EN340 / IN350 Global Haiku Tradition
Dr. Randy Brooks
Spring 2003
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The Haiku Experiment

Alyson Ludek

this collection is called the haiku experiment because it is just that: one student's voyage into the amazingly simple yet astoundingly complex world of haiku. when i first began writing haiku, i was bogged down by the familiar notions of a 5-7-5 syllable pattern, a seasonal reference, and so on. i soon discovered that haiku is so much more, yet so much less than that: it is the encapsulation of one moment or one feeling that creates an understanding between the author and all who read it. some create this moment out of imagination, while others use their own personal experiences.

i have discovered that when i write haiku, it is a combination of both of these sources that works best for me. i also discovered while conducting my experiment that the realm of humans is a preferred subject: although i can relate to nature haiku, i am most comfortable with the main subject matter being humans, with perhaps a seasonal reference to create setting.

i cannot judge myself whether or not this haiku experiment was successful; that is up to the readers to decide. it is my hope for the readers of this collection that they can find at least one haiku that they understand, that speaks to them on some level, and that they can take that haiku and make it part of their own interpretation o fthe world.

—alyson ludek

While reading Alyson Ludek's haiku you immediately notice her ability to describe a simple moment that can relate to. Whether it's being a kid and scorching your feet on the hot deck or discarding your shoes for the last dance, Alyson's descriptive lexicon always puts you directly into the moment. She uses both experience, such as seeing her dress as a puddle on the floor, and imagination, such as a dog's bark echoing across the water, to take the reader where she wants them to go. Alyson's attention to every detail in her haiku are what make them so fun to read.

—Billy Flowers

night's end
her dress a puddle
on the bedroom floor

twinkling melody
the ballerina twirls
in her plastic mirror

warmth of his hand
as he helps me
over a puddle



slow dance
back of his shirt
damp with sweat

spring morning
I shave my legs

for no one



morning fog
dog's bark echoes
across the water

Halloween House

From the outside, one would never guess what lies within. At a glance it is a small, one-story house nestled in between other houses on a gaping cul-de-sac. Getting closer reveals a hodgepodge of children’s skates and knee pads tossed carelessly on the stained and cracking cement near the front door. The grass grows a little higher than one is accustomed to, and the remnants of plastic Easter eggs are still snarled in the trees on tangled strings. Inside the house little balls of dog hair blow across the hardwood floor like tumbleweeds in a desert, and a firm coat of dust rests on nearly every surface. The couches are festooned with slightly dingy throws and the stairs creak when you walk on them. A picture in the hallway is consistently just a little bit crooked, and nine times out of ten you can find a mostly-emptied ash tray tucked inconspicuously under the bathroom sink. It is an imperfect house, complete with dents and dings that make it flawed, yes, but also make it comfortable. It is a house as real as its residents, who have been known to scream at each other on weekends and holidays but also to support each other when the going gets tough. Just as it is not just a house, but also a home, its residents are not just people, but also a family, and the place in which they live speaks of their ordinary everyday beauty.

creaky porch swing
traces of Halloween spider webs
still caught in its chains

weed-filled garden
a rusted bike
as decoration



©2003 Randy Brooks, Millikin University, Decatur, Illinois || all rights reserved for original authors