On a day when I’ve been too sleepy to focus much on punditry, a belated Comment by “Blenko” on my posting about sexism and the presidential primary made me smile and sit up for a few minutes. See “trumping reality with the sexism card” (May 20, 2008) Blenko called me a “backwoods hillbilly” and a “Fool!” and my analysis “skewed and simple minded.”
Rhetorical Questions: Why is it that the name-callers so often hide behind pseudonyms? And, why do the angry ones so often use straw-man [straw-person] arguments in trying to make their points?
You may recall that I asked in my post whether sexism was the cause of Hillary Clinton’s failure to win the Democratic nomination (concluding, as did Blenko, that it was not), and speculated on “when, in general, it is appropriate to brand an action or result as sexism, and an individual — or vast sectors of our populace — sexist.” This wasn’t enough for [Ms?] Blenko, who acts as if I had denied the existence of sexism in America or the use of sexist or gender-oriented language aimed at Sen. Clinton by anyone during the campaign.
through the open door . . .
her smile doesn’t forgive
all my sins
. . . . by Randy Brooks – School’s Out (1999)
For the record: The closest I’ve ever come to living near a hill is the twenty years I lived within a few miles of Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Am I nonetheless simple-mindedly skewed? Given my preference for snoozing today, I’ll let my original post, and my decades of working for gender equality, speak for themselves. Naturally, I’ll leave Blenko’s comment up, as it so eloquently represents an attitude that I believe dis-serves the cause of mutual respect and equality between the sexes.
Since I’m up and posting, I guess I’ll take the opportunity to point haiku fans to the gender-neutral but talent-biased Modern Haiku Journal website, which has recently posted sample poems and essays from its newest edition. (Volume 39.2, Summer 2008) It has two sample poems by f/k/a Honored Guests:
a white rose and chocolate kisses
. . . by Lee Gurga
the bartender cashes
my unemployment check
…. by Ed Markowski
The new Modern Haiku announces the winners of the 2008 The Robert Spiess Memorial Award Haiku Competition. For this year’s contest, the haiku were to be written in the spirit of the following “Speculation” (Robert Spiess, A Year’s Speculations on Haiku, Modern Haiku Press, 1995):
A haiku is a profound testimony that a most humble object of nature when put into the simplest of aesthetic forms can become a revelation.
Of the 405 entries assessed by judges Lee Gurga and Peter Yovu, First Prize this year went to Natalia L. Rudychev, while Linda Jeannette Ward was awarded Second Prize. Go here to see their winning haiku. Our Guest and friend Peggy Willis Lyles picked up Third Prize, with this poem:
a laughing girl
with rain in her shoe
… by Peggy Willis Lyles – 2008 Spiess Award, Third Place
p.s. Perhaps Blenko has put me in a slightly crabby mood, but I find myself wondering aloud — given the admirable goal of using the “simplest of aesthetic forms” — if anyone can explain for me how the cruciform formatting that Lee Gurga has been using so much of lately (see, e.g., his “saint valentine’s day” poem above, and “first love” from the Spring 2008 edition of MH, each of which would have made a fine 3-line poem) adds to the readers experience or understanding of the poem. Maybe I’m just a “hillbilly fool,” but I find the centering and use of so many lines distracting and attention-grabbing, but no help in achieving a haiku revelation. (Yes, I guess these sentiments are a bit like my curmudgeonly fretting over one-liners.)