a wardrobe slaps closed
Tinywords issue 21.1 March 2021
We quite literally have a 'third line' that is completely invisible!
Now I could have written it as a one line haiku:
winter’s end a wardrobe slaps closed
But that does not use the neat effects of "white space" and "negative space". It's okay as a one line haiku, isn't it? But does it have that extra 'frisson' that we look for in some of our haiku?
The experience called frisson (pronounced free-sawn), is a French term meaning “aesthetic chills,” and it can feel like waves of an unexpected tingling that we could recognise as "pleasure" running all over our skin.
What causes frisson?
Musical passages that include unexpected harmonies, sudden changes in volume, or the moving entrance of a soloist are particularly common triggers for frisson because they violate listeners' expectations in a positive way ...
The haiku "winter wheat" is one I posted to the Australian Haiku Society Winter Solstice Haiga Kukai 2020: Seasonal Contest (July 6th 2020)
The idea for these photo prompts, I feel, is to match or pair the photo with a haiku so that very little is repeated, especially as the Scarlet Robin (the jpg is labelled Scarlet Robin, not Flame Robin), and the snow both dominate the photo, so there was no need to repeat the obvious.
Winter Wheat (USA, Europe etc...)
Now without seeing the photograph I guess it makes the haiku on its own contain an aspect of negative space!
We have an opening line of 'winter wheat' setting an obvious seasonal setting, and simply a breeze that is rattling the wire, but no! Actually the breeze is rattling "the wire act" so it's not the wire itself, but something else. I tend to think of small birds creating a balancing act, and often re-righting themselves in a cross wind.
We might not know what kind of bird, other than a small one, but we can always imagine, and create our own space to feature whichever bird we've seen in the past, even childhood, that created a 'wire act'.
More about one-line haiku:
Negative space is often about not putting in the word itself that the haiku, or longer poem, or advert etc... is about.
White space is the technique of not putting ALL of the information into the writing, and using space as a way to suggest there is more to see, "look closer between the lines, and even between the words."
Negative space is often a vital part of advertisements and perhaps that fact that something is left out acts on us in a way that effects us on an everyday basis at home or outside. There's a famous advert about a paint company, and they heavily feature an Old English Sheepdog, and have done for a decade or longer. If I see an Old English Sheepdog in another advert, or on television, in a feature about dogs or in a drama, or while I'm shopping/browsing in a commercial area, I will think of that particular product, and may go further, and check out a hardware store!
You may ask, how is that negative space? The dog is so closely linked to that product I don't even see the brand name all the time in an advert, even if it's there, the dog 'tells' me it's a particular brand of paint. Also, another advert uses a different kind of dog to advertise a household toiletry item, and I believe you can even buy a soft toy version of the dog from them now. Negative space can work a subliminal action on us beyond the showing of that advert on a screen or billboard etc...
Back to the one-line haiku (monoku) and how does all of that fit in?
I've seen enough war and weapons based movies (and serial drama series) now, to wonder if something glinting in the innocent daylight isn't the barrel of a gun, or the glass of an aiming scope.
There is often something in the background, or just inside our peripheral vision. Most often it's an innocent everyday 'object' but the influence of movies and other forms of fictional drama have that
unconscious or "peripheral" effect on many of us.
There is always, or at least almost always, something going on in the background, whether it's walking down the street, or sitting out in our backyard etc...
Another look at negative space and white space is in this feature, with brilliant photographic examples:
Positive Effect of Negative Space in Photography
by Tara Hornor
August 3, 2018.
We don't "always" have to fill in as much white space as possible, because that space left alone creates its own atmosphere of meaning.
Sometimes too much wording, whether for a poem, a haiku, even an official report, does not require every word under the sun. Humans are often required to fill in "the blanks" on an everyday situation, whether a hint from a partner or child or a pet at home, or with friends, even a raised eyebrow, when we are out on a leisure or other recreational activity.
We can go beyond and/or behind 'the dappled light' which hopefully is a bird or dog rummaging.
Next is Mary Weiler's Persian Carpet haiku, after this image of a carpet.
Also see Alan Summers interview with the Sonic Boom magazine regarding white space:
Negative space in haiku:
is an article in progress for my book Writing Poetry: the haiku way.
Often when we talk to each other we don't feel the need to spell everything out; we have so many connections in common after all. It's partly the same with haiku, and carrying that over is an effective device. Alan Summers
"There is always the verbal equivalent of negative space in good haiku…" Violette Rose-Jones
Essential components of haiku are literally what is not said in text, using a judicial amount of negative space, also known as whitespace, and MA (間): a void in the poem that produces something in-between the two parts of a haiku; This is where, despite a lack of black (visible) text, this invisible section can add contexuality, sharpness, and tension to the poem as a whole. The core of many haiku is the dance with white space/whitespace, where it’s used parallel to the seen/visible text on the page. Utilising a number of techniques is no easy matter, and taking the eye off the ball has resulted in numerous message or statement epigrams, or flat missives: Tonality is essential.
Here’s one from Jean Jorgensen from The Touch of a Moth: 35th Annual Haiku Canada Members' Anthology, page 115
to another – fisherman
mending his nets
Negative space needn't always be just the use of white space in breaking up the visible text. It can be the way that a haiku uses its two parts to approach a subject by not directly mentioning it.
Haiku need not name the subject/topic directly.
Stella Pierides has this to say about negative space in haiku:
Is it a case of leaving something out, or not over-filling the small haiku?
is a potent device in haiku.
From the Strange Bed haibun
[one line haiku aka monoku]
a crow's eyes above
the no parking sign
through the blizzard
particles of me
I'm a haiku writer who feels honoured if a reader adds their own life experiences to a poem of mine, that maybe only shows half a story, in order for it to be completed by someone else.
Complementary to negative space is my white echoes and implication article where I talk about white paintings amongst other things:
Anthology credits: The Humours of Haiku ISBN 978-0-9565725-4-7 (Iron Press 2012); Faces and Place ed. Don Baird (The Little Buddha Press 2015); naad anunaad: an anthology of contemporary international haiku ed. Shloka Shankar, Sanjuktaa Asopa, Kala Ramesh (India, 2016)
From the Sonic Boom INTERVIEW: