Neither sonnets nor haiku – San Diego Reader

Dear Hipster, Do you agree with my belief that haiku ought to be the poem of choice in the hipster community? They are simple yet crafty, and the principle of kireji — a sort of cognitive break in the third line — presents an irresistible opportunity for irony. Or, maybe the Shakespearean sonnet appeals to hipsters because its complex form makes it a true exercise in poem craft. What say you, sir? — J. Paynter, Cornwall

Oh, sonnets! I’ll never forget the first thing I ever looked up on an iPhone — a sonnet, or more accurately, a series of sonnets by John Donne and William Shakespeare including “Death, Be Not Proud” and Number 55 — “Not marble nor the gilded monuments” — which I recited at a party before passing out on the floor in the bathroom.

To all hipster wannabes out there: you may be hipster, but you’ll never be using-cutting-edge-technology-to-drunkenly-google-17th-century-poetry hipster.

Anyway, that’s neither here nor there, as, while I clearly admire the sonnet, it’s not the hipster poem of choice.

Haiku are hipster inasmuch as they are the ramen of poetry, so simple, yet so hard to master. In the end, I think the most hipster thing you can do with a haiku is say, “The thing about haiku is that it can’t translated out of Japanese, at least, not with any accuracy.” That’s super hipster because it’s (1) super pretentious, (2) suggestively meaningless, and (3) infuriatingly true.

Fantastic as those two verse forms may be, I would have to say that the ultimate hipster poem is actually the humble limerick. Nowhere else in poetry (with the possible exception of the rare double-dactyl) can a hipster showcase his cleverness and irreverence (two of the most important hipster qualities) in equal measure.


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