EN340 / IN350 Global Haiku Tradition
Dr. Randy Brooks
Spring 2002
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Brock Peoples

Zen in America:
The haiku of O Mabson Southard

O Mabson Southard and Chiyo-ni:
Masters of Buddhist Tradition

Selected Haiku

Brock Peoples

The more I study haiku, the more I love it. This may seem like a generalization, but it's the best way I know to describe it. Two years ago, my idea of what a haiku was was still limited to the concept of a juvenile forced 5-7-5 syllable sequence associated with beatnik poets and bongos.

Over the past nine months, I have been exposed to the rich heritage that surrounds haiku. Japanese Zen traditions and American English-language haiku influences, poetic artistry and reserved minimalism, one-liners, rengay, haibun . . .

Haiku are not simple little poems that our high school teachers tried to tell us they were. Haiku is an ancient and rich poetic genre, which varies as greatly as any other poetic tradition. Haiku are the ultimate short story, telling the reader everything that the reader needs to know in as few words as possible, allowing the reader's imagination to take flight. Every word carries the importance of a chapter, every punctuation mark that of a paragraph.

These haiku are selected from my writings to date. However, most were written for Global Haiku Tradition at Millikin University in the Spring semester of 2002.

—Brock Peoples

The Poetry of Brock Peoples

Brock's poetry gives readers feelings of tragedy, humor, transcendence, and happiness all in one. His poetry gives insight into the feelings that many teenagers go through with love, relationaships, religion, fishing, work, play and survival.

In one sense his poetry reveals an uncertainty about life and recognition of his finitude. On another hand, he seems very certain of things such as his purpose and what is and is not meaningful to him. He shares all of this with a receptive reader who enjoys very much reading his poetry and conversing with him to place his poetry in some sort of context after the reader has experienced his/her version of the moment. My favorite poem by Brock is the following:

stuck in class
a Frisbee
hits the window

There is an element of fun and humor here serving as tension with the serious and academic which makes the reader question what is more important—time in the sun with friends and laughs or academic work? The answer to the tension is left up to the reader alone as Brock merely presents the tension.

—Joe Kramp

summer pond
dragonflies chase

soda-pop can
out pops a

the smell of grilling t-bones
I throw the slobbery ball



dragonfly on the rod tip
good luck
only for the fish

swift moving storm
no where to go
but further down stream



kissing bears
on the shelf
I look the other way

driving down
back roads



one-legged gull
chases bits of food
ahead of the flock

thunder rolls
along the river
we watch the sky



moonlit porch
her dark hair
the scent of roses

©2002 Randy Brooks, Millikin University, Decatur, Illinois || all rights reserved for original authors