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tinywords' purpose:
humanize technology,
spread haiku worldwide.

Monday, March 31, 2003

Someone has created an interactive periodic table of the elements, with a haiku for each element. For example:

Dead stars reborn
as diamonds, buckeyballs,
and beings

Stephanie Hall (haiku for Carbon)
(thanks, slashdot)

Monday, March 24, 2003

In my excitement Friday, I got some basic facts about renga wrong in my introductory comments. A renga's first verse is, in fact, called a hokku (not a haiga, which is an illustrated haiku). And renga traditionally alternated between 17-syllable verses and 14-syllable verses -- though in modern practice, many renga poets seem to use 17-syllable verses (or so) exclusively. I've corrected the text here.

It's surprisingly hard to find good information about renga online, but this site is a good start (warning: popup ads).

Friday, March 21, 2003

At noon on March 21, 2003, tinywords publisher and chief haikuvangelist D. F. Tweney descended upon the citizens in Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco, with a spontaneous recitation of haiku from around the world, in honor of World Poetry Day and the first day of Spring. Aided by WiFi, Internet, and SMS technologies, Tweney recited nearly 50 haiku contributed to tinywords.com by poets as far as Brisbane, Australia; Chennai, India; Trinidad; Ireland; and New Jersey. As helicopters thundered overhead, sirens wailed in the distance, and the bells of St. Patrick's Church tintinnabulated behind him, Tweney read about dogwood blossoms, robins, dogs, war, TV newscasters, clouds, hawks, joy, and plaid pants.

Shortly thereafter, all haiku contributed to the event on tinywords.com (now totaling more than 55 individual haiku) were delivered via email to a crowd of "virtual audience members" around the world.

"At a time when so many are focused on the technologies of destruction, it's important to realize the ways in which technology can be used to spread art, beauty, and understanding," said Tweney. "Plus, haiku are just a lot of fun!"

Tweney and longtime tinywords subscriber Alex D.

Tweney and longtime tinywords subscriber Alex D.
tinywords publisher D. F. Tweney (in red shoes), reading haiku in Yerba Buena Gardens. Looking on is tinywords subscriber Alex D (right), winner of a tinywords T-shirt. (Photos by Lydia Lee)

tinywords.com thanks Lydia Lee for logistical help (and for handing out postcards to total strangers throughout Yerba Buena Gardens).

the original invitation to world poetry day

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Hot off the presses: tinywords T-shirts and caps. Show the world how much you like haiku! Like Babelfish, this is an experiment. Disclaimer: I make a couple bucks off of each item that gets sold. If it adds up to enough, I'll use the money to buy a few haiku books to give away as prizes during April, which is National Poetry Month. Meanwhile, help spread haiku around the world by wearing a tinywords logo on your bod!

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Haikuworld reviews tinywords: "like the world's smallest daily magazine."

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

We have a place, a time, and an event. The tinywords.com global wireless open-mike haiku event will take place this Friday, March 21, at 12 noon Pacific / 3pm Eastern / 8pm GMT in Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco. It will be on the second level of the park, above the Martin Luther King Jr. fountain, in front of the Starbuck's -- where a T-Mobile hotspot will be used to provide wireless connectivity for the event. Here are the details.

Monday, March 17, 2003

I spent part of the past weekend scoping out WiFi hotspots in or near Golden Gate Park, in preparation for the first-ever Global Wireless Virtual Haiku Festival, to be held around noon Pacific / 20:00 GMT this Friday, March 21. Results were mixed. I found good, usable signals in a couple of cafes -- interesting, but not for the festival, which should be outdoors. I picked up WiFi signals on the steps of Kezar Stadium and on Lincoln Ave. between 2nd and 3rd, but couldn't log on to the Net there. And I got a strong signal in the lovely Garden for the Environment, thanks to Jason Luther's excellent outdoor WiFi installation -- but also had problems logging on there, for reasons I can't quite determine.

I'd like to check the signals in the Civic Center area, near the SF Main Library and the new Asian Art Museum, since that might be more accessible to people working downtown. But I'm not sure I'll have the time. Right now the most likely candidate looks to be the Garden for the Environment. Any opinions?

People who can't be physically in San Francisco for the festival can still participate! There will be a number of ways to do this: By posting your haiku to tinywords.com, by receiving haiku on your email accounts or SMS/Web enabled phones, or by holding your own simultaneous virtual haiku readings. More details to come soon.

I admit the machine translation provided by Babelfish is pretty marginal. Norman Darlington pointed out that this kind of translation really mangles the poetry, with results that are often ridiculous, risible, or merely unintelligible. Even simple stuff, like the tagline "free daily haiku!" gets mistranslated ... in French, for instance, Babelfish renders this phrase as "libérez le haiku quotidien!" -- a demand (like "Free Leonard Peltier!") not an advertisement ("Free beer!"). Still, it's strangely appropriate for tinywords. In a way, our goal here really is to liberate daily haiku ...

Still, lame translations may be worse than none. Putting the Babelfish icon on the home page was an experiment ... so let me know what you think of it. I'm open to suggestions.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Another new feature for the tinywords home page: automatic translation via Alta Vista's Babelfish. Go to our home page and click on the flag of your choice to see a translated site. Or:

Chasque aquí para visión tinywords.com en su lengua.
Cliquetez ici pour regarder tinywords.com en votre langue.
Klicken Sie hier, um tinywords.com in Ihrer Sprache anzusehen.
Estale aqui para ver tinywords.com em sua língua.
Scattisi qui per osservare tinywords.com in vostra lingua.

I can't show these languages properly because I lack the fonts, but here's tinywords.com in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese.

Monday, March 10, 2003

UNESCO is sponsoring World Poetry Day on March 21. I'd like for tinywords to participate in this, somehow -- perhaps we can have an online haiku festival? A one-day poetry competition? An in-person celebration of haiku somewhere near tinywords' headquarters in San Mateo, California? Please send me your suggestions. Keep in mind it has to be something we can plan and implement in less than two weeks!

Thursday, March 06, 2003

New haiku mailing list: Green Dragon. "This is a workshop for writing haiku and tanka poetry inspired by environmental science and philosophies, including deep ecology, eco-spirituality, eco-feminism, environmental ethics, animal rights, and all forms of green politics, conservation or environmentalism, as well as green science fantasy and science fiction."

"Haiku Harvest seeks haiku both in innovative forms and in the classical form and content of the Japanese tradition and the modern western tradition of classical haiku." Deadline April 30 for the March-April 2003 issue, although they accept submissions on a rolling basis for their bimonthly issues. Here are their submission guidelines.

The World Haiku Club has created a new discussion list for the discussion and critique of "neo-classical" haiku -- haiku from outside Japan that adheres as closely as possible to the guidelines and strictures of Japanese classical haiku. This list has a restricted membership -- you need to apply for admission. No details on the group's home page yet, but you can read about it on the WHC's roster of haiku mailing lists.

The response to tinywords' new "comments" feature has been overwhelming. Lots of great comments -- and lots of great feedback on the site and its haiku in general. A few examples:

I have only been subscribed for a short time. But in that time they have always brought a smile to my face or have a calming effect on me. - annie

In general, I find the haiku such a gift of peace in crazy days... It's such a nice thing - like jazz on a winter day. - Jo Lee Loveland Link

They're great! They make my day. - beetle barbour

I love your site now,I am only going to love it more!! Thank you for the joy you bring to my life... - L.L. "Kitty" Stewart

tough day, bad weather
bad news. But by email
ah! a poem.
- Patricia J. Hawkins

Overcast commute
depressing strain of winter
Click-click, happiness
- Bret Sutton

Quietly, smoothly, unobtrusively (as befits haiku) 'tinywords' is becoming significant in world haiku. - John Bird

Tinywords.com is not overpowering and gives one the right amount of poetic spirituality that is much needed in our daily lives. - Stanford Forrester

Thank you, everyone who wrote, for your comments and compliments! It's really wonderful to know that the haiku are being read, and contemplated, and appreciated by people out there in the world.

The Haiku International Association has published a selection of ten haiku, in English and Japanese, by author and tinywords contributor William Higginson. This is a great honor for Bill, who is the first non-Japanese to have been invited to offer such a selection. It's also good fortune for haiku lovers, because Bill presents a really remarkable selection of haiku, from Basho to to Elizabeth Lamb, along with some short reviews of three of them. It must have been a challenge for him to select just ten from the tens of thousands of haiku he's read in his life... but the work shows; these are exquisite. (alternate link: go to the HIA English home page and click on the button in the middle labeled "Monthly Selected")

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

I spent many hours last weekend coding and testing a new feature for tinywords.com. It's now ready for the public: You can now post comments on tinywords haiku, using a simple form at the bottom of each haiku page.

Browse through the archive and post comments wherever you see fit -- it's easy! You need to enter your email address to post a comment, but you can keep it private if you wish. The site will only publish your email address if you check the box indicating it's OK to do so.

A copy of each comment will be sent to the haiku's author, as long as the author's email address is on file (this won't work for Issa or Basho, obviously).

This is just the first of several improvements I have planned that are aimed at increasing the interactivity and community nature of the tinywords site. I'd like to know what you think of it. And, if you find any bugs or have ideas for other improvements, please let me know.

editor / publisher: d. f. tweney (dft at tinywords dot com)
Copyright (c) 2000-2003 by Tweney Media.
Except as noted, all haiku are copyright (c) their respective authors.