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Friday, June 30, 2006

Friday Wines - Damn Hard Haiku Edition

Hey gang, it's Friday wine time. I've read my last few Friday wine entries and found that - shock of shocks, horror of horrors, surprise of surprises, I'm getting verbose!

So I started thinking about what I can do to cut down on the noise. Then, I thought of something I thought was original - wine reviews by haiku! Then, a friend and fellow wine professional, James Tidwell, burst my bubble and told me to check out a site dedicated to just that: red wines reviewed by haiku. I was dashed, but just for a second.

You see, the author of, Lane Steinberg, uses the conventional English rules for haiku: three lines, each with specific syllabic restrictions. A typical English haiku will run 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables.

Here's an excellent example, written by Mr. Steinberg. It's a review of the 2004 Little Penguin Pinot Noir.

"Poor Mr. Pinot
They went and cut out his brain
Now he just smiles"

This is the English standard for a haiku, but it misses the difficulty of doing haiku in Japanese, a language based on pictographic alphabets. It's easy to conjure up syllables in English. Not so much in Japanese.

To impose Japanese morphological rules (fancy linguistics talk for how words are formed in a language) on English haiku poetry, the number of lines remains the same, but the syllables is cut in each line. Instead of a 5-7-5 structure, one uses a 3-5-3.

In traditional Japanese haiku, there's also generally a reference to nature included in the imagery. I'll be sticking to that convention here, too.

This is a form I call "Damn Hard Haiku," and it's what I'll be using in my reviews to set myself apart from Mr. Steinberg's poetry. The point here is to accurately describe the wine in as few words as possible, while building a visual image.

White wine under $20
2004 Bertani Due Uve Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon delle Venezie ($12.99)

Summer born
Lime juice, grass and salt
Two grapes clash

Red wine under $20
2003 Bogle Phantom California ($17.99)

Inkjet black
Berry loves charcoal

White wine over $20
2005 Opolo Viognier Central Coast ($25.99)

Peach blossom
Honey-laced ginger
Blood of stones

Red wine over $20
2002 Fort Ross Symposium Fort Ross vineyard ($29.99)

Cherry fire and ash
Sonoma breeze cools

This was fun and a challenge, so I'll be doing it again. Try the wines and see if my haiku gave you an accurate impression. Can't wait to hear the feedback!



At 3:59 PM, June 30, 2006, Blogger Principled Slut said...

Well, I generally don't 'get' the descriptions anyway... so I find it interesting that a haiku version gives almost a more vivid image than a standard text does. Discovering whether or not the image is accurate is yet to be seen.

Great work though!

At 9:29 AM, July 02, 2006, Blogger Charlie Eklund said...

Any truth to the rumor that your next review will be done entirely in hieroglyphics?

I heard it through the grapevine.

As it were.

At 3:10 AM, July 03, 2006, Blogger Mark said...

Slut -

Thanks for the kind words. I like how the haiku works as a fast explanation of the wine, but not happy with my bad poetry. I'll have to work on that.



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