Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Have you Ever Written A Haiku?

One of the presentations at the conference was on the subject of poetry. Elaine Holoboff, whom I had featured in one of the blog posts a few months ago, talked about various types of poetry. One of them was  haiku, which is an ancient form of poetry.

Haiku is simple, has very few words and makes a bold statement. It is normally 3 lines with 5 syllables in Line 1, 7 syllables in Line 2, and 5 syllables in Line 3Note that is syllables, not words.

Sounds easy, doesn't it? Only a few select words to construct a full poem. But I assure you, it is not a piece of cake.

 In the middle of the night after Elaine's presentation, I found myself wide awake. Way too early to get up so I tried to think of something pleasant, hoping to go back to sleep. My mind shifted from the Virginia woods where we were staying to the Flint Hills of Kansas, where I live. I could see the tallgrass prairie dotted with wildflowers in my mind's eye. Before I knew it, I thought of a rather poetic line, realized it had the right number of syllables to begin a haiku. Suddenly, all thoughts of sleep fled, and I composed the next two lines of the poem, changing it here and there until it satisfied me. I knew I'd probably never remember it in the morning, so on went the light, out came pen and paper to record the poem.

When I woke up later in the morning, the poem was there. I hadn't dreamed it. It was real! I found out that writing haiku is not only possible for a non-poet like me, but it's also a lot of fun. You might try it as a writing exercise. Google haiku to get a feel for the form and see what you come up with on your own.

Check out Elaine's haiku blog at and another posting of mine on February 26th that talks about haiku.

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