Monday, October 5, 2009

Haiku poetry

Warmup: 5 min. free write. You can do this any time you get "stuck" to jump start your writing. Just sit and write uninterrupted for 5 minutes. Don't worry about spelling or grammar, just dump whatever's in your head onto the page.

Classwork: some sections did Exquisite Corpses, some just went right into learning about haiku poetry. Haiku are short poems, usually three lines of seventeen syllables total (5 in the first line, 7 in the second line, 5 in the third line). They are very concrete and traditionally the subject is about something in nature, though modern haiku can be about anything. The best haiku are very compressed (using words that bring very strong images to mind) and often will introduce a description in the first line, an action or event in the second line, and "sum up" in the third line.

No homework for tonight. If you like writing poetry, though, I love reading it, so bring in your poems from home!

Here is a little bit about Basho's haiku from a scientist's website:

The images used by Basho in capturing the moment of truth were most often visual, as in the haiku about the frog, or the equally famous:

kareeda ni On the withered branch

karasu no tomarikeri A crow has alighted -----

aki no kure Nightfall in autumn.

This verse presents so sharp an image that it has often been painted. But Basho did not rely exclusively on visual images; the moment might equally well be perceived by one of other senses:

shizukasa ya Such stillness -----

iwa ni shimiiru The cries of the cicadas

semi no koe Sink into the rocks.

And sometimes the senses were mingled in a surprising modern way:

umi kurete The sea darkens,

kamo no koe The cries of the seagulls

honoka ni shirosi Are faintly white.

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