Try Writing a Haiku

poetry-clip-art-1Do you remember a well-meaning teacher assigning a haiku for homework – maybe to instill a love of poetry. The products often resembled Ogden Nash poems – lots of nonsense but without his wit.

Alan Feuer’s “The 3 Lines of the Haiku Train Make 61 Stops in Manhattan” – online at Haiku Challenge in the Sunday New York Times – offers a short review of the style and samples from New Yorkers who participated in the paper’s challenge to write about the city in the three-line verse. Poets wrote about Central Park, the subway, Times Square… My favorite came from an online reader in Dallas –  Sharon Cohen wrote:

Union Square Market
Blueberries for ten dollars
New York City blues

Thinking about the city I live in now, I am working on a verse to celebrate the end of national poetry month – ocean, sun, surfers – not that easy to create three lines with 5,7,5 beat – and a punch line at the end of the 17 syllables. The New York Times offers  “a quick 101 guide on writing a haiku”:

• Only three lines.
• First line must be five syllables.
• Second line must be seven syllables.
• The third line must be five syllables.
• Punctuation and capitalization are up to you.
• It doesn’t have to rhyme.
• It must be original.

Have you tried writing one?

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Final Jeopardy Answer

The game show Jeopardy gave a nod to Poetry Month yesterday with its final Jeopardy question:

Who said, “Poetry is what gets lost in translation?”

Answer: Robert Frost

In his 1931 essay “Education by Poetry” – delivered at Amherst College – Frost wrote:

Then there is a literary belief.  Every time a poem is written, every time a short story is written, it is written not by cunning, but by belief.  The beauty, the something, the little charm of the thing to be, is more felt than known.

Rather than dissecting a poem, Frost would have you find its meaning in yourself.

William Wordsworth’s birthday was yesterday (April 7th).  Here’s one of his shorter poems – what does it mean to you?  It reminds me that Earth Day is coming.

The World Is Too Much With Us

The world is too much with us: late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.–Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

 

Liu’s book includes Wordsworth’s poems about nature, among them “I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud” and “It’s a Beauteous Evening, Calm and Free” – with illustrated scenes by James Muir to complement the poetry.