Roswila's Dream & Poetry Realm

SEE ALSO: TRYING TO HOLD A BOX OF LIGHT (photos, realistic to abstract)

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Image by Roswila

[If you’d like to read about the history of dreamku, its purpose, and writing parameters click here for the link to the first part of my three part A DREAMKU PRIMER (there's a link to the next part at the bottom of the first and second parts). But you needn’t necessarily read the three part primer to relate to this post.]

As the years have gone by and I have had more responses to dreamku, and more recently my photos, I have begun to realize I’ve not made clear enough some important aspects of the developing dreamku form, along with the reasoning behind my choice of photos. What I find intriguing and amusing is that what I need to say has more to do with what dreamku and these photos are not, than with what they are. I recall what (I believe it was) Rodin said when asked how he sculpted. He replied that he just cut away all that was not the statue. So let me try to cut away as much as possible what dreamku and their photos are not.

But first, one clarifying point: the term “dreamku” – that is, that category of my dream-based poems becoming known as dreamku – covers three types of poems: dreamku, dream-based tanka, and dream-based monoku. Initially, however, I had designated only the small haiku-like, three line poem as dreamku. But common usage shows readers use the term to cover my daily dream-based tanka and monoku, as well. “Dreamku,” therefore, has grown to refer both specifically to the haiku-like, three line poem, and generally to all of the short dream-based forms used in my daily dream poem blog posts. This latter use of the term dreamku feels fully appropriate, as “ku” in Japanese (from “haiku”) means “verse.”

And now for the AREN'TS –

Dreamku are not fully haiku, nor are they fully tanka or monoku. If you are reading them with knowledge of these small Eastern forms and expect them to adhere very closely to their parameters you will be disappointed, even frustrated. However, in writing dreamku I do stick as closely as possible to these forms’ parameters. That is, I do not casually dismiss a form’s requirements, but do so only in service of the dream.

Dreamku are not poems in the usual sense. They rarely use poetic craft devices, such as simile, rhyme, meter, imagery. They adhere more to the haiku, tanka, and monoku forms in this respect in an attempt to let the dream moment speak for itself without a great deal of poetic craft cluttering up the small space. As a result, readers approaching them as poems may find that dreamku feel “flat” or uncrafted. Ultimately, of course, I cannot judge how alive any dreamku may be for a reader. But I can say that all have been carefully crafted. They just tend not to employ the usual poetic tools.

Dreamku are not complete dream records. Although whatever is written adheres as closely as possible to the source dream, sometimes much is left out and rarely (but it does happen) a small element that feels appropriate may be added to the source dream scene. However, I would like to point out that not even an original dream transcript is always a faithful and complete dream record. Only the dream in the process of being dreamed can usually claim complete accuracy. Once wakefulness intrudes, unconscious change of dream content, feelings, and thoughts can often begin. (I say “can often” as opposed to simply “begins” because there are categories of dreams, such as lucid dreams, for which recall may be rather clear and precise.)

Dreamku and their photos are not intended to be interpretations of their source dreams. I leave it to the reader to find what meaning or enjoyment or mystery they will in a dreamku and photo. That is, I offer them as fields for the readers own explorations; symbols into which a reader may pour their own meanings and insights, if they so choose. However, I do frequently append comments in which I share what I personally gained from the dream. But I do not feel anything I may have to say about a dream and photo is all that can be brought to it by a reader, even me. I love when a reader offers something about a dreamku and/or photo I had not seen. Dreamku and pictures, just like poems, can unfurl even further to different readers and viewers, and over time.

The photos are not illustrations of the dreamku they accompany. I select photos that only in a small, subtle or indirect way reflect some aspect of the dreamku. This is in the tradition of Japanese haiga: haiku on paintings. I am beginning to think that used well this subtle connection to an image can help universalize a dreamku and that maybe this is what happens in haiga, as well. That is, it increases the more obvious scope of the dreamku or haiku to find a common element between these apparently dissimilar things. It not being obvious just why I’ve chosen a photo is also much like the way dreams operate; presenting us with an image we frequently do not understand so that only after consideration may a “meaning” or connection surface. [UPDATE OF 8-24-13: I used to select from my already existing photos. But for quite some time now I have been editing a picture of mine to go with a particular dreamku or free verse poem. Although it may now be more clear how a photo may fit with a poem, I still rarely fully illustrate the dream poem by my choice of photo.]

Dreamku and their photos are not an “armchair sport." Just as with most other poetry, I believe dreamku with their photos can be more rewarding with a reader’s participation. When the reader brings her own life to the table and fills the vessels of the words and pictures with her own thoughts, feelings, and experiences. In fact one of my greatest joys is to hear that someone has seen something for themselves, for their own lives, in one of my dreamku and/or photos.

Click here for an important update to this post and my three part Dreamku Primer.

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Well, for a post I had anticipated would be short and sweet, I wound up going on a bit. But maybe having cut away much of what dreamku and their accompanying photos are not about will lead to a more enjoyable or at least less puzzling or frustrating reading and viewing experience. I’d love to hear what you think; you can always leave a comment or email me.

*My title and negation approach were inspired by a wonderful old haiku submission guidelines list by Lorraine Ellis Harr, called THE ISN’TS OF HAIKU.

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‘til next time, keep dreaming,

**** [aka: Patricia Kelly] **** If you wish to copy or use any of my writing or poems, please email me for permission (under “View my complete profile”) **** My other blogs: ROSWILA’S TAROT GALLERY & JOURNAL and ROSWILA’S TAIGA TAROT, and Yahoo DREAMJIN: Group for Dreamku – Haiku-Like Dream Poems ****