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

May 31, 2005

objection, there’s no juxtaposition

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 4:57 pm

A primary reason that I’ve always thought haiku is such a good fit for lawyers is:

rules: not only are there lots of rules, but they are in dispute,

constantly evolving, often misapplied, and frequently defended

or attacked beyond all reason.

Thus, beyond the literary and aesthetic pleasures of haiku, lawyers can have fun

judging and arguing about which verses are “real” haiku, and which are merely


Because I know busy lawyers might not read lengthy essays on the definition

and writing of haiku I thought I would post a rather quick and painless guide

is it or ain’t it haiku?, which also has links to other sources.  Its first version

appeared in January, 2005, as a Comment at Villainous Companions.    It is

part of my compaign to rid cyberspace and society of “pseudo-haiku” that is being

called haiku merely because it is written in verse form, with 5–7–5 syllable lines. 

  • I admit that my own haiku has certain literary pretensions.  Nonetheless,  sumo

    this crusade isn’t snobbery on my part, but is instead a lawyerly obsession

    with agreeing on, and complying with, a shared definition of terms, so that

    communication can be meaningful.   My silliness credentials are solid, and I enjoy 

    “spam haiku”, “sci-fi-ku“, “gothic haiku”, “computer-error haiku”, “dead-

    baby haiku”, “cat haiku,” etc., but they are virtually never (and usually only

    accidentally) real haiku.   As you’ll see here, some might be included in the

    genre of senryu, but most are light, humorous verses in the poetic family

    known in Japan as zappai.

After reading is it or ain’t it haiku?, you should be able to readily distinguish a

fine example of senryu from two excellent examples of haiku out of this trio of

poems by Honored Guest W.F. Owen:



single again

soap bar slivers

mashed together






fading light
rain overflows
the gutter









spring thunder
slight cracks in the
swollen tree buds


park bench  W.F. Owen 

“single again” –  frogpond XXVIII: 2 (2005)    

“fading light” – tinywords (Feb. 10, 2005)

“spring thunder” – Mainichi Daily News  (May 7, 2005) 





strangers on

  my park bench . . . . . . . . . . . . from over here

                                                   a whole new river


 [May 31, 2005]


tiny check Speaking of making distinctions:  I am pleased to see that when

Australian lawyers look for alternatives to hourly billing, they

understand that clients wants lower fees and more efficiency from

alternative billing methods  — not higher fees masquerading under

the banner of “value billing“.  (“Lawyers Weekly [AU], “Lawyers



sumoOver   My buddy Carolyn Elefant loves to urge lawyers to hang

a shingle and go solo (or micro).  What I would like to see are some stats

or studies on the financial realities of going solo:  How long can it take

to actually make a living?  What are the demographics of those who

survive (do they have high-salaried spouses? particular specialties?

other sources of income?  an existing porfolio of clients?).    What is

the median income after 5 years as a solo?   How many of those able

to make a comfortable living are working more hours not less than in

their big-firm jobs?


tiny check  Thanks to Overlawyered.com for staying on top of the Ford Explorer

“tainted juror” story, featuring Texas lawyer Jesse Gamez, his romantic pal

on the jury, and a $28 million roll-over verdict.  A Texas judge rejected

Ford’s demand for a new trial.  (See Law.com, May 27, 2005). 


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