17 August 2006
Concerning Jessica Smith’s assertion that In a Station at the Metro is "not ‘actually’ a haiku," the essential component of a haiku is not syllable constraints but the juxtaposition, and Pound in this poem brought parataxis to Western Literature from Japan where it had been used for many years.
The word haiku came from the phrase "playful linked verse" and the Japanese consider the 5-7-5 to be a traditional form of what can have unlimited syllabic variants.
Pound called it a "hokku-like sentence" which is "meaningless unless someone has drifted into a certain vein of thought. In a poem of this sort one is trying to record the precise moment when a thing outward and objective transforms itself, or darts into a thing inward and subjective.
"This particular sort of consciousness has not been identified with impressionist art. I think it is worthy of attention."