Who, What, When, Where, & Why

My name is Ulises A. Mejias. I am an associate professor at SUNY Oswego and the director of the Institute for Global Engagement.

You can find my personal website here, where you can read more about me and my book Off the Network (2013, University of Minnesota Press).

Between Spring 2014 and Fall 2015, I had the opportunity to teach in India, Russia and the United States. The Teknohaiku site is a survey of my students’ opinions about the internet and “digital life” in the form of a collaborative poetry project. I thought this would be an interesting way to allow my students to reflect on the impact of the internet, and allow me to compare and contrast their opinions.

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Students submitted one or more haikus, choosing between a technophilia (positive attitude) or technophobia (negative attitude) templates. The site used for generating the haikus (now retired) was based on the Oh! Exploitable open source meme generator by Raphaël Bastide.

What is a haiku?

A haiku is a form of poetry used in Japan. A traditional haiku consists of 3 lines with 5, 7 and 5 phrases respectively, for a total of 17 syllables. Nature is a common theme in haiku. While at first glance the poem might appear to be simply describing an event or place, a closer reading might reveal a deeper reflection about the nature of life or existence, often expressing principles from Zen Buddhism.

Here are two examples of traditional Japanese haiku (translated into English, of course):

Over the wintry
forest, winds howl in rage
with no leaves to blow.

– by Soseki

I kill an ant
and realize my three children
have been watching.

– by Kato Shuson

 

In modern day, haikus are written in different languages (including English, Russian, Hindi and Urdu) and consider all sorts of situations and objects.

The bottoms of my shoes
are clean
from walking in the rain.

– by Jack Kerouac

Here’s a funny haiku I found dealing with technology:

Having been erased,
The document you’re seeking
Must now be retyped.

Terms of use

I reserve the right to remove any comments considered offensive, irrelevant or spam.

Creative Commons License

With consent from the authors, all the work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

For questions or comments, contact me at ulises dot mejias dot oswego dot edu.

Thanks

Special thanks to Melissa King for technical and production assistance.