About MetaHaiku

The simplicity of the familiar haiku structure completely belies the immense complexity that develops so rapidly in the metaHaiku experience. While reading a series of simple haiku, the reader can click on each line, thereby changing it to a new line further into the snapshot being created by the haiku. The haiku begins at a set place and ends at another set place, with no opportunity to go back. The moment described by the haiku, while retaining its essential angularity, moves forward, changing like a true experience and allowing the reader to create up to 175 different haiku within each structure, while discouraging frivolous use of the structure.

Because the medium of the Web is so flexible, so vastly available, and so possible, it attracts people who are interested in technology for its own sake. The people who are technically effective are very rarely good writers, and vice versa. More intensive technological cleverness is often seen as better, and the eye and mind can grow jaded as they are force-fitted into the Web's apparent affinity for gaming. Even that Web art which does not aspire to a game ideal tends towards puzzles, treasure hunts, and mysteries; the medium seems to demand it. It is difficult to escape.

I came to the Web when the pages needed to be hand-coded. As time went on I learned the other skills as they became available, but mostly as a way of making a living. I never lost that first taste for the textual possibilities of hypertext. It seemed to me that a good writer, given the right skills, must surely come up with literature that is not only interesting and complex, but readable as well. So I tried it.

I tried for a long time. It was hard; the remarkable possibilities I could see in nonlinear text became very slippery, and things seemed to progress steadily deeper into labyrinthian creations, where the reader could not find their way around, and the stories became lost. I had a few successes, but as I went along I began to realize that only the truly simple, structured creations were, I felt, successful.

So I decided to boil it down. I tried a few very simple poems and was instantly pleased. The medium of poetry seemed to lend itself much more to the nonlinear environment than stories had, and I could keep it much shorter and simpler; and I began to think about shortness and simplicity and the surrounding ideas of structure allowing one to be creative within a context. This, almost inevitably led me to haiku.

As soon as I began, I was struck with the perfection and harmony of the technique. By sticking to the 5-7-5 order within the linking structure, I found I could create what I felt were marvelous jewel-like moments that appeared to move forward through time. I found the results immensely pleasing, and my technique, which is to write the haiku in situ from within the web-design program, allowed me to really live inside the haiku as they were being created.

Like the wabisabi aesthetic in Japan, or many of the combinatorial artists' books around today, I believe there may be more in the way of asthetics to be gained from paring away some the many technologies involved in modern-day Web design. I see a small rennaissance in the simple joys of word-play and connection, and I hope that others will come to see these multidimensional frontiers with an eye to mindfulness and elegant simplicity.

I hope you will enjoy this project. It is ongoing, and I hope soon to have created a haiku-ful of haiku.

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