[ Notes by Narayanan Raghunathan ]
First, we will try to roughly give a tentative indicative definition and proceed.
"A humorous or satiric poem dealing with human affairs, usually written in the same form as haiku. Derived from the name of a popular selector of maekuzuke."
William J Higginson : The Haiku Handbook, Published by Kodansha International Ltd. 17-14 Otowa 1-chromeBunkyo-ku, Tokyo112-8652
"SenryÅ« (å·æŸ³, literally 'river willow') is a Japanese form of short poetry similar to haiku in construction: three lines with 17 or fewer syllables in total"
"The form is named after Edo era haiku poet SenryÅ« Karai (æŸ„äº•å·æŸ³, 1765-1838), whose collection IfÅ«yanagidaru (èª¹é¢¨æŸ³å¤šç•™) launched the genre (and hence his name) into the public consciousness. A typical example from the collection:
æ³¥æ£’ã‚’ dorobÅ wo
This senryu that can also be translated "Catching him / you see the robber / is your son" is not so much a personal experience of the author as an example of a type of situation (provided by a short comment called a maeku or fore-verse, which usually prefaces a number of examples=senryu) and/or a brief=witty rendition of an incident, from history or the arts (plays, songs, tales, poetry, etc.). In this case, there was a historical incident of legendary proportion"
Human Beings and human emotions, ironies, idiocyncrasies, the intrinsic humour of life implicit and explicit in everyday affairs of life at home, office, work, travel, sports, science, music etc. find their unique expression in this genre called senryu.
There are three possibilities to consider the relationship between haiku and senryu
1] Regard Senryu as a sub-genre [sub-set] of Haiku. Here the common properties[ like brevity and related to transitory things and line length, the fact that human beings are part of nature, etc.] of the two genres may be listed as arguments.
2] Regard Haiku and Senryu as totally independent mutually exclusive genres [ Non intersecting sets ignoring the common aspects]
3] Regard Haiku and Senryu as independently grown[ing] but with regions where the classification fuse mutually enhancing each other That is treat them as two sets with about 10-20 % mutually intersecting area. Senryu now may be seen as a type of Japanese short poetry growing parallely with Haiku with an everyday human activity element brought into prominence ~ independent: but still there are areas where this classification fails, one may have doubts.
The actual classification of Haiku as "Senryu" or "non-Senryu" is still being debated in scholarly circles! "Not again !" is the mood. The arguments are old in new attire. Anyway it is best to treat Haiku and senryu as two genres that simultaneously developed and that they share some common features sometimes. But we could talk about Pure Haiku Or Pure Senryu or mutually overlapping . [Geometrically two intersecting circles with about 10-20 % mutually inclusive area in visual notation. ]
The "kigo (key season word)" is not generally present in Senryu. But it may be present ~ Haiku may have people and humour too. So it will be necessary to consider every individual case and decide whether to call it Senryu or Haiku or both.
The Special Human Moment and its vast implications with a tinge of gentle irony are Senryuï¿½s general characteristics ~ There are many hard Senryu written too, which include those that make personal judgments, opinions on various affairs of the world and people. These Senryu do not deal with a special moment but with large space-times.
For more details technical and historical refer to the following links
"George Swede of Toronto, Ontario, who co-founded Haiku Canada in 1977 and active in the international haiku community, provides the clearest and most logical answer I have found. After studying haiku types, he came to the conclusion that English-language haiku consist of "three content categories": Nature haiku, Human haiku (senryu), and Human plus nature haiku (hybrids). Examples follow each of George's astute findings:"
Senryu: Where Does the Name Come From?
Karai Hachiemon (1718-1790), a government official in the Asakusa area of Edo (now Tokyo), used the pen name of "Senryu" ("river willow"), and the short verse honors his contribution by bearing his name. Karai Senryu was instrumental in popularizing the senryu of his day, and the verses he chose were further screened by Goryoken Arubeshi (the editor's pen name meaning "Please excuse my screening"). These were published as 23 volumes of Haifu Yanagidaru during Hachiemon's lifetime. Though Haifu Yanagidaru continued to be published until volume 167, senryu graudaully declined in quality and came to be called kyoku (crazy verse). Later, Sakai Kuraki (1869-1945) and Inoue Kenkabo (1870-1934) revived senryu as a literary art, and other serious senryu writers have carried on their efforts even today.
Senryu: Definitions & Pronunciation
A CALL FOR THE COMPLETE ELIMINATION OF JOKE HAIKU PRODUCTION ON THE INTERNET
Paul H. Henry
FOR BOOK AND ANTHOLOGY REVIEWS
Haiku, Senryu, Tanka links
A brief Survey of Senryu by Women
"(SENRYU) (KEY) , a Japanese poem structurally similar to the haiku but primarily concerned with human nature. It is usually humorous or satiric. Used loosely, the term means a poem similar to the haiku that does not meet the criteria for haiku."
The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05.
Please refer to this essay by Susumu Takiguchi ~
Senryu ~ Examples ~
young Lakshmi stands
grandpa points his cane
all children rejoice ~
"shame periappa ~ please
Periappa ~ The Elder Father [Father's elder brother] in Tamizh]
electric razor buzzes on
her wonder might
Hard Senryu ~
saddam reaches bush
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