Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Carpe Diem Ghost Writer #36, Haiku Noir (by Jen of Blog It or Lose It)


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This week's GW-post is another one written by Jen of Blog It or Lose It. She is very active and it's really a joy to have her as a kind of "co-writer". This week she was inspired by the "film noir" genre.
So I hope you all will like this new GW-post.
!! By the way. As I read our prompt-list again I saw that I now have two time a December 4th, so I have to change that again. Yesterday I brought in "isolation" for December 4th, but it turned out that I had planned a CD-Special by Richard Wright, our featured haiku-poet this month. So I will delete "isolation" and will bring you a CD Special at December 4th. Sorry for the inconvenience !!

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Haiku noir: Raymond Chandler and The Big Sleep

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Greetings, fellow Haijin! 

After many years I finally read Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep.  If that title sounds familiar to you, it’s because there is a famous movie by the same name – featuring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.  It is a “film noir” gem.
Even if you’re not familiar with the term “film noir” you’ll know film noir when you see it.  Think of a 1940s black-and-white detective movie.  Here are some common film noir scenes:
·         Driving at night … in the rain;
·         Dark, shadowy, smoky rooms with venetian blind shadows;
·         People in trench coats standing alone in the fog … or on a pier … or in an alley … or a street corner … or in some sort of awkward, lonely, vulnerable position.

Reading The Big Sleep was a delight.  Yes, Raymond Chandler had a wonderfully dry wit (“Neither of the two people in the room paid any attention to the way I came in, although only one of them was dead”).  But – he was also a master in setting a scene in very few words.  And the way he describes nature – especially ominous parts of nature – is magnificent.  Here are two quotes from the novel: 
“The tumbling rain was solid white spray in the headlights. The windshield wiper could hardly keep the glass clear enough to see through. But not even the drenched darkness could hide the flawless lines of the orange trees wheeling away like endless spokes into the night.”

Or …

“I walked to the windows and pulled the shades up and opened the windows wide. The night air came drifting in with a kind of stale sweetness that still remembered automobile exhausts and the streets of the city. I reached for my drink and drank it slowly.”
Sure, he’s talking about nature – but it is nature hemmed-in by rainy highways, poking out of the darkness, and reeking of exhaust – and there’s a perpetual sense of unease. 

Credits: Double Indeminity
 So for this post, I would like you to write “haiku noir” – haiku that explores the darker parts of nature – nature at the dirty edges of humanity:
·         Night time without a full moon – night with a sense of darkness and vulnerability;
·         Sense of foreboding, unease, danger;
·         Things that are “sensed” in the night more than seen;
·         Unidentified sounds and/or a sense of not being alone;
·         Cityscapes

For those of you in the deepest, darkest parts of the world – sorry I’m not bringing sunshine with this prompt!  BUT – perhaps you’ll have plenty to share with us.  I hope you’ll join in anyway.
Also note – this isn’t an exercise in creating a Humphrey Bogart haiku – we’re recreating the feel of film noir without heavy pop culture references.
A tall order – hopefully I can deliver!
A haiku:
a dim street lamp
in a pale orange fog –
almost bleeding

Tires and Feet in the Slush (photo © Jen)
 And a tanka:
the city is curled
around a tossed cigarette
hissing in slush
and even the lamp light
recoils from its strike

So – what do you see in the city at night?  Or – what makes you uneasy? 

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Further Investigation:




Text of Raymond Chandler’s “The Big Sleep” –
http://ae-lib.org.ua/texts-c/chandler__the_big_sleep__en.htm

Film Noir and Jazz – Mood Music for Writing –
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyEV0OHlgaE

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Thanks to The Muscleheaded Blog for helping me round up the photos and for offering advice.
http://muscleheaded.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/his-name-is-philip-marlowe/


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I hope you all did like this GW-post on "haiku-noir" ... it's really a joy to be a Ghost Writer for our Carpe Diem Haiku Kai. So if you have an idea, article or something to use as a GW-post ... please let me know. You can email your GW-post to:

carpediemhaikukai@outlook.com or carpediemhaikukai@gmail.com

Have fun with this GW-post and share your haiku or tanka with us all. This GW-post is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until December 5th at noon (CET). Enjoy it. I will publish our next post, our first CD-Special by Richard Wright.

26 comments:

  1. I'd forgotten what a brilliant wordsmith he was. Thanks for reminding me.

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    1. Glad you liked it -- I'd never read his novels before and was so pleasantly impressed. Really masterful language.

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  2. Meant to add: What a terrific Tanka. The feel of the words is so apt.

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    1. Thanks Girl Friday -- I was almost stumped by my own challenge, so this means a lot :)

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  3. VERY interesting Jen, very challenging - really quite a first. Les Films Noirs in France is highly respected. The art form that was created remaind unparalleled. I remember watching The Roaring Twenties totally spellbound, and Bogart's walk up cathedral steps at the end remains one of the most powerful scenes I have watched.
    Camera angles also played their part, and there have been some great take-offs, it must be said.

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    1. Film Noir captures the viewer at a subconscious level, doesn't it? It really *is* an art form - and given the tools the filmmakers had at their disposal, it's just magnificent. Was a *bit* concerned that you'd pass on this prompt, given how dark it is in your part of the world right now! But your haiku is a wonderful tribute. :)

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  4. so creative, so fun. Thanks Jen, baby.

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    1. Glad you had fun with it --- such great responses too :)

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  5. It's a pity - Some blogs are difficult for commenting. One has to make comments using twitter or facebook :(

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    1. I second that.
      I get confused too by all the places I don't belong to, like WP and facebook. Then I have a comment on a lovely post somewhere and nowhere to park it and let the poet know, So, if I don't turn up or reply, you know why.

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    2. I don't leave comments where I am not welcome.
      I don't do facebook or tweet.

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    3. Thanks Jen - I was going to wait... but I had too much fun...
      Will at links as soon as I post.

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  6. What a great prompt... and it inspired me to do American Sentence again.. the lure of darkness.

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    1. Glad you had fun with it --- and you're the master of the American Sentence, that's for sure -- wonderful!

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  7. Wow!! Great prompt Jen..loved the whole time period in film.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it :)

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  8. What a wonderful thought. I have done some of these already and am happy to do more. My favorite Chandler quote: "she was a blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window". -- Cathy of Haiku Plate Special (Lately the robots think I'm anonymous even when I put my details in)

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    1. Hi Cathy :)
      That's a great quote --- !
      Loved your haiku :)

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  9. Haiku noir...very clever and creative concept Jen. Loved doing these. Thanks for a fun prompt.

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    1. Glad you had fun, Rall! :)

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  10. Thank you so much for letting me help out, Chevrefeuille --- it's a pleasure :D
    Hoping your math exam went well :)

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  11. Oh, I really enjoyed reading your prompt Jen and the haiku and tanka are stupendous. Thanks once again for your efforts!

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    1. Thanks Georgia :)
      A bit different perhaps, but it's good to explore these things sometimes. And Chandler's language is so interesting .... was thrilled to have an opportunity to share. :)

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  12. This could almost come from Philip Marlowe himself -
    "the city is curled
    around a tossed cigarette
    hissing in slush"
    Beautiful :)

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    1. Aw, gawrsh :)
      Thanks ---

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  13. A stunning post, Jen. Gene, my husband, drove us in some of the thick fog of the noir settings. Sorry I was not able to contribute as we were on a short jaunt to the coast for a couple of days.

    in sleep spirit comes
    awake to cold sweaty fear
    touched from beyond

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