Hai(na)ku

I reviewed my haiku pointers last night and realized I've been doing my poems wrong. I started dabbling with this beautiful Japanese poetry just last week, and I know I have a long way to go till I get it down pat. Nowhere in any site does it say that it is going to be easy, anyway. Writing extraordinarily out of the ordinary, in three lines of 17 syllables or less, is definitely not a breeze - not for me, that is.

In particular, I realized that I was writing in three fragments. Haiku (and senryu) is generally written in two parts: a fragment on the first or last line, and a phrase/sentence split on the other two lines. As a guide, a good structure for a beginner like me is:

So I did some tweaking on my poems, and I do hope it is better this time, at least technically. Here is an example:

Before

hint of dawn
half awake, half asleep
jeepneys chug and sputter

After

crack of dawn
jeepneys chug and sputter
incessantly

Okay, so "special" may not yet be written all over this haiku, but you know what they say! Practice makes perfect! :)

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posted by vina @ 12:01 PM           

3 Comments:

At 11:51 PM, May 29, 2009, Blogger Bill said...

Thanks for letting us watch you at work. As you've figured out for yourself, we generally work for a two-part structure in a 3-line format, with the break coming at the end of line 1 or the end of line 2. (Variations are possible.) Thus, your "after" takes you in the right direction. A modifier (in this case, the adverb "incessantly") is not usually the strongest way to finish, and giving the modifier a line to itself can also be questioned.
Try to end this on a stronger word/image. Just as examples

crack of dawn
the incessant chug and sputter
of jeepneys

but then

crack of dawn
the chug and sputter
of jeepneys

What happened to "incessantly"? First, it was tucked into line 2, where it became an adjective. Then I was reminded of what Mark Twain said about the adjective: "When in doubt leave it out." The same goes for adverbs, by the way.

And now something interesting has happened. To know that a noise, or anything else, is incessant, you have to stay around for a while. Without "incessant/ly," we are in the moment, and that's the native habitat of haiku (the haiku moment, the "aha" moment, etc.).

Practice doesn't make perfect, Vina. Nothing does. But practice makes much, much better. I'd say you're coming along superbly, and I look forward to folowing you on your journey.

 
At 11:54 PM, May 29, 2009, Blogger Bill said...

Here's one of mine I'm reminded of

first light
after the car alarm
birdsong

 
At 4:15 PM, June 11, 2009, Blogger dezphaire said...

i could never write a haiku. hehe. i tried... but i always want to use so many words.

on lomography - just buzz me on YM! id's dezphaire. cheers!

 

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