The French haiku differs from the anglo-saxon one by many aspects.
Differences in its development.
The haiku appeared quite everywhere at the same time. Firstly by poetic translations of the Classical Japaneses masters. Very complete works (books) were published at the begining of the 20th century. But haiku rise in the USA after the WWII because of the interest about Japan. That was the Beat generation haiku. It was also teached at school. So quite all Americans know what is an haiku. Atfer that , the writing began in the USA and circles, magazines, associations were created. Nothing similar in Europe and France. The haiku remained in educated litterary circles.
Internet came, firstly with mail exchanges, then mailing lists (1997) and web sites (after 2000). In the French speaking world, the spreading remained slow, expansive and very limitated through books.
Differences in its organization
Firstly organized in magazines, associations, they discovered and mastered after some years the network techniques. They did the critical mass very soon. It was facilitated by their big linguistic sapce. It is the same in the traditional books edition. They created the international community and throgh contests, publications, imposed their "standards" sometimes different than the Japanese ones.
French people are still strongly oriented to the classical means of edition (books) They don't understand the mediatic and cultural issues. They are not interested to be in teh haiku landscape. they are very few visible groups. The consequences are the delay in the creation of the critical mass, the lack of technical (stylistic) informations, the very few number of visible living haiku. French people lack not of specialists but of popularizers, of references, of examples of living (present) haiku. The Canadian situation is very different because they are closer to the US world and have many haiku editors.
Differences in the mentality
Having a strong network cultures, the Anglo-saxons used to publish in others countries (even if it is in English only...) That is very different with the Frenchs who are folded in their language and culture.
Anglo-saxons people are more ready for projects. It is possible to build a project in less than 24h.
In the mailing lists, the follow easier the "standards" of the group and discuss less the necessity of them. I notice a "latin" attitude in the French world that consist in rejecting every kind of "rules" and to always discuss them without taking time to listen the group. The listening attitude of the Anglo-saxons is more adapted to the learning "by example" and to the transmission of knowledge.
I also noticed the dynamic of these groups without hierachical structures. The exchanges give birth to a distinction between members based on teh mutual recognition of competences. A virtual leader is implicitely promoted. He doesn't lead the group but manage it and show the directions. After some time, the group follow another 'elected guide" and the transition is very smooth a bit like a V of geese.
Differences in the style
Lacking of references, the French haiku grows over its cultural bases. The authors are influenzed by their Western poetical education using all the traditional peotical devices extraneous to the haiku world. That is normal in my opinion beacuse we are still in the early stages.
Nevertheless I can notice these constants :
- Problems to take distance with the subject. Importance of the own judgement and involving of the author. The author follow the classical path of the story instead of placing the elements and letting the reader free to interpret and conclude.
- Importance of 'I', an attitude closer to the Japan. The author doesn't resist to tell about him. He is the main subject of the haiku. A characteristic from the French poetry.
- Importance of the explict and direct comparisons. The author is afraid the reader doesn't understand what he said; so he explains all.
- Importance of the personification. The author make the things living through his eyes. He attributes human feelings or beings to things. He stages.
- Lack of structuration, folded sentence, ignorance of the caesura. By lack of technical knowledges, the author doesn't use the techniques typical to the haiku.
- Too much lyricism and use of peotic devices, serach of effects by devices instead of by iamges and relationships. The author use in the haiku the techniques of another poetry.
- Too few knowledge of the 'haiku moment', of the transcendentality. The haiku is too often a description, without "inspiration", breathing". The directions of use, the operating instructions lack.
- Preponderance of the intellect (constructed image) over the sensitive (experienced image). We are the people of the Reason.
- Completeness : the author tells the whoel thing, mainly what the reader have to understand. There is no place for the sensitive.
- The haiku tells a story, tells something. The author had an idea and then write the haiku. Doing that he inverts the way of writing that starts with the perception.
Some positive characteristics :
- Few or no Zen. Subjects of the everyday life. A true living haiku
- A sense of irony
- The importance of the Human as the center of the haiku. The haiku tells about the man in his/her relationships with the world. He integrates (uses) the man as Japaneses do with Nature.
- An affective connotation. Love, physical or affective, tenderness are frequent.
Some possible negative drifts (very uncommon by now).
- Proverbs, axioms, epigrams, eternal thruths
- Puns, play on words, comic sentences,
- Formal drift. Trying to write in another form.