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poetry as a living entity

I am reading Basho's Narrow Road. I love how geeky the translation/annotation is. I am starting to get a sense for how poetry can be a communication among various people both living and dead. Not just something you sit there by yourself and do. In that sense it's not so different from the shared forms of communication on the net.

I'm also getting a sense for how poetic forms change. Some people think that a poetic form, especially haiku, has to be rigid. But haiku started out as a piece of another poetic form (renga, a collaborative form). That form has all sorts of rules. But it started as a rejection of another form that was even more formal. So people are always taking a form that feels formal to them and loosening it and then that form solidifies and becomes the basis for something else that loosens it. So it forms a chain of links stretching back into the past.

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