Sunday, December 25, 2011

High Coup Journal - December 2011 Issue

(Photo by Ann Wright, Plymouth, IN)

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IN THIS ISSUE:

S.M. Abeles (international man of mystery)

Maureen Kingston (Wayne, NB)

Rose Kowaliw (Swanzey, NH)

Leo Kulinski, Jr. (Litchfield, CT)

Darcy McMurtery (Seattle, WA)

Tom Rault (Laxviken, Sweden)

Taylor Smietanski  (Oxford, OH)

Henry Visotski (Brooklyn, NY)

Chuck Von Nordheim (Dayton, OH)

-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Editor's Note:

Winter and presents:
everything is late this year,
just like this issue.

-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Rose Kowaliw

The Perfect Christmas Tree

Trudging through the snow
Winds blowing, twenty below
Picked the closest tree


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Taylor Smietanski

No Shave November
Is the way I like to roll
Time for a razor


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Maureen Kingston

her Louboutin heels
at the New Year’s Eve party
ice pick his resolve
  
special of the day--
beef gravy over French fries
the truck stop madam


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Henry Visotski 
 
Bare knuckle boxing:
Not good, particularly
When you’re uninsured


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Chuck Von Nordheim 

brown leaf and green lawn
poke through the first snow’s white crust--
winter hesitates

peppermint slobber
makes your nephew’s face sticky--
merry Christmas hug

precipitation’s
possible forms shapes all plans--
won’t go if it snows


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Leo Kulinski, Jr.

Ducks are on the pond
Thoreau signals for the curve
Dice K. wheels, deals, strike


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

S.M. Abeles

Drinking in stillness
A cure for mental illness
Or the next best thing

For once it appears
it was the sun, not me, that
had one too many 


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Darcy McMurtery

Home Depot

Waiting in line with
a shovel, rope, bag of lime.
I forgot my bag.

New Math

You call me "my one."
I know there are other girls.
Some things don't add up.


Incarcerated 
in the jury waiting room.
Where's my orange jump suit?


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Tom Rault

As I lose my hair
my patience is growing thin       
in the barber shop.

It knows no malice,
it knows no pity either:
the crow wants to eat.


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-



December 2011 AWESOME SAUCE: S.M. Abeles

That bastard autumn,
destroyer of low necklines,
slayer of bare legs


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Next month, stay tuned for
experiments with Haikubes...
send in your stuff, too!


highcoupjournal {at} gmail.com




Tuesday, November 1, 2011

High Coup Journal - November 2011 Issue


(Photo by Ann Wright, Plymouth, IN)


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

IN THIS ISSUE:

Robin Burke (Terre Haute, IN)


Rose Kowaliw (Swanzey, NH)

Bob Lucky (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)

Dennis Maulsby (Ames, IA)

Tom Rault (Laxviken, Sweden)

Sherry Steiner (Housatonic, MA) 

Eli Van Sickel (Normal, IL)

Chuck Von Nordheim (Dayton, OH)

Anthony Ward (Durham, England)


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Editor's Note:

Hear the powerless
crying out for warmth and aid
in Connecticut.


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Robin Burke

falling

colorful dead leaves
silently murder my grass
mulching makes me smile


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Mrs. Copeland’s First Grade Class

We saw a turkey
so colorful and chunky
he was so funky

On a spooky night
I once saw a haunted house
I ran for my mom


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Eli Van Sickel

I check my Facebook
to reassure myself of
my safety, I think


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Bob Lucky

bad weather forecast
the morning newspaper lies
bleeding in the rain

Friday at the beach
the bikini-clad tourists
are the attraction

the TV blasting
both my parents sound asleep
in their new twin beds


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Rose Kowaliw

Two Strikes...

Dinner was a bust
Forgot his wallet, again
No more web dating


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Tom Rault 

This doormat will not
talk, otherwise it could tell
some dirty stories.


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Chuck Von Nordheim

wind-blown leaves dance past
lawns decked with campaign slogans—
gray days and choices


fall sunlight tints days
amber as an old photo—
memories seem new


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Sherry Steiner

a shocking secret
a forgiven yesterday
a silk robe nine bucks


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Henry Visotski 

who owes favors where,
ass and elephant debate.
meanwhile, the sun sets


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Dennis Maulsby

Arms and legs entwined.
Man♂…woman♀, so united,     
yet so far apart.

Shouting men place bets.
On a red dirt patch of ground
cricket sumos fight.



-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Anthony Ward

Reflection

searching for myself
while finding my reflection
right where I left it




-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-



November 2011 AWESOME SAUCE: Tom Rault





If I bump my head
once more on that attic beam
I will saw it off.


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

One upcoming month
to squeeze in more nasty storms
and nasty haiku.

highcoupjournal {at} gmail.com


Thursday, October 20, 2011

2012 Pushcart Prize Nominations

We at High Coup Journal and Drafty Attic Press would like to announce our 2012 nominations for the Pushcart Prize:

Toby Bielawski, Five Kinds of Fences

Dariel Suarez

Annie Perconti

Michael Morris

Sara Bickley

Bob Lucky


We wish these authors the best of luck in the competition.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Five Questions for a First-Grade Teacher: Jayme Copeland

This iteration of Five Questions comes with an appeal from an educator in my hometown, Terre Haute, IN.  High Coup Journal publishes the tiniest of poems, so we're also committed to helping out the tiniest of students.  Thus we encourage you to donate to first-grade teacher Jayme Copeland's DonorsChoose project to supply her classroom with important literacy materials in a high-poverty school district.  Anyway, let's see what she has to say...




1. They say that "everything I ever needed to know, I learned in kindergarten."  Why, then, do you teach first grade?

Teaching first grade is amazing, and I love every minute of it. I feel like I am laying the foundation for everything they are going to learn from this point on. I love seeing the looks on my students faces when they read for the first time-- there is nothing like it.

2. How much of a difference is the reading level of a kid going into first grade and a kid finishing 1st grade, usually?


At the beginning of the school year, some students come in still not knowing all of their letters and sounds, while some come in reading basic sight words and others reading small chapter books. I try to focus in on what each student needs, so hopefully by the end of the year students are able to know all letters and sounds and are able to read most first grade sight words. Meanwhile, other students are beginning to read books on their own, and for my friends already reading chapter books, we work on fluency and comprehension.

3. Why, then, is your fundraising project so important?

In these tough economic times, budgets are being cut and we don’t have money for extra supplies. One item I have on my list is a Toobaloo. Toobaloos look like a phone, and students read into them and can hear themselves read. This makes it easier for them to self-correct, which in turn will help them become more fluent readers. To purchase a set of these on my own would be very expensive.

I also have supplies listed that will help my students become better writers. They have such great stories, but until they can read and write they cannot express themselves on paper. I spend a lot of money on simple supplies for my students-- that it makes it difficult to purchase bigger items. DonorsChoose.org gives me the opportunity to put my wish list up and then generous donors help my wish list become a reality. My students and I are very grateful for the donations we receive from DonorsChoose!

4. A lot of picture books are written in poetic form.  Do you have any favorite picture books you use with your students?

I have two favorite books that I love sharing with my students every year. The Polar Express, written by Chris Van Allsburg, and Where the Wild Things Are, written by Maurice Sendak. Both books really bring out the kid in me, and for my students they let their imaginations soar.

5. Do you think you might get your kids to write a few haiku?  It's just 5/7/5 syllables... maybe there's a budding poet in the room!

My students have a poetry center that they go to each week, and we practice poetry a lot. I have never tried haiku with my students, but I think with a little guidance and a lot of practice they would be able to write a haiku... or at least give it a good shot!




JAYME COPELAND graduated from Indiana State University with a B.S. in Elementary Education. She has been teaching for seven years and has been teaching first grade for the last four years.  She enjoys the opportunity to mentor future teachers from Indiana State University and also enjoys being involved with Student Council.  She and her students love Friday afternoons because they are able to show off their creative side by singing, dancing, or sharing their artwork.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

High Coup Journal - October 2011 Issue


(Photo by Ann Wright, Plymouth, IN)


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

IN THIS ISSUE:

Art Bupkis (Gainesville, FL)

Courtney Davis (Freehold, NJ)

Amanda Hillenburg (Sherbrooke, QC, Canada)

Rose Kowaliw (Swanzey, NH)

Chuck Von Nordheim (Dayton, OH)

Annie Perconti (Louisville, KY)

Amelia Ritner (Hinsdale, MA)

John Tustin (New Hyde Park, NY)


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Editor's Note:

Snow, a white pillow
waits to smother leaves as red
as an infant's cheeks.


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Courtney Davis

It’s Rosh Hashana
wishing you a very sweet
and healthy new year


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

John Tustin

All your dark dark hair
On my pillow. Like curtains
Smothering sorrow
  
You packed up and left
Watching me disintegrate
And now I am dust

Fill my emptiness
With your liquid compassion
Flood me with your love

Your face in the sun
Your face in the light of moon
I will take them both



-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Art Bupkis

(Mr. Bupkis prefaced his submission with the following explanation: "Well, Yankees, you may be 'anal' about 5/7/5, citing 'English', but these ain't in English, they're in Cracker... Cracker is terse: 3/5/3.")

on that pine
that damn crow’s landed
cock the gun


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Rose Kowaliw

 Worst Bridesmaid Gown

 Hot pink, puffy sleeves
with matching shoes in satin.
Big pink marshmallow.



-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Amanda Hillenburg

#firstworldproblems

Protests nationwide?
But a celeb did something
Report that instead.

Children are starving
Who cares? Facebook changed my feed.
brb raging


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Annie Perconti

Slipping hips into
belts hung low, laced with language 
she's ready to flow.

He's an eye-drifter--
Slipping low into places 
the world cannot know. 

Thoughts form like stitches.
The machinist of the mind
connects truth with lies.


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Amelia Ritner

The cold morning air
Tea in hand, cat at my feet
The winter begins.


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Chuck Von Nordheim

spectral fog shimmers
above lamp-lit wet blacktop--
autumn’s grey tint grows

helmeted ranks break
through butcher paper banners--
homecoming heralds

drive past corn stubble
see leaves rage yellow and red--
autumn’s last warm day


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-


October 2011 AWESOME SAUCE: John Tustin

Like riding lightning
I love you differently
But I love you both


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Best of luck to all
coming up with new ideas
for haiku and life.

highcoupjournal {at} gmail.com





Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Editorial: Silly Words, Serious Words

This editorial is part two in our continuing battle over the nature of the haiku.  Read part one here.

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BRIAN MORTON:

I cut my teeth as a student-translator working on short, humorous, lewd poems by Catullus, and long, bombastic, epic poetry by Virgil.  I remember adults worrying whether the stray, horndog, jibes of an ancient Roman should really count as literature, yet decades later it has far more meaning to me than the Virgil does, although I won’t insult him either.  High minded satire has always managed to sneak into the artistic canon, but there is something about low-class buffoonery, even when honed to precision, that has always been suspicious... And well, High Coup Journal could certainly be accused of low-class buffoonery...

Japan has a long tradition of poetry in the form of short terse poems or stanzas.  The renga for example dates back to the 700s, and at first glance might be mistaken for a collection of haiku.  It begins with a tight stanza with a 5-7-5 syllable structure.  But the heart of renga is to be collaborative poetry.  One poet begins with a 5-7-5 verse and then the next add a 7-7 verse, and the next adds another 5-7-5 and so on, riffing and changing as they go.  The point wasn’t maximum impact in a minimum of syllables, but kicking off a process of taking turns and exploring, of coping with change.  By the 1600s, perhaps earlier, we get hokku or “starting verses,” the initial verses of a renga, start being used alone by themselves.  Here focused impact does seem to be a large part of the point and appeal.  Or we get haibun (poetry and prose together) and haiga (poetry and painting together), where the laconic poems, typically in hokku form, comment on the more flowing prose or painting around them.

Then in the 1890s, Masaoka Shiki decides that it is time to “modernize” this poetic tradition.  He coins the term haiku (an abbreviation of haikai no ku, or verse of haikai) as a replacement for the older term hokku, partly as an admission that most of these poems are not written to be the beginning of a collaboration.  But, he also codifies how he thinks haiku ought to be.  He thinks their essence is “cutting” (kiru), a juxtaposition between 2 words ideas or images with a strong “cutting word” (kireji) both connecting and separating them.  Things like the 5-7-5 structure, or the traditional seasonality reference, were secondary for him, part of the definition, but not really key to the essence.  He worried that far too much trite and hackneyed crap poetry was being written and published, and used the phrase tsukinami (literally, “monthly”) for this terrible phenomena, a reference both to monthly feminine flows, and to monthly magazines and poetry readings he loathed.  If we let Shiki guide our understanding of haiku in English, then it would probably be fair to say that a key feature of haiku is that they not be published in monthly magazines or presented at monthly poetry readings.  Shiki himself had no patience for silly hokku or haiku, advocating instead the shasei style, which thinks of haiku as sort of nature sketches in words.

But Shiki and his contemporary allies don’t really get to define haiku in English-- even though he coined the term-- because most of what we think of as haiku today in English wasn’t haiku in his sense: it only gets called haiku retroactively.  Basho, Buson, and Issa all wrote before Shiki’s change of nomenclature, and all three would have called their works hokku and would have disagreed with Shiki about what was central to the poems.  Heck, Buddhism (of several different styles) was a key feature of each of these three masters (and much of the earlier renga-hokku-haiku tradition), but it was something that Shiki felt haiku needed to gain distance from, as not in keeping with Japan’s modernization.

So when we acculturate this notion of haiku to a new century or a new language or continent what needs to remain the same and what can change?  Must we keep Shiki’s definition even when it doesn’t fit many of the classics we look to? Do we keep the 5-7-5 structure? The centrality of cut?  The seasonality reference?  The invitation to longer collaboration?  The link between man and nature? The ideological struggles between Zen Buddhism and Pureland Buddhism? Maybe we should build in Shiki's contempt for earlier Japanese poetry in the style or his preference for shasei-style... Nawh, poetry always adapts to the needs of the time and the society, while trying also to remain rooted in its own tradition.  So what are the parts of the rengu-hokku -haibun-haiku-etc. tradition that can still meaningfully speak to Americans on the edge of the 21th century?  Is the shasei style understanding that haiku is about "recording the essence of a moment keenly perceived, in which nature is linked to human nature" something that can still speak to 21st century Americans? SURE! Lots of that kind of haiku is still written and still read and still has power and meaning, and still seems to draw from its roots in Japanese poetry.  If anything, there is enough of that for it to seem overdone, it has plenty of venues.

So the bigger question is this: does silly, flippant stuff with minimal emphasis on season or man-nature themes genuinely draw from the Japanese poetry tradition of the renga-hokku-haibun-haiku line? YES! It is the heart of the poetic style called haikai no renga (unorthodox or comic renga, often abbreviated haikai), staunchly defended by Basho as being part of the poetic spirit (fuga) in the 1600s, and had plenty of practitioners in later decades as well.  For Basho, comic playfulness was essential for holding the right balance between being involved in the world and yet also in some sense detached from it.  Portraying the life of commoners, beggars, traveler, farmers, herbalists, was part of seeing the world with eyes searching for beauty, rather than seeking beauty in formalness and abstractions.

We have classics in the tradition, like Basho

now then, let's go out 
to enjoy the snow... until
I slip and fall! [1688] 

or

even while chopping
the dried herbs
she’s day-dreaming 

That last one is from Yaba, one of Bassho's students in a round of renga from 1693 on Street Hawkers. It has no seasonal reference, no connection between man and nature, no Buddhism on display.  Yet it records a precise moment via terse words, it explores the emotional depth of the moment, and does so partly via its flippant humor.

or again Basho (1685)

His go strategy 
comes to him
two days later 

Good Lord, change the reference to Mario Kart and that one could easily have come straight out of the High Coup Journal!

If you want to argue that High Coup publishes "unorthodox" haiku, no one will disagree. If you want to argue that they aren't really haiku at all, properly speaking, I will point to Basho who was actually DEIFIED by the Shinto bureaucracy, and let you battle with verse and fisticuffs against his shade.

If you want to argue that comic rengu existed but that hokku or rengu are not real haiku, and haiku should not be primarily comic, then you cut off your tradition with your own sword and deserve your humorless fate.  A common version of this argument is to argue that the comic stuff focusing on human foibles is "really" "senryu" not "haiku" as the Haiku Society of America does. This is a terrible misunderstanding. "Senryu" just means "poetry in the style of Senryu Karai" a particular 18th century Japanese poet.  Just because something is in the style of Senryu does not mean it isn't ALSO haiku.  Further, humorous poetry in the Japanese tradition is certainly going strong even before Senryu, as my Basho examples show. This would be as bass-ackwards as arguing that any humorous poetry in sonnet form should be called a "Shakespeare" and not counted as a sonnet at all, and that we must make a rigorous distinction between "Shakespeares" and "Sonnets" although of course admitting that Shakespeare himself wrote in both styles. Tommyrot! This is the spirit of overweening academia seeking to choke out what is living and vibrant in the traditions we have been handed by the multi-faceted humans that wrote before us.  In Japan, as in Rome or England, the great poets have worked with both silliness and seriousness.

If you argue, that the English notion of haiku refers to the orthodox haiku only, rather than drawing from the broader Japanese tradition, then you are simply misunderstanding the situation on the ground in American education, and who gets to decide the usage of terms in the US, as well as the body of 20th century haiku in English. We have no Academie Francaise to delineate normative meanings apart from usage, and you have already lost the battle on usage. Americans regularly use the American term haiku to refer to both serious haiku and silly haiku, and frequently admire BOTH.

Our society often disrespects humor and silliness, especially in high culture side of our society such as academia or the fine arts.  No one in showbiz doubts that comedy is as lucrative as seriousness, but real critical commentary on comedy is much rarer than for more serious artistic forms, and comedians and comedy writers rarely come to those professions through academic theatre or writing programs.  Even in philosophy, as I’ve argued elsewhere, silliness is one of the most underrated of virtues.  One reason is that silliness often subverts existing systems of authority, especially when authority is based more on hard work in the past (and thus credentials), than on ardent love of the topic (amateurism).  Thus, silliness can seem especially threatening to those who value professionalism.  So it makes sense that organizations who were fighting for respect for haiku, and for respect for themselves as professional poets, might want to distance themselves from the sillier side of the tradition, which might seem frivolous, low class or even (gasp) unprofessional.  Nonetheless, silliness is a classic strategy for creativity and coping, helping us to maintain creative tension between genuine engagement with the minutia of life, and detachment from our preconceptions about daily life.  In poetry, silliness of spirit is part of the balance between observation of life and insightful commentary that helps give our poetry depth.

Haiku in English today simply includes plenty of examples of both orthodox haiku focusing on exploring the poetic spirit through sketches of keenly perceived moments typically of human-nature interactions, and unorthodox haiku focusing on exploring the poetic spirit through wry wit typically commenting on common life and pop culture. Both of these American poetic forms are exploring the poetic spirit, and both are firmly rooted in the Japanese tradition of renga-hokku-haibun-haiga-senryu-haikai-haiku. And in English we frequently use the English term haiku as a short hand for the whole glorious multiplex tradition.




Dr. BRIAN MORTON is a homemaker and ex-philosopher, currently involved with the Terre Haute Street Poets.  His poetry has appeared in Subterranean, and a few other poetry mags long ago. His academic work on poetry has appeared in Literae: A Newsletter of Literature and Translation and the University of Idaho colloquium series.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

High Coup Journal - September 2011 Issue

(Photo by Ann Wright, Plymouth, IN)


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

IN THIS ISSUE:

Evan Chow (San Francisco, CA)

Amanda Hillenburg (Sherbrooke, QC, Canada)

Kevin James (Terre Haute, IN)

Rose Kowaliw (Swanzey, NH)

Bob Lucky (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)

Geoff Pope (Renton, WA)

Adam Tetelman (Troy, NY)

Chuck Von Nordheim (Dayton, OH)


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Editor's Note:

Hurricane season,
a sloppy kiss from your aunt
who never visits.


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Chuck Von Nordheim
one final brain freeze
caused by cherry flavored ice—
Dairy Queen closes

hurricanes bulldoze
human homes in new places—
make way for sea rise


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Evan Chow

Step on bathroom scale.
Darn! Well, let me get my wrench.
Ah, that’s much better.


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Kevin James

How many times son...
Lock the door to your bedroom...
when you want "me" time

Who's your kid's father?
Maury has your answers now
Only cost? Your pride.

Newton Lied to us
He discovered gravity
by his plumber's pants


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Rose Kowaliw

Forever Young

Wrinkles come with age
sure as hell won’t be for me
not when there's Botox.
Ha Ha Ha

Manhattan rich bitch
wearing last year’s Manolos
what was she thinking?


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Adam Tetelman

The roads are all closed
Danger lurks around each turn
Time for a roadtrip


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Bob Lucky

three days of cold rain –
a flock of sheep stop to drink
from a deep pothole

a night of fireflies –
the internet connection
flickers on and off

the moon lost in clouds –
twisting the hair in my ear
at the long stop light

cold steady drizzle –
watching the dog lick herself
over and over


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Geoff Pope

husband eats his first
Oyster Burger while the wife
(milk)shakes her sweet head

-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Amanda Hillenburg

Social media 
Great for broadcasting chaos 
Without hazard pay

Who needs milk and eggs? 
Liquor is more important 
Non-perishable!


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-



September 2011 AWESOME SAUCE: Adam Tetelman


Pounding storms hit hard
the students getting hammered
straight through the storm's eye





-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-


Soon, before the next
monster storm destroys us all,
send in your haiku.

highcoupjournal {at} gmail.com

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes



I'm participating in the 2011 Walk a Mile in Her Shoes in Pittsfield, MA, September 15.  And I need your help!  Here's a little description of the event:

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes events are political and performance art with public, personal and existential messages. At a Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event there is no distinction between performer and audience. Our mission is to create a unique and powerful public experience that educates individuals and communities about the causes of sexualized violence, provides them with prevention and remediation strategies and empowers them to further develop and implement these knowledges and skills interpersonally and politically.

Or in other words, a bunch of men put on high heels and walk for a mile in solidarity with all of the wonderful women in our lives.

Can I get you to donate today?  100% of the funds I get from your PayPal contributions will go to the organization's fight against sexualized violence.  Because that's bad, mmm-kay?





FANCY DONATION TRACKER (9/8, 10:20 AM): Right now you've donated $75 so far... add that to the $90 we've raised at work, and we're up to $165 raised to help fight sexualized violence-- keep the donations coming!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

September Placeholder

Hey all!  Just moved yet again (back into the Drafty Attic), so the September issue of High Coup Journal won't be up at a prompt 12:00 AM... but it will be up on the 1st, probably in the evening.

Hope you enjoy (when it shows up)!

--Miller

Monday, August 1, 2011

High Coup Journal - August 2011 Issue

(Photo by Ann Wright, Plymouth, IN)

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IN THIS ISSUE:

Brian Barnett (Frankfort, KY)

Sara Bickley (West Carrollton, OH)

Samuel Franklin (Terre Haute, IN)

Annie Perconti (Louisville, KY)

Melissa Reddish (Salisbury, MD)

Morgan Shnier (Tuscon, AZ)

Adam Tetelman (Troy, NY)

Henry Visotski (Brooklyn, NY)


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Editor's Note:

In a balance scale,
cries for heat and cries for snow
wobble to and fro.


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Morgan Shnier

i set each alarm
five hundred thirty-five clocks
i'm still late for work


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Adam Tetelman

All chaos breaks loose
Every man for himself
The network is down!

Certain doom awaits
This requires sacrifice
Send out the intern

A pair of black pants
A lecture at the chalkboard
A pair of white pants


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Brian Barnett
 
Bela Lugosi
 
He does not drink...wine
Make his a shot of morphine
Bela feels no pain
 
 
Zombie Apocalypse on Sesame Street
 
Burt in riot gear
Big Bird slain twice by head-shots
Elmo ate Grover


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Annie Perconti

there is a moment
between inhale and exhale
where all my lies stop.

I already know
that the tongue cannot create
what I hold for you.


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Melissa Reddish

He’s the kind of guy
who smirks when I eat a peach.
Yes, you know the one.
 
The rankest odor
on the face of this green earth:
A goddamn dog fart.


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Henry Visotski
 
Scent of bleach and piss,
Sleeping bum, loud shrew with cell.
Wish I drove to work.
  
The neighbor’s poodle,
While neutered as a puppy,
Still molests my leg


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Sara Bickley

Cappuccino and
cigarettes on the hottest
day so far this year.

Sunburn stops hurting
two days after you get back.
Then it starts peeling.

After this pack I
quit smoking.  I will have to
drink even faster.


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Samuel Franklin

Summer Storm

Torrential rainfall-- 
helluva water balloon 
fight up in Heaven. 

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August 2011 AWESOME SAUCE: Sara Bickley

All the girls in their
summer dresses, showing off
their year-round tattoos.




-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Tryyyyyyy to remeeeeeember
a time in Septeeeeeember when
you sent in haiku!

highcoupjournal {at} gmail.com


Monday, July 25, 2011

New Word Order CONTEST WINNER


Our contest judge, Darla Crist, has officially chosen Toby Bielawski's Five Kinds of Fences as the New Word Order Publishing Project winner!  Here's what Crist had to say about the book:

Meaningful poetry manages to be simultaneously universal and deeply personal, and this difficult goal is certainly accomplished in Five Kinds of Fences.  This is a highly imaginative collection of poems, perhaps best described in “A Crown of Safe Spaces,” where the poet writes, “It’s as if I’m in a cabin in my head, with one glass wall/Looking out over a setting that changes whenever my pen/Decides to shift mood or meaning…”   And indeed, there are reality shifts in these poems, where the audience is asked to reconsider what constitutes a fence, or what would happen if letters were landscapes.  Careful attention to form, language, and metaphor directs the work in this collection, even if “Truth is terrain that cannot be steered.”  But truth can be found in “Scrap,” where the speaker is sorting her father’s belongings in the basement:  “All of this (interstate rebar, toilet-tank float ball)/All of this (fittings, fan blades, copper spike)/Was for all the things you would have fixed/In your depression-era dreams./Now, with nicked hands I sort and deal --/Called all around/It's just a penny a pound for steel.”  And truth can be found in “Rectification of Names”: “Resilience is bread broken and shared,/Jealousy the meat and the wine/And patience a stone herm/Listing towards the spine’s left side. /Souls are a thick mystery, mine and/Yours the same, just your mystery/Is a few inches more strange.” Here’s to truth, and here’s to mystery, two key elements in life, as well as in Five Kinds of Fences.


Here are our runners up:

A World Called Little Jimmy, by Christine Ong Muslim

Postcards from the Less than Important West, by Brent Schaeffer

Randonnées, by Adrienne Drobnes

We want to thank all 36 people who submitted chapbooks-- your interest has inspired us to look into a reprise of the contest in the future!  Additionally, thanks to our contest sponsors:


Great People ($5+)

Jamie Lushbaugh
Chris Dolle


Awesome People ($10+)

Taylor Lampton
Brad Walrod


Great Honored Benefactors ($25+)

Tom Carbaugh
Linda Boan
Travis Durbin
Haley Salitros

We couldn't have done it without you.  The books will be headed to the printers soon-- stay tuned!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Five Questions for a Folk Hero: Eli Van Sickel

We'd like to start off Volume Two's series of community interviews by interviewing a man who straddles the line between fact and fiction, anonymity and pure legend.  He's Eli Van Sickel, and he's one of the great heroes of the Terre Haute, Indiana, indie folk scene, and he was published in our first issue.  (Yes, Terre Haute, the city that gave to the world Eugene V. Debs and took from the world, by way of the Federal Death Row, Timothy McVeigh.)  Let's see what he has to say...



1. How many songs would you say you've written and performed?

I've written about 20-25 songs since I started playing and writing almost 6 years ago. I've performed most of them live.


2. What are some similarities between playing acoustic guitar and writing haiku?

There is a spirituality about it that people tend to forget. It is very open to interpretation and the player/poet has incredible creative freedom, though the rules of the style have to be meticulously followed.


3. You're about to begin your master's in Theater at Illinois State University.  Are there any types of theater you would associate with haiku? 

Well, Japanese theatre, obviously. I am fascinated/intimidated by Noh plays; it's a very dense, beautiful style of theatre that hasn't changed in centuries. I'm also a huge fan of dramatic/poetic realism, minimalistically staged; that kind of stuff really doesn't hand the audience much on a silver platter, but rather requires them to interpret the work.


4. How will the Legend of Eli Van Sickel read in 20 years?

Hopefully it will say that he is happily married with children, serves as either the artistic director of a non-profit theatre or the chair of a university theatre department, and continues to write and perform music. Also, his books Deaf Theatre In America and The Theatrical Legacy of Clifford Odets are both New York Times Best Sellers. A Tony Award or two would be nice as well.


5. Do you think Terre Haute's diaspora of wayward artists will ever truly be able to come home?

I think Terre Haute is definitely growing as an artists' home. Slowly but surely, it is becoming safer to "let your freak flag fly," as it were, and create. However, many of us (myself included) find that there's only so much that you can do in Terre Haute and so long you can stay here before it's time to take the next step and move on; but I think you'll find that anywhere.



ELI VAN SICKEL is going to send us a bio.  For now, check out his music here.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Editorial: 5-7-5 Does Not Make a Haiku


What's that, you ask?  What's that?  Why are we printing an editorial almost diametrically opposed to our mission statement?


Well, for starters, we here at High Coup Journal have been spoiling for this fight for a long time.  But we also want to foster alternate viewpoints, and so we'd like to start off Volume 2 of the journal with a polite but well-researched explanation of everything that is wrong with our lovely journal.  Mr. Boyer has proven to be a great sport about all this, and we encourage responses to this editorial, yea and nay.  Do some research of your own and dish it right back, and we'll be happy to print your editorial as well!

-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-


This editorial is part one in our continuing battle over the nature of the haiku.  Read part two here.

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DAVID BOYER:

I would like to start by thanking Mike Miller for this opportunity. I’d also like to thank A. Jarrell Hayes. It was my comment on his post at Reddit that got this whole thing rolling. I clicked on the link he provided to the February issue and made the comment that what I was seeing really wasn’t haiku. I said it was more in line with senryu or zappai*. I don’t mean to lessen anyone’s enjoyment of this journal. I just need to stand up for the haiku tradition.

Haiku is one of the most amazingly powerful verse forms ever invented, but it’s in the unfortunate position of being poorly understood even though everyone thinks they are familiar with it. Part of the blame for this goes to our early education, where the overly simplistic 5-7-5 paradigm was instilled in all of us. I know I stared this way, and wrote 5-7-5 for a long time.

My interest in haiku took off when I bought a copy of The Haiku Anthology. It was a book full of interesting, vibrant poetry that I didn't have to sweat over, as with the T. S. Eliot or E. E. Cummings that I had been reading. When I started to really get into the anthology, it was a revelation. So many moments where my breath was taken away. You know that moment when you're reading a poem and something just clicks, you have an Aha! moment or maybe you get goosebumps? Haiku was able to give me that again and again. I also saw, for the first time, the breadth and depth of haiku. People wrote in 5-7-5, sure, but there was so much variety that I quickly realized the 5-7-5 structure was not really important.

Lee Gurga (an award-winning haiku poet, former president of the Haiku Society of America and former editor of Modern Haiku) writes in his Haiku: A Poet’s Guide: “A majority of people among both poets and the general public seems to believe that haiku poetry is synonymous with haiku form, and that anything written in the three-line form they remember from elementary school is automatically haiku.” He then goes on to quote the Japanese scholar Shigehisa Kuriyama, who says “The 5-7-5 pattern by itself does not make a haiku.”

Gurga also gives the Haiku Society of America definition of haiku in his guide: “A poem recording the essence of a moment keenly perceived, in which nature is linked to human nature. Usually a haiku in English is written in three unrhymed lines of seventeen or fewer syllables.” The “moment keenly perceived” is the important thing here. A haiku is the essence of a moment, the poetry of a moment, in just a few impressionistic brush strokes. In good haiku there is always more unsaid than said:

clearing out
their mother’s house
last leaves on the maple
--Jack Barry

This poem give us a picture of the end of things, just moments before the season ends, before the house is no longer really their mother’s house. But in those ends we can see a glimpse of a new beginning, perhaps. The tree that will grow new leaves, the house that may become a home for another family. This is from the most recent issue of Modern Haiku, Volume 42:2, summer 2011. A few more examples may help:

transit of Venus...
something struggles
in the orb weaver’s web
--Lorin Ford

It’s a very rare thing to catch a glimpse of Venus moving against the face of the sun, just as it’s a rare thing to see an orb weaver at work with its prey. Visually, we can see the two small orbs, Venus and the spider, moving against the much larger forms of the sun and whatever the spider has caught. Though nature is beautiful in its diversity, we feel the passing of time and shiver.

Christmas
at the Playboy Mansion
the plastic trees
--Gregory Hopkins

This one hardly needs an explanation. It’s a good showcase of how haiku poets use nature to talk about human nature, and how with subtlety you can say much more than with a direct statement. The poem would be much less of a poem if the poet had said something like

Christmas
at the Playboy Mansion
plastic trees and silicone breasts

This version gives too much away, it makes what was implicit explicit and destroys the poetry of the original.

from the big bang to my funny bone
--Christopher Patchel

I don’t know if I can do this one justice, but as T. S. Eliot so rightly said, “Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.” To me, this poem, with the laugh of a Buddha becoming enlightened, takes in the entire universe through the perspective of one small bone in one small human body. Banging your funny bone (and seeing stars, no doubt) is related to the Big Bang and suddenly the universe expands through this exquisite and ludicrous pain. That’s one of the real gifts of great haiku and great poetry: the sense of expansiveness, that there are larger things we are a part of. When you finish a great poem, regardless of the length, and you’re left with a wow on your lips or your mind reeling with possibilities and implications, then poetry has done its job.

a lightning-blasted pine in my pencil the black spine
--Peter Yovu

There is such powerful drama in this piece and such powerful peace. The blasted tree, a rough mirror of the pencil in the poet’s hand, which he uses to memorialize the same tree. And I think the rhyme (it’s quite rare to see rhyme work well in haiku) makes the poem sing.

panties tossed on the melon rinds wet in spots
--Chris Gordon

The heat of summer, and all that implies, comes through in every syllable. You almost feel a bit breathless reading this.

High Coup has printed some poems that I think are in the tradition of haiku. Each of the following are carefully and vividly presented scenes, and each leaves you wanting more, asking what else is going on or what led up to this:

from June 2011:
A white seagull floats
above the turbulent waves
of the parking lot.
--Michael Morris

February 2011:
Whispering tender
Terms of endearment in
My frostbitten ears.
--Megan Milligan

However, reading High Coup I find most of the poems are along the lines of little jokes or fortune cookie type sentiments, that tend to just stop at the end of the line, with little or no resonance.

William Higginson and Penny Harter in The Haiku Handbook say that writing a haiku is saying “It is hard to tell you how I am feeling. Perhaps if I share with you the events that made me aware of these feelings, you will have similar feelings of your own.” Haiku don’t tell you how to feel, they show you a scene and hope that you will come along.

In the end, what I’m trying to say (and what I say to myself every day) is, don’t limit yourself! Don’t settle for just writing jokes and a blind adherence to 5-7-5. Haiku can be so much more.




DAVID BOYER's haiku have appeared in Frogpond, Modern Haiku, Mayfly, Acorn, bottle 
rockets, Presence, Heron's Nest and other haiku journals. He was a featured poet in A New Resonance 5: Emerging Voices in English-Language Haiku.





* “A senryu is a poem, structurally similar to haiku, that highlights the foibles of human nature, usually in a humorous or satiric way. Many so-called "haiku" in English are really senryu. Others, such as "Spam-ku" and "headline haiku", seem like recent additions to an old Japanese category, zappai, miscellaneous amusements in doggerel verse (usually written in 5-7-5) with little or no literary value. Some call the products of these recent fads "pseudohaiku" to make clear that they are not haiku at all.” (From the Haiku Society of America.)

Friday, July 1, 2011

High Coup Journal - July 2011 Issue

(Photo by Ann Wright, Plymouth, IN)


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IN THIS ISSUE:

James Dye (Dubuque, IA)

Jack Granath (Kansas City, KS)

Amy Harris (West Lafayette, IN)

Lex Joy (Amherst, MA)

Jamie Lushbaugh (Terre Haute, IN)

Amit Parmessur (Quatre-Bornes, Mauritius)

Geoff Pope (Renton, WA)

Miriam Sagan (Santa Fe, NM)

Mitzi Sicking (Midland, TX)


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Editor's Note:

Each birthday a door
to new, unseen hallway
ending in a door.


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Lex Joy 

Philosophy class--
One more angry German man
says we know nothing...


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Amit Parmessur

Yellow cars speeding;
Farting thin cancerous clouds
like a wintry mouth

Bonnet on my head,
As a king on a tall stool
I watch worlds drying

With a toothless mouth
My multi-colored moustache’s
A dusty toothbrush

Two pharmacy bombs
sending me to paradise,
my doctor to hell


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Geoff Pope


“Shit!”

I heard my mom say
“Shit!” only once in her life —
door crushed ring finger


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Amy Harris

Sarah Palin: the
evolution of man will
not be televised.*

* RIP Gil Scott-Heron


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Jack Granath

Her body sculpted
by a summer dress--so much
for non-attachment.

She laughs, the purse strap
between her breasts, a lesson
in geography.


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

James Dye 

An intense debate
Does not deserve metaphors!
Fuck! You get the point?


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Jamie Lushbaugh

Your sandpaper tongue
licks my face after your ass.
Thanks for the gross bath.

At Petsmart, select
The three-figure, plush cat tree.
He plays in the box

Um, no, officer.
I don't know whose pot that is.
You sure it's not yours?


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Mitzi Sicking 

Unneeded finger
When you, my fellow driver,
Ran the stop sign.  Jerk.


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Miriam Sagan 

to escape the smoke
as ten thousand acres burns--
movie with mermaids

cherry blossoms float
on the edge of this haiku's
silent green pond scum


-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-


July 2011 AWESOME SAUCE: Geoff Pope

do you suck and chew
on tips of the alphabet
until your mouth bleeds?
  

-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-oOo-

Send birthday money
or at least some more haiku
to assuage your guilt.

highcoupjournal {at} gmail.com