f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

March 18, 2005

so-called credentials, justice, haiku, etc.

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 3:57 pm


So-called credentials:  We can’t all have as many degrees as Elder Sibling  graduates flip 

(RiskProf) Martin F. Grace. Or, can we?  I just got a piece of spam that offers BAs,

MBAs, PhDs and more “Within two weeks!  No study required! 100% Verifiable!” 

It also warns that this legal loop-hole may be closed soon, due to all the public attention

it has lately received.  Just call “Issac Copeland” at 1-206-984-0021.

  • Alas, since I had read the Federal Trade Commission’s

    in early February, I was not fooled.  But, I do want to

    remind you that you can find the FTC consumer complaint

    form here, and that you should put the Government’s spam

    email collection address in your Address Book, so that

    you can simply forward spam directly to the folks who

    are trying to police against it:  SPAM@UCE.GOV

tiny check  So-called justiceEuguene Volokh ignited a firestorm two days ago,

when he wrote that vengeance using cold-blooded brutality was

appropriate punishment for some crimes.  I’m with Walter Olson (see

his post and links) on this one: Being human surely includes having the

emotional urge for vengeance against vile crimes, but it also means

having the wisdom and aspiration to overcome that urge in the name

of a better humanity and a better world.


yyS  So-Called Haiku:  If you want to see excellent proof that merely writing words

in three lines of 5 – 7 – 5 sylllables is not haiku, click on Em & Lo‘s winning “haikus”

in their Sex Ed for Grownups space at ProChoice American.org.   The contest

judges might want to check some of our resources to learn more about haiku, before

further sullying the name of the poetic genre.  For example, jim kacian’s haiku primer 

offers an in-depth analysis on how to write haiku.  dagosan’s haiku primer is a lot

shorter, and offers some quick tips in outline form from George Swede and Michael

D. Welch, at the bottom of the page. 

  • Almost by definition, haiku does not lend itself to declaring a political

    philosophy.  Perhaps a form of senryu might embrace the writer’s

    prochoice sentiments, but 17-syllable bumper stickers and sound bites

    are not haiku or senryu.  I’m sure Prof. Bainbridge would be glad to

    note that the last thing pro-choicers actually want to do is speak in

    graphic “sense images” about their subject.  (restrained thanks to

    George M. Wallace for the e-mail pointer.)

  • Most English-language haiku poets believe that the old

    17-syllable rule resulted from a misunderstanding of the

    Japanese language, and creates haiku that are very often

    padded, unnatural and stilted.   The only possible reason to

    insist on the 5 – 7 – 5-syllable rule in haiku contests like

    that held by Em & Lo is that, without such a structural

    artifice, there would be absolutely no way to distinguish

    the so-call haiku from aphorisms, doggerel, bumper-stickers

    and t-shirt philosophy.


tiny check  So-called Publicity Stunt:  Speaking of Prof. B, I’m not quite as sure

as he about just which congressional action this week is purely a


tiny check  So-called Consumer Protection:  (1)  George and Steve have   pig black flip

rightly mocked the coming ban on wild mushrooms at California farmers’

markets and grocers.   (2)  Lawyer Thomas Daly, former partner in

the “Law Centers for Consumer Protection,” testified yesterday

in the federal fraud trial against his old boss, Andrew Capoccia,

(Bennington Banner article, March 18, 2005).  Daly testified that

“The law firm could not win a single lawsuit anywhere at any time.”

They moved to Vermont, when the law and ethics complaints made

New York too hot. .On Tuesday, another former employee testified

that she constantly used client escrow accounts to run the law firm. 


by dagosan:  

I hesitate —

the plumber’s

offered hand






new leaves


savoring the winter view







St. Patrick’s Day —

drawing the

designated-driver straw



[March 18, 2005]



without further ado, john stevenson

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 2:50 pm

Trust me (and verify below*), nobody has better haiku credentials than John Stevenson. But, his real vita is the body of haiku I will begin sharing with you today. Cor van den Heuvel sees sadness, cynicism, darkness in John’s work; like myself, Peggy Lyles sees fragile hope “in the sharing and the linking, in the listening and in words that are just enough” (Forward to Quiet Enough, Red Moon Press, 2004) His haiku will surely resonate in a personal way with you, touching the universal and the personal.


John’s haiku are filled with reality and insight that belie their brevity. My hope is that you’ll enjoy and appreciate them as much as I do — and that dagosan learns quickly by osmosis how to see the material of haiku moments everywhere, and how to describe them in just a few telling words. You can find a representative collection of John’s work at Terebess Asia Online.


Here are three haiku from John Stevenson‘s first full-length collection, Some of the Silence (Red Moon Press,1999):


morning sun enters
the sleepers

descending into
her perfume

proud host
his orchard bursting
with fireflies

And, here are the “title haiku” from his three published volumes, Something Unerasable (1996); Some of the Silence (1999) and Quiet Enough (2004), respectively:

under the
blackest doodle
something unerasable

a deep gorge . . .
some of the silence
is me

snowy night
sometimes you can’t be
quiet enough

We’ll be sharing many more of John’s haiku in the weeks and years to come.





StevensonQuiet __________________________________

* John Stevenson is a former president of the Haiku Society of America and currently serves as editor of HSA’s journal Frogpond, one of the oldest and most widely circulated journals of English-language haiku. His poems have won awards in innumerable haiku competitions. He is co-founder of the Rt. 9 Haiku Group, which has created the Upstate Dim Sum journal and website. Born and raised in Ithaca, NY, he now lives in Nassau, NY.


John has been a frequent subject of research projects at the Millikin University haiku program, for example, here and here.

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