~ The Haiku Foundation ~

Pareidolia by Jim Kacian

April 17, International Haiku Poetry Day, can ironically be a hard day to discover true haiku on Twitter, where #NationalHaikuDay is currently the second highest trending term in the United States. Browse the hashtag and you’ll see what I mean: nothing but three-line, 17-syllable arrangements of prose — party tricks by the least clever people at a party.

So I thought I’d share this animated text experiment by Jim Kacian, editor/publisher of Red Moon Press and head of The Haiku Foundation, to push back against widespread misconceptions of the genre. Though more serious viewers might find that some of the font and animation choices border on cheesiness, to me, the irreverence is part of the charm (not to mention an essential feature of haiku/hokku since the 17th century). And the playfulness is in service to a pretty important lesson about modern haiku, as the description suggests:

Jim Kacian takes the Rorschach Test and makes his results public.

Pareidolia is the the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist, as in considering the moon to have human features. In this short film, poet Jim Kacian explores the relationship between the images of the famous Rorschach Inkblot Test and multi-stop monoku — one-line haiku with several possible interpretations. Music composed by Erik Satie, arranged and realized by the Camarata Contemporary Chamber Orchestra.

First screened for HaikuLife, the Haiku Film Festival held during International Haiku Poetry Day, April 17, 2016.

HaikuLife: The Haiku Foundation video project

The Haiku Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion of haiku in English, including but not limited to the 17-syllable form that has (regrettably, in my view) become the norm. They run contests, host extensive web archives, produce teaching materials and more. And for a number of years they’ve been sponsoring a National Haiku Poetry Day on April 17, which in 2015 will be turning into an International Haiku Poetry Day — thanks largely to web video technology.

[R]ather than create dozens of small gatherings, as we have done in the past, we will host a single event that all haiku poets can attend on line. We hope you and your organization will want to create a HaikuLife presentation to share with haiku lovers around the world.

They’ve produced a video to explain what they have in mind:

Read much more about it on their website.