Saturday, April 15, 2017

Netiquette IQ Blog of 4/15/17 - Netiquette, Email and Zen Haiku

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Netiquette, Email and Zen Haiku

When I read the article given below, I was inspired with the thought that email and electronic communication can be presented in a Zen fashion just as poetry can with Haiku. This thought was carried forward to equate Netiquette with Zen inspired written communications.
Email is meant to convey some type of information and the tone, precision and structure of any email/text/message has a huge part in conveying the communications’ intent. In other words, just the right combination of thought, accuracy, consistency and proper format will achieve the best results. This is exactly what good Netiquette is intended to do.
Hopefully, the piece following will assist the reader in presenting their thoughts, intentions, even feelings in their respective communications!
Here is my own Haiku:

A thought
The message is typed
Send

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The Zen Art of Haiku
How to Write Authentic Zen Haiku in English

by Barbara O'Brien from thought.com
Updated April 06, 2017 

Japanese Zen is associated with many forms of art—painting, calligraphy, flower arranging, shakuhachi flute, martial arts. Even the tea ceremony qualifies as a kind of Zen art. Poetry is also a traditional Zen art, and the form of Zen poetry best known in the West is haiku.
Haiku, minimalist poems usually in three lines, have been popular in the West for decades. Unfortunately, many of the traditional principles of haiku writing are still not well understood in the West.

Much western "haiku" isn't haiku at all. What is haiku, and what makes it a Zen art?


Haiku History

Haiku evolved from another poetic form called renga. Renga is a kind of collaborative poem that originated in early 1st millennium China. The oldest example of renga in Japanese dates to the 8th century. By the 13th century, renga had developed into a uniquely Japanese style of poem.

Renga was written by a group of poets under the direction of a renga master, with each poet contributing a verse. Each verse began with three lines of five, seven, and five syllables, respectively, followed by two lines of seven syllables each.   The first verse was called the hokku.

Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) is credited with making the first three lines of renka into stand-alone poems that we know as haiku. In some versions of his life Basho is described as a Zen monk, but it's more likely he was a layperson who had an on-again, off-again Zen practice.
His best-known haiku has been translated many ways --

Old pond.
A frog jumps in --
Plop.

Haiku in the West, Sort Of
Haiku came West late in the 19th century, with a few little-noticed anthologies published in French and English. A few well-known poets, including Ezra Pound, tried their hands at haiku with undistinguished results.

English language haiku became popular in the West during the "beat Zen" period of the 1950s, and many would-be haiku poets and English language arts teachers seized upon the common structural form as the defining trait of haiku -- three lines with five, seven, and five syllables in the respective lines. As a result, a lot of really bad haiku came to be written in English.


What Makes Haiku a Zen Art

Haiku is an expression of direct experience, not an expression of an idea about experience. Possibly the most common mistake western haiku writers make is to use the form to express an idea about experience, not experience itself.
So, for example, this is a really bad haiku:

A rose represents
A mother's kiss, a spring day
A lover's longing.
It's bad because it's all conceptual. It doesn't give us experience. Contrast with:

Wilted rose bouquet
Left in new grass
By the gravestone.

The second haiku is not great, perhaps, but it brings you into a moment.
The poet also is one with his subject. Basho said, "When composing a verse let there not be a hair's breadth separating your mind from what you write; composition of a poem must be done in an instant, like a woodcutter felling a huge tree or a swordsman leaping at a dangerous enemy."

Haiku is about nature, and the poem should provide at least a hint about the season of the year, often in just one word called a kigo. Here's another haiku of mine --

A cormorant dips
Into the pond; the floating
Yellow leaves bobble.

"Yellow leaves" reveals it's a fall haiku.
An important convention of haiku is the kireji, or cutting word. In Japanese, kireji divides the poem into two parts, often setting up juxtaposition. Put another way, the kireji cuts the train of thought in the haiku, which is a technique for giving the poem bite. This is the oh! part that English haiku seems too often to leave out.

Here's an example, by Kobayashi Issa (1763 - 1828). Issa was a Jodo Shinshu priest, and not Zen, but he wrote good haiku anyway.

From the nostril
of the Great Buddha
comes a swallow

Haiku in English

Japanese Zen has a strong aesthetic of "just the right amount," from how many flowers in an arrangement, how much food you eat, and how many words you use in your haiku.
You might notice most of the examples of haiku above do not follow the five-seven-five syllable rule. The pattern of syllables works better in Japanese, apparently. In English, it's better to use no more words than you need to use. If you find yourself adding an adjective here and there to make the syllable count work, that's not good haiku writing.
At the same time, if you are struggling to stay within the five-seven-five syllable rule, you may be trying to pack too much into one haiku. Try to tighten your focus.
And now that you know how to write a real haiku, give it a try.
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In addition to this blog, Netiquette IQ has a website with great assets which are being added to on a regular basis. I have authored the premiere book on Netiquette, “Netiquette IQ - A Comprehensive Guide to Improve, Enhance and Add Power to Your Email". My new book, “You’re Hired! Super Charge Your Email Skills in 60 Minutes. . . And Get That Job!” has just been published and will be followed by a trilogy of books on Netiquette for young people. You can view my profile, reviews of the book and content excerpts at:

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In addition to this blog, I maintain a radio show on BlogtalkRadio  and an online newsletter via paper.li.I have established Netiquette discussion groups with Linkedin and  Yahoo I am also a member of the International Business Etiquette and Protocol Group and Minding Manners among others. I regularly consult for the Gerson Lehrman Group, a worldwide network of subject matter experts and I have been contributing to the blogs Everything Email and emailmonday . My work has appeared in numerous publications and I have presented to groups such as The Breakfast Club of NJ and  PSG of Mercer County, NJ.


Additionally, I am the president of Tabula Rosa Systems, a “best of breed” reseller of products for communications, email, network management software, security products and professional services.  Also, I am the president of Netiquette IQ. We are currently developing an email IQ rating system, Netiquette IQ, which promotes the fundamentals outlined in my book.

Over the past twenty-five years, I have enjoyed a dynamic and successful career and have attained an extensive background in IT and electronic communications by selling and marketing within the information technology market.