Haiku: an object-oriented art?
Now I’m no expert on the subject, if such a non-Zen statement was even appropriate, but there is something about the haiku form and practice that seems to me to chime with some of the principles of OOO.
Haiku is flat writing. Any object is a subject for a haiku. It is a writing of specifics and details, isolated, autonomous moments or things. The frog jumping into the pond. The fly. The particular cherry blossom. Each in its its own specificity and location. These haiku things exceed their relations. They do not stand for something bigger or smaller, more basic or important. They are actual and located. Definite and real. They are not signs or symbols. They may be part of networks (nature or Buddha nature) but they are not subsumed by that network or defined by it.
Haiku is modest writing. It does not claim to tell the whole story or make grand statements of systems, assemblages or contexts. At the same time though it is deeply enfolded in those wider spaces. A haiku is a one-breath momentary object itself. It has its own existence and reality beyond any relation it may form. A collection of Basho haiki is more a greatest hits than an oeuvre. It does not paint a complete picture of Japan in a particular moment or of nature or even of a long walk into the interior. It is a snapshot aesthetic: object of objects.
Haiku is both sensual and withdrawn. As an object the haiku writer/reader connects with the sensual haiku object. I connect with the line I write or read but there is a dimension to the text-object as well as the subject-object that is always somehow out of reach. This is the pull of great haiku that resonate every time we read them. Each time the connection is new, a new image-object is generated and others are just out of the corner of our eye, always just out of reach. Withdrawn as we write and as we read.
Haiku is a practice. The more I work with OOO, the more I thing that it is more than a philosophical framework and more a sensibility and practice, a way of theorising certainly but also a way of imaging and imagining. Maybe even a way of life. As Jane Bennett shows in Vibrant Matter, an object-sensibility changes the way one walks down the street… so does a haiku sensibility and a haiku practice.