Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Do you haiku?

April is the cruelest month (nod to T.S. Eliot). It is also National Poetry Month. And in honor of the wonderful poets and poems that our world has produced, and because I'm an English professor, and because, quite frankly, I love poetry, I thought I'd encourage the creative writing kick that I've been on and encourage all of you to come up with a haiku.

Unlike the previous post challenging you, dear reader, to come up with a short story of 250 words or less, the haiku assignment is quite do-able. Let me refresh your memory from your school days:

*A haiku is a poem comprised of seventeen syllables.
*Although there are variations on the haiku in terms of lines and meter, a typical haiku is comprised of three lines in the following variation:
---5 syllables in the first line
---7 syllables in the second line
---5 syllables in the third line

Here is an example (not mine):

Freshly Fallen

By Paul McCann

Snow lay on the street .
It crunched underneath my feet .
Footprints in the snow.

And here is my own example (not great, but you get the picture):

Race in the U.S.,
Is there an answer... perhaps,
But what's the question?

So, here's my challenge to you: send in your own haiku on whatever subject you want to write about in the comment section. The more submissions the merrier!

Or find a poem and read it and savor the play of language and rhythm of the words. And better yet, if you have a chance, go hug a poet!


nobu said...

Today, I visited some blogs of haiku.
It suprized me that so many people
love haiku and creat it in America.

I know some classical haiku in Japanese by heart , but I have never created any haiku.

CVT said...

Hmmm . . . okay. I'll do you one better - I'll post up a poem/spoken word piece I started recently. Unfortunately, the positive half isn't finished, but this first half seems pretty appropriate for a number of reasons (it's still in draft phase, so bear with me):

"Poetry is some bullsh---"
That's what I used to think.
I tried to make that REAL clear the first time I combined some paper and ink
To write "poetry."

It was a high school English class - and I already had my reasons for hating the teacher
I had my own seat and area cleared out in the back corner -
And I don't think it was so she could enjoy my exquisite features
Without obstruction from other students;

Wasn't because I was rude or inappropriate, either -
I think it was because I asked too many questions, and I had the capacity to be a leader,
The kind leading everybody else to ask "why" too much and then we'd start learning and thinking for ourselves
Instead of just buying whatever SHE was inclined to sell
And that's not what education is for.

So - expectedly - when she brought out "classic" poetry, I had my doubts
(And YOU ALL KNOW which "poetry" I'm talking about):
Stuffy, dry parchment penned by old, conservative white men
Who considered themselves liberal and wise because they could write about birds and butterflies
(And - I suspect - all while high)
So I called "bullsh--" and stopped listening.

She later brought out "Asian" poetry - maybe thinking to make it more pertinent to me
But I'm not sure she knew that it mattered that I'm NOT Japanese
All the same to her - she brought out the one style of Asian verse that she - as a Western white girl - knew,
Oh, yes - don't cringe - it was a HAIKU

So my response?
"Hey Ms. Walker, I wrote a Haiku for you:
When I ask questions
Why do you get so angry?
I just want to learn."

As I expected, this insubordination earned me a trip to the vice principal -
Even though I had followed her rules, written a true haiku, and kept it respectful

And thus ended my poetry career
For the next ten years . . .

Jennifer said...

I suspect that much of the haiku that either professional poets or amateurs (like myself) produce in the U.S. does not follow the classical tradition of haiku (invocation of nature, for example). However, I think people are attracted to haiku because it is simple and seemingly everyone can produce one (although perhaps not well) and most importantly, you don't have to worry about rhyming.

Thanks for sharing your poem--I will be eager to hear the end of it, if you are willing to share (or even privately, if you're willing to email me the mp3 file once you've done it as a spoken word piece).

I agree that it is appropriate for a number of reasons and I LOVE the haiku embedded in this piece! And I hope in the second half we get to see an evolution of the speaker's appreciation for verse and poetry--you know, it's not owned by the others who created the form.

Actually, there are a few spoken word artists I like and thought about sharing on this space, but I'm so technically challenged that I haven't quite figured out how to upload an itunes music file (yep, I'm a mac user).

If anyone is out there who knows, advice is appreciated!

CVT said...

Thanks for the comment, Jennifer. I haven't even started the second half yet - but whenever I end up writing it out (and you've guessed the basic "theme" of it), I'll send it your way.

As far as putting mp3s on this blog, I think you're going to have to find a third-party site like the one you have tracking where your readers are logging in from. To be honest, I don't know one off-hand, but I've been told that's how it works from others much more experienced than myself.

Brian Hunt said...

CVT's story made me smile today. I wouldn't mind hearing a MP3 either.