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Free Grass (12 Haiku)

January 23, 2010


Another time in
our history.  Our
aim is wonderful!


All this debate.  If
they get those thoughts, o tender
and wondrous thoughts, then?


What are renewed, and
would be free beer, densities,
devoted, succeed.


All works already
published by anyone, as
to you I do it.


These are examples
of this content, give me some
vision of culture.


Disney had no clue
about how property is
beautiful to me!


Lo, the data, that
this is happiness, I will
cling fast to them all!


Joy of the code that
bathes the globe.  Because we have
created the code.


Autumn sky.  O if
one could but fly like a car
apart, and so long!


See, and you think?  If
you think about it, two things
happened.  They are free.


These are good.  O for
all are my poems, you smarts
from Alabama!


I undertake to
cheer my soul, the goal that is
the road is produced.


Texts: Lawrence Lessig’s Free Culture and Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass

5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 23, 2010 12:33 pm

    The first of these is not a haiku. It’s syllable count is 5-5-5, instance of 5-7-5. No?

  2. erogk7 permalink
    January 25, 2010 1:07 pm


    Interesting. It must be that Gnoetry counts “our” as a two syllable world. I’m not sure if this is correct scansion, but I’m not concerned about it. The haiku form is just an arbitrary formal constraint for this seriesp; its the content that is most important to me.

    Thanks for commenting!

  3. none permalink
    January 26, 2010 5:08 pm

    Syllables are not the same as the moras used in haiku:

    One syllable can have many moras. I believe Gnoetry uses the CMU pronunciation dictionary:
    OUR AW1 ER0 – one syllable, two moras?
    OUR(1) AW1 R – one syllable, one mora?
    OUR(2) AA1 R – one syllable, one mora?
    So looking at
    “our history Our”
    AW1 ER0 . HH IH1 S T ER0 IY0 . AW1 ER0 .
    which contains 7 vowel phonemes, which is apparently how Gnoetry determines moras.

    However, Biche is right that none of these are haiku. They do not consistently contain season words or kireji:

    • erogk7 permalink
      January 27, 2010 2:07 am

      Damn. I admit that I have no knowledge of the linguistic complexities of the haiku form, but I am pleased to learn that none of these are haiku. Thanks for the lesson and the link to the CMU Dictionary.

      Actually, I don’t believe that the Westernized English-language haiku–the 5-7-5 syllable (or mora, or phoneme) form that I was taught–is anything more than a poor bastardization of the traditional Japanese form. The syllabic form that Gnoetry provides as a choice for composition is used here merely as a container for short poems which were never intended to meet any of the formal demands of haiku.

      And anyways, the poems are poor bastardizations too, so everything is A OK [ AH . OW K EY . ] with the universe ;)

      • Eric Elshtain permalink
        January 30, 2010 9:58 pm

        Try out Yone Noguchi’s “A Proposal to American Poets” from 1904:

        “Haiku” is more of a pedagogical term–an argument to say “this computer-generated language is a form of poetry you recognize from fourth grade.”

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