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Haiku of the Profane




Even though he follows perfectly the haiku syllable pattern, Joel Mielke's well drawn and cleverly worded cartoon, "Humboldt County Haiku #2" should be titled more accurately "Humboldt County Senryu" ("Mielke," Aug. 5).  Japanese haiku poems are spiritual and idyllic, referring to seasons of nature. Senryu poems follow the same syllable pattern but are more unruly, dealing with daily life and emotions, emphasizing satire, comedy and criticism. Mielke's spoof of midnight motorcycles certainly fits into the latter category.

The characteristics of Senryu poetry were made clear in an Aug. 3 workshop at the Bayside Grange centered around the book Sanae, Senryu Poet: Her Life in 5-7-5, which was edited by the poet's daughter, Aiko Uyeki, and illustrated by her granddaughter, Amy Uyeki. For those interested, there will be more readings from the book soon in Arcata, followed by a series of presentations in other cities. Information on the book and tour schedule can be found at www.amyuyeki.com.

Orr Marshall, Eureka

Sweet Spot: Oh, so close! Toughest call in months, but we're gonna say that Orr Marshall's informative and perfectly timed letter, with its tantalizing hints at new continents of literature to explore, just barely beats out Timothy Crlenjak's majestic spleen. Better luck next time, Tim! Orr Marshall wins a Bon Boniere sundae for sending our favorite letter of the week.


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