In recent history you'd think of Guns N Roses, Courtney Love, Led Zeppelin. People you might rock out to but would'nt want to live next door or marry into your family. Flamboyant and wild characters who drank all the beer, borrowed money they would'nt payback and generally acted out.
Many haiku poets of the past had more in common with Jim Morrisson than today's typical haiku poet. There is a tendency to think of a "haiku poet" as a Birkenstock wearing, vegetarian, Volvo driving carpooler who listens to wooden flute music and drinks green tea. I, myself a haiku zealot, am a meat eating, gun owning, Camaro driving tequila fan who listens to Black Sabbath, plays in a rock band and digs chicks who wear ankle strapped pumps. I dispute the notion of a typical haiku poet.
There were a number of hard drinking and irresponsible showboats in the haiku tradition. They could'nt hold a job, got thrown out of everyplace they went and depended on friends for a place to sleep. (Sounds like some drummers I know.) Maybe what the American haiku movement needs is an Axel Rose or Lindsay Lohan type poet. A furniture breaking haiku delinquent who will focus mainstream media attention on the form as a result of their high profile antics.
Hosai Ozaki was the last guy you'd want to marry your sister. He wrote "free verse"haiku back when it just was'nt done. No syllable structure, no season structure. This guy was a rebel genius.
An insurance salesman with a law degree that just could'nt hold a straight gig. He lost his health and his position and his wife. After washing out in normal society, he tried to live as a religious but was thrown out of temples for getting drunk, coming in late, and insulting the priest.
At the height of his writing powers, he reached the end of the line as a sexton in a temple on Shodo Island. His only tasks were weeding and sweeping. He died there eight months later.
His verses are lonely and detached as anything you'll ever read. I have just completed a collection of his work called "Right under the big sky, I don't wear a hat" trans by Hiroaki Sato. Stone Bridge Press.
(All translations are single line. )
Gazing into the storm's darkness my eyes become lit
Sunflowers hugely turn, this is Manchuria
The mountain sunset graveyard tilts toward the sea
I wake from a nap, only the shadows of tired things
This firefly does'nt glow its hardened
From the lonely body nails begin to grow
Santoka was another drunken haiku maverick. Like Ozaki, he did not write a 575 haiku or adhere to the season word requirement.
when i die
weeds, falling rain
begging i accept
the blazing sun
enter my begging bowl
i am wet
by the rain
from that cloud
to a nice building
it's a crematorium
well, which way should i go
the wind blows
mountains I'll never see again
fade in the distance
These haiku masters show there is more than one way to write and your imagery is always more important than your form.