haiku and lawyers

I am so excited for myself and our attorney-readers and -contributors (of which we have many) to have found David Giacalone’s “Haiku and Lawyers,” which I excerpt below.  My own paean to poetry as a cure for modern life and its discontents is here.

Thanks, David!

I wish I had found haiku when I was a busy, driven lawyer-mediator. Like many other attorneys, I rarely found time between career, family and civic activities, to enjoy art or literature, and couldn’t even conceive of creating anything artistic. But, haiku is perfect for the hectic professional, or any other overwhelmed member of our hyperactive society. And, it is especially perfect for the busy lawyer:

  1. brevity removes the not-enough-time excuse — open a good haiku book or web page and in a few moments you can have a worthwhile artistic experience (insight, joy, humor, serenity, etc.);
  2. lawyers love words — especially words that have layers of meaning, connotation, and denotation, where distilling an image to its essence is crucial, but a little misdirection is allowed (and even encouraged);
  3. and rules: not only are there lots of rules, but they are in dispute, constantly evolving, often misapplied, and frequently defended or attacked beyond all reason.
  4. creation: lawyers often feel (and are often told) that they don’t make or create anything (besides controversy and money). The haiku concept is complex enough to be a challenge but manageable enough to be mastered by anyone who gives it a little quality time. Every lawyer may not have a great novel inside her or him, but every lawyer can create some very passable haiku, and maybe even some great haiku.
  5. balance: haiku can help lawyers achieve the balanced lifestyle prescribed by Professor Patrick J. Schiltz, in his landmark article, On Being a Happy, Healthy, and Ethical Member of an Unhappy, Unhealthy, and Unethical Profession, 52 Vand. L. Rev. 871, which we discussed here last September. ”