Something that I’ve noticed about working with children in poetry workshops is how much they enjoy “template” based poetry lessons. Template based poems are those that give you a structure or a format to follow and, particularly in the beginning, kids really gravitate to this type of writing because it doesn’t carry the creative anxiety of a blank, white page waiting for a vivid imagination to spout out some free verse. One of their favorites is the haiku.
This past summer, a good friend and I went to a sushi restaurant in Columbus, Ohio where paper and pencils sat on all the tables for the diners to write haiku poems. Every spot on the walls and support beams fluttered with hundreds of haiku poems that the customers had left behind. Another friend of mine, an artist, keeps a notebook in her bag and whenever she gets annoyed by people in places like airports or ticket lines, she writes a cranky haiku that I like to call “hate haiku.” I find haiku to be a fun and easy way to mark memorable events and I think they can carry the essence of these moments with just the right amount of information but still remain mysterious.
The most well known haiku poetry comes from the 17th century Japanese poet, Matsuo Basho, and in its native form has particular rules for its theme, elements and syllables, and it is almost exclusively nature inspired. In contemporary english, however, we have distilled it down to a three-line poem that has seventeen syllables in a 5-7-5 order.
So, today I give to you a Year New Haiku. And, won’t you please add yours here, too?
This is a time to
make fresh plans and be ready
for good surprises.
May your fresh, new year be full of good surprises, my friends.
TRY THIS WEEK: Write a haiku!