Monday, December 29, 2014

HAIKU, A FEMINIST PERSPECTIVE, An essay about haiku collection "Seven Sunsets" by Sayumi Kamakura

Dimitar Anakiev
( An essay about haiku collection "Seven Sunsets" by Sayumi Kamakura )

"She is a voice of woman in this world, not just her culture. She is 'faithful' to details which all women can recognize. This selection is more overtly a woman's perspective, but even her more abstract haiku capture intriguing perspectives."
-Susan Diridoni, in HaikuMasterClass, Facebook, November 22, 2013

It is an ancient attitude of civilization that literature, music and arts cannot be limited and defined by cultural, racial and sexual criteria.  Even so French writer and philosopher Hélène Cixous formulated in 70' years of 20th century a new literature concept named "women's writing". This genre (related to movement) became very popular expression of feminist viewpoint to the world. So what is "women's writing" if writing cannot be sexually defined?  It is an emancipatory concept in literature before all.

"Women's writing" has nothing to do with sexual affiliation of writer but is tied to a particular strategy or methodology of writing and reading text. This strategy is distinctive in deconstructionist standing point to the world of traditional literature. What is it that needs to be deconstructed in relation to haiku poetry? On the first place, the mythology. Or better to say the mythologies (of all kinds) because, according to many sociologist, cultural anthropologists and philosophers. mythologies are invented to give sense to violence, to make violence divine, bearable and unquestionable. Questioning myths is a Sisyphean task for strong, fighting spirits only.

What is for Adam
to be short of bone
because of Eve?

"Body", "house" and "water" are topics (motifs) that always appear as typical metaphors, symbols of "women's writing" but also following characteristics: subjectivity, associativity, sub-logic (intuition), equivocation; then elliptical, rounding syntax, horizontal structure, open form and linguistic skepticism as awareness about the difference between life and the written, excessive sensitivity to linguistic formula, expressing a preference quasi-oral, issues, shouts, addressing... that all is an usual aesthetic set of "women's writing".

"Good morning" to you–
my lips in the shape
of a triangle

Fascinating expression of psychological suffering of women that became aware of the existence of other women in her husband's life: painful expression of lips associates the "love triangle".

I wonder:
can we live together
with selfish garbage?

With so many great poems in the collection this poem is the most stronger feminist voice of Seven Sunsets. This is not only because of its directness and brutality of expression (deconstructing all falseness and artificiality of the world) but also because of thematizing the topic of "selfishness" that is one of the most prominent principles of our civilization and our time. Local meaning of the poem is perhaps personal but it also can speak in the name of society. 

A red trafic light–
three leaves don't like
to wait

This haiku means "Nature cannot wait, life is (always) going on" and consequently it brings the perspective of materialism to the collection, the primacy of materialism over idealism. That is very important to point because haiku is usually understood (sometimes even arbitrary) as an idealistic or religious poetry.

Water flows
from the cutting board
to the time of young girl

"Seven sunsets" is not a collection of poems concerning one situation or one period of life–quite contrary–it is systematic poetic analyze of the state of "being women". The collection includes dreams, hopes, disappointments, sadness and grief, happiness, being–child–and–being–parent position, being a women focused on the husband and being a free independent women too.
In 120 poems classified in four parts the collection offers an amazing richness of symbols and different poetic ideas that are authentic, original and credible. This can be done only by a exceptional, great poet.

Orpheus crying–
I wonder:
will my husband cry?

Orpheus and husband are juxtaposed showing respect and love of poet to her husband but at the same time the myth of Orpheus is rationalized and deconstructed.

In HaikuMasterClass,  I concluded discussion about Seven Sunsets with following words: “In Sayumi Kamakura work we have seen author writing within the field of taboo topics and opening of Pandora Box. For this very delicate work some readers probably felt a resistance because it is not easy to write poetry on taboos. I understand very well the instinctive reaction of reader of stepping back that may be seen conditionally 'conservative'. In fact taboos are vital point of humans and each of us want to protect own vital points. That is additional reason for admiring Sayumi Kamakura work, thematizing taboos is something that gives Seven Sunsets collection really admirable gigantic dimension. I thank you all for the respectable discussion, in that way we had ability to point importance of the collection that is rare to be seen in decades and to rethink the very mission of poetry.”

"Seven sunsets" is one of historic landmark of haiku poetry for his emancipatory potential (feminism), for his materialistic philosophical position (contemporarity) and for its extraordinary poetic values. It is monolithic collection like a monument on the way of real authorship in haiku poetry.

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