E-book to help you research, write, revise, and get ready to publish in all genres

Saturday, October 2, 2021

How Haiku Helps


Reading and writing haiku, senryu, and other mini-poems help us to see more detail and say more in fewer words. Why should this matter to poets and writers?




Many of the poems posted on the Internet go on and on, like a first draft that was never read aloud, reconsidered, or revised. With just a little more wait-time allowed after writing and just a little more listening time allowed to evaluate the sound echoes, rhythm, and musicality, each poem can go from “okay” to “good” or “good” to “well-done.”


Haiku, senryu, and other mini-poems remind us to be brief.




Lengthy poems often have overlapping pictures with no clear focus. This can happen by mixing metaphors, but also because the poem has no clear direction. That’s fine in a first draft, but after letting a poem sit for a while before coming back to revise, poets are more apt to see what they and the poem are trying to say.


Haiku, senryu, and other mini-poems call on the clarity of a well-taken photograph or an artist’s quick sketch.




Haiku, senryu, and other mini-poems frequently rely on a beautiful sight or insight (preferably both!)


This awareness of a fleeting thought, moment, or scene causes us to welcome the unexpected, be alert for the exquisite, be attentive to the profound, and be appreciative of our environment.


Other Features


Haiku, senryu, and other mini-poems are so transportable! They encourage us to keep a notebook handy.


These little forms help us to break free of rhymes that quickly close down thought, originality, and natural-sounding language. Also, by focusing on rhyming words, we might overlook other poetic factors, waiting to reveal themselves.


When we give ourselves and our poems over to the traditional 5/7/5 syllables in the three lines of haiku or senryu, we begin to think in form. If we prefer 2/4/2 or 3/4/3 or other syllabic count, that works too. Regardless, we’ll eventually be apt to count out those syllables on our fingers, activating kinetic memory, exercising creativity, and becoming more aware of the poetic moments in our lives.



©2021, Mary Sayler, poet-writer, and recently appointed poetry editor for the new online literary journal, Agape Review





No comments:

Post a Comment