables structure and "modern"based in a "free-form", established firmly by jiyuritsu (自由律 free form) movementin Japan. Like ancient "yin" and "yang" the dichotomy between "fix" and "free" form was always creatively productive in the history of literature (for example, in sonnet). Some people of suspicious knowledge and skills decided that "classical form" in haiku needs to be eliminated, similarly as Taliban decided to eliminate standing Buddhas' statues in Bamiyan. This tendency was grounded in famous quasi-scientific learning of Bill Higginson that Japanese "on" is not the same as Western "syllable" (by up grading this racial theory we will soon find ourselves in logical paradox: "kanji" too are not the same as "letters" consequently the Japanese shouldn't be considered a language!). Completing their "poetic teaching" with some additional cultural reasons (such as mechanical length of poem) and ignoring some others (such as richness in meaning) they tried to establish a separate cultural genre named "English Language Haiku" (ELH) as a quasi-ontological form of haiku. Political power of English would guaranty the domination of ELH with assimilation of others cultures and definitive eliminationof classical (Japanese) form (instead Mr. Higginson suggested English" classical" form of 2-3-2 syllables).
Notable English poet James Kirkup, and American novelist and poet Richard Wright, along with all others poets of English language who wrote classical 5-7-5 form, were completely excluded from the strategy of ELH.

Are the syllables
only "sound symbols" because
the Japanese?

Result of such politics is a conclusion that one writes "free form" not for personal reasons following what is known from ancient timesas "licentia poetica" or freedom of choice, but paradoxically "free form Higginson way" is a result of "cultural belonging", so the reason is racial, it speaks not for personal freedom but on the contrary, for cultural restraints. In the interpretation of Higginson and his followers, poets are not a culture-makers but people subordinate to culture and politics-a kind of national soldiers.
For first couple of years of existence, the most popular American haiku movement, the NaHaWriMo (National Haiku Writing Month) –
whichis held every February– was visually defined as an "Anti-5-7-5movement". This contemporary cultural Ku Klux Klan took for its symbol a kind of prohibitory traffic sign: "Crossed 5-7-5"(“No 5-7-5”).
I complained publicly many times to its leader, Michael Dylan Welch, for its anti-cultural character, but they always answered that they in fact do not prohibit 5-7-5 and that they “even allow 5-7-5 poems...”The position of cultural boss and dominant culture is clear. They "allow" something that must be free a choice, they permit, they have power. And they are in a (not so) subtle way racist. They let you know that poetic rhythm 5-7-5 doesn't belong to Anglo-Saxon culture. Talking to some of NaHaWriMo poets, I understood, that they think “free-form haiku” is a result of American liberalism, result of Western democracy, and they are shocked to learn that “jiyuritsu” movement in Japan “invented” a free form haiku.

Haiku and Palestine
two precious things with the
similar destiny