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Frogpond 46.3 • 2023

Museum of Haiku
Literature Award

Haiku & Senryu

Essay 1 - Earthquakes

Essay 2 - Editing Haiku

Essay 3 - Imagining Haiku Narrators

Interview - Randy Brooks



Book Reviews

Haiku Society of America


Imagining Haiku Narrators - part 1

by Randy Brooks

Imagining Haiku Narrators - Part 1
(complete PDF version)

Here is a sample excerpt from the opening page of this essay:

Part 1 – where, what & how

All imaginative literature employs a narrator — the voice, perspective, cultural role — who is telling the story. Whether implied or explicitly designated by the writer, the narrator is the imagined speaker whose words create focus and imply attitudes toward the events being discussed. Even in autobiographical accounts and memoirs, the narrator is crafted by the writer as their writing identity.

In a previous essay, “Imagining Haiku Narrators,” I focused on a macro-level theory of the haiku narrator as a writer’s persona, which is imagined by reading a large body of the author’s work. In the macro-level view, a writer’s narrator is their recognized reputation, ethos, cultural values, and common perspectives evident throughout their writing career. In this essay I want to explore the micro-level art of reading one English haiku (or senryu) at a time. I will focus on how readers imagine an implied narrator for each specific haiku.

In my college class on haiku, it is our habit to read every haiku out loud before discussing various interpretations. Millikin University is well known for its outstanding theater program, and I enjoy having theater majors in my class. As a result, I have employed a theater teaching approach to reading literary works out loud. I ask my students to imagine how they would perform or read the haiku and then they stand up and present their interpretation. We hear a variety of readings and voices. Consider the ways my students might read the following senryu by Alexis Rotella:

Lying —
I tell him I’m not looking
for a prince.

Alexis Rotella, The Haiku Anthology, 169

[feature continues for several more pages] . . .

Brooks, Randy. "Imagining Haiku Narrators - Part 1." Frogpond 46.3, Autumn, 2023, 141-163.

This excerpt inclues the first page of the feature: page 141. The complete feature includes pages 141-163. To read the complete feature, click on the link to the PDF version:

Imagining Haiku Narrators - Part 1
(complete PDF version)