Hyper Haiku: Inspired Meditations in Hyperlinked Haiku 俳句

Screenshot of haiku.html in Chrome for Mac, Version 36.0.1985.125

Hyper Haiku 俳句

Inspired Meditations in Hyperlinked Haiku

Purpose:

I created this site to explore the possibilities of hyperlinking haiku poems, knowing that the medium of hypertext would encourage me to free-associate and be more prolific. I am interested in your experience as a reader of these poems. Most poems will offer at least two hyperlinks, so you, the reader, may also free-associate by following the links that most appeal to you.

What is Hyper Haiku?

Haiku is a poetic form with one stanza of three lines; the first line has five syllables, the second line has seven, and the third line has five. As long as one follows those simple rules, the form gives great freedom for expression. Hypertext links pages and sections to each other through hyperlinks. Therefore, hypertext haiku, or “hyper haiku,” comprises haiku poems that contain hyperlinks to other haiku poems and so forth.

A New Form:

From what I have gathered, mine is the first site on the Internet to offer haiku poetry that follows the haiku form, makes grammatical sense, and contains hyperlinks within each haiku poem that link to other haiku poems. Here is a survey of the literature published in the field of hypertext haiku as of January 19, 2003, the date when this page was first published on the Internet.

Haiku | Japanese Poetry
This page praises the elegance (their word) of the haiku poem, and it offers several examples of translated haiku poems by “the four masters” Basho, Buson, Issa, and Shika. Several examples are given of haiku poems translated from Japanese into English. It is important to note that these translated poems do not fit the haiku form of five, seven, and five syllables in English; they did fit the form in Japanese, but the English translations of these haiku poems could not be considered haiku poems themselves. Also it is important to note that, while this page gives several examples of idyllic poems, it also shows us that haiku can be about the seedier aspects of the human experience. See the poems by Issa near the bottom of the page for examples of this.
Haiku and Hyperku
I found this site when I searched the Web for the word “Hyperku.” I had originally thought of calling my site “Hyperku,” but I wanted to see whether anyone else was using that word, and how they were using it. This author’s idea of “Hyperku” is haiku with links in it, like mine, except his links lead to offsite pages on related topics rather than to other haiku as mine do. After seeing his definition of “Hyperku,” I decided to be more cautious of naming my site “Hyperku,” because I didn’t want my brand of hypertext haiku to be confused with his. One thing I love about this guy’s page is that it’s written in XHTML and CSS, like mine, and it’s quite handsome as a result!
Google Search for “hyperku”
Besides the first two sites that came up in the search results (both related to the link listed above), I found that a lot of sites referred to a now-defunct music search site called Hyperku.com. Many of the pages in the search results that referred to Hyperku.com were in foreign languages. However, from what I could gather from my understanding of foreign languages and the few English sites that referred to Hyperku.com, it seems that the site had something to do with Audiogalaxy.com. What on earth Hyperku means to these people is beyond me! All I know is that I did not want my hypertext haiku site to be associated with these music sites, so I decided against calling my site “Hyperku.”
Mel McClellan: Hyperhaiku
A Google Search of “hyperhaiku” led to this page and the one below. Visually, this is an interesting Flash presentation; I like its use of graphics, movement, sound, and typography. It certainly fits the genre of multimedia. However, there are no links in the presentation, and no allowance for user interaction, so I don’t believe it could be considered hypermedia. In literary terms, the poem is not a haiku poem, for it does not fit the five, seven, and five syllable form. I would call this “multimedia poetry” rather than “Hyper Haiku.” Still, it’s interesting to see what else is out there.
No Poetry
This is, in my opinion, a fine specimen not only of good quality haiku writing, but also an effective use of the Flash medium. After seeing this, I certainly have no qualms about using the term “Hyper Haiku” for my site. The one thing the author’s “Hyperhaiku,” lacks is links within the haiku poem, an important distinction that makes hyper haiku “hyper.” My haiku poems not only contain links within them; they contain links to other haiku poems on my site.
The Hyper Haiku
I found this site after I had already completed mine. The author uses a strange, non-grammatical syntax (or lack thereof) in concocting poems that fit the haiku form. There is an abundance of hyperlinks in each poem, but there is no clear sense of connectedness between the words and poems. Rather, these hyper haiku seem to be random groupings of words mathematically assembled in the proper syllabic form. For me, the lack of cohesive syntax leads to a lack of semantic meaning at the textual level (surely each word has its semantic meaning intact, but the combination of words is so random as to be meaningless). I do not see such a haphazard conglomeration of words as haiku poetry, but I respect the author’s freedom to experiment, and I imagine that, while the experiment does not work for me, it may very well work for others. Even if an experiment doesn’t “work” for anybody, the experiment doesn’t “fail” as long as it demonstrates the results of trying something. As least this poetry fits the form of haiku and contains hyperlinks, which is more than can be said for much of the other “Hyper Haiku” out there.
Moyayama
This site is a fascinating international site of haiku poetry written in Russian and Japanese. It is a good thing to remember that the World Wide Web was meant to be written in all the languages of the world, not just in English. If your browser is able to render these pages in their intended alphabets, it is a testament to the multilingual power of HTML and WWW standards. This looks like a very interesting site. I cannot critique the poetry except to say that I don’t see any links in it, so I don’t see why it’s called “hyper” haiku, except that it’s presented in HTML. In any event, this is a good quality site.
David Robertson’s Haiku Page
This is a collection of haiku poems that fit the form and have, in my opinion, some literary value. They do not have any hyperlinks, so I would not call them “Hyper Haiku,” but they are good examples of haiku nonetheless.
http://www.waxebb.com/main/haikuin.html
This is an experimental site that haphazardly throws five, seven, and five words together to make nonsense poems. The poems do not fit the haiku form of five, seven, and five syllables, and they do not make any sense to me, but each word in each poem is a hyperlink that replaces the word you click with another word. Interesting experiment.

My First Hyper Haiku Poems

Drugs* are everywhere.
Even the lights* inject
a stimulating dose.
*Lights are shining* bright.
Why they shine I can’t divine.
My eyes are quite blind.
She called it *shining,
said* Scatman. Danny’s finger
said REDRUM! REDRUM!
*Alcoholism--
A disease that *tells me I
*don’t have a disease.
*Yo hablo ingles.
Y yo hablo español.
¡Me gusta hablar!
I am my *ego.
I* need to get out of my
own way. God help me!
*Yo entiendo
Mas que yo puedo* hablar.
Olvido mucho.
“I think I *can! I
think I can!” Said* the little
train that thought she could.
Moi, je *parle français*
et je parle anglais aussi.
J’aime beaucoup parler!
*Parisians treat you
like the shit they don’t pick up
when they walk* their dogs.
*Hello. How are* you?
I’m fine, thanks, and how are you?
Fine, thanks. So, what’s new?
All my friends *are gay!”
(Absolutely Fabulous)
“All—My—Friends—Are—Gay!

An Invitation to Poets:

If you have a 5–7–5 (syllable) haiku of your own based on one of the words in one of these haiku, please post it below as a comment. Thanks!

P.S. I wrote this in a Hypertext class for my B.A. in English with a concentration in Communications and Media Study. Originally, each poem was on its own page, with at least one hyperlink to another page. You can see where the links were by the asterisk (*) at the end of word (forward link) and the asterisk at the beginning of a word (backward link).

Author: Daniel Greene

I facilitate communication between Deaf and hearing people, and I teach people American Sign Language (ASL) and interpreting. Apart from doing the work I love, my greatest joys are family & friends, entertainment, food, photography, and travel.

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