Friday, October 29, 2010

Haiku: moments in time

 Today, I'm going to be reading and working through the book, "Haiku: Learn to Express Yourself by Writing Poetry in the Japanese Tradition" by Patricia Donegan. Haiku, according to Donegan, is the most popular form of poetry today. Perhaps that's because it's such a brief snapshot in time which anyone can observe. But haiku takes that brief moment a step further. It can create a moment of realization or connection to nature or to others.

Here are her seven keys to writing haiku:

1. Form: Your haiku should have three lines with or without a seven syllable count. It should be one breath long.

2. Image: Your haiku should have a descriptive image--for example, not "a flower," but instead "a purple iris in the sun."

3. Kigo (season word): Your haiku should refer to nature and hint at the day's season or weather.
4. Here and Now: You should write from real experience or memory, not imagination; record the present moment.

5. Feeling: Your haiku should not explain or tell, but instead show the feeling through your image.

6. Surprise: Your haiku should have an "ah!" moment that wakes us up.

7. Compassion: Your haiku should express openheartedness toward nature.

This looks like a terrific book--not only informational, but it also gives the reader an opportunity to create poetry while moving through the book. I think I'm going to have to add this one to my Christmas list!

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