Learning from the Best Haiku Teachers

Some of my favorite haiku books and journals.

 

 

chapstick and nail clippers
all that’s left
in my father’s dresser

 

For almost twenty years, the Haiku Society of America has hosted The Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku and Senryu Competition for students in grades 7-12. I hope you’ll take a moment at some point to read the winning entries. The students’ work is beautiful and moving and impressive. Over the years an outrageously disproportionate number of students earning honors have come from classes taught by two teachers at opposite ends of the country: Tom Painting and Arlie Parker.

In the most recent episode of the podcast Haiku Chronicles (a podcast I could not recommend more highly) Teaching Haiku, Tom and Arlie discuss haiku and senryu, how they teach it, prompts they use, and why they think the form is so valuable for students.

I’ve already listened to the interview twice this week, and I am quite sure I’ll want to listen to it again. As a writer and someone who has taught a few haiku workshops and would like to teach more, I value their suggestions about what examples to share, how they think and talk about the form, the limits they give their students, and when they bend them. I had thought of haiku and senryu as two broad categories of poetry, but Tom and Arlie break these categories into smaller ones–such as meaningful moments, painful reminders, and things that don’t go together. These categories can be used as prompts, which is how I came to write the senryu above.

In some ways I think haiku is quite different from other poetry, especially in the way that the writer is supposed to get out of the way and allow the reader to have a direct experience. On the other hand I think haiku is poetry distilled to its essence–strong imagery, strong feeling, and an abiding belief in the power of a few, carefully chosen words.

Happy Poetry Friday! Donna JT Smith has the roundup at Mainely Write.

Winter Puppy Haiku

Ray Heus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

puppy walk
stopping to sniff
the falling snow

 

I love reading Jama Rattigan’s gorgeous blog Alphabet Soup. She recommends wonderful books, cooks delicious (looking) foods, and takes beautiful pictures that generally include some very cute bears. I also love following Jama on Facebook because she posts lovely pictures that brighten my day. Often they are from children’s books, but not always. In December Jama posted this painting by Ray Heus. I loved it at first sight. I took a screen shot and saved it to my computer desktop so I could look at it from time to time. Last week I wrote this haiku inspired by it.

Happy Poetry Friday! Kay McGriff has the roundup today.

 

Correction: When I originally posted, I misattributed the work of art. I now understand the print was made by Ray Heus, who was influenced by Kawase Hasui. I apologize for the error.

Tired Trees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wrote this cinquain in response to Carol Varsalona’s invitation to contribute to her gallery Autumn Ablaze. Carol’s galleries are always full of gorgeous images and provocative language. Thank you, Carol for your inspiration and for your regular celebrations of poetry, community, and life.

For more Poetry Friday visit Linda at TeacherDance.

Someone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Someone

Someone has to.
Someone has to go.
Someone has to go down
in the dark, musty basement.
Someone has to.
Someone has to tip toe
along the concrete floor.
Someone has to.
Someone has to listen
for the quiet, steady snores.
Someone has to.
Someone has to slip aside
the hulking creature’s
big behind.
Someone has to.
Someone has to sidle by
before the giant
roars awake
its eyes alight
with raging flames.
Someone has to.
Someone has to run
for her life
and bring back
a roll of two-ply soft, white
toilet paper.

I’m so happy to be here! I’ve missed you all. Life has been busy and distracting. Thank goodness for Michelle Heidenrich Barnes’ wonderful blog. Her spotlight interview with Carrie Clickard and Carrie’s challenge to write a poem about something that spooked you as a child were just what I needed. Wishing you all a happy Poetry Friday! Leigh Ann has the roundup at A Day in the Life.

Crazy for Pet Crazy!

This looks so good, I’ll simply have to read it!

 

 

Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong have done it again! They’ve brought another wonderful book of children’s poetry into the world. I’m beyond thrilled to be included with so many other fabulous children’s poets. Pet Crazy is Sylvia and Janet’s 7th Poetry Friday book and their 3rd Poetry Friday Power Book.

What makes it a Power Book? In addition to the fabulous linked poems, each Power Book also includes a PowerPack of activities and writing prompts to support kids’ writing. The books are anthologies, activity books, and Language Arts workbooks, all rolled into one.

Designed for students in Kindergarten through Grade 3, Pet Crazy encourages kids to explore concepts such as rhyme, repetition, alliteration, and form.

My poem, Book Hound, is an acrostic about a dog that loves to be read to.

Pet Crazy also includes poems by Kristy Dempsey, Helen Frost, Janice Harrington, Eric Ode, Laura Shovan, Eileen Spinelli, Don Tate, Padma Venkatraman, April Halprin Wayland, Carole Boston Weatherford, Tamara Will Wissinger, and Janet Wong. What a team!

If you’re crazy about pets or crazy about poetry or especially if you’re crazy about poetry about pets, you’ll definitely want to get your paws on this book.

Happy Pet Crazy Birthday! And Happy Poetry Friday!

MsMac is hosting today at Check It Out (and she’s sharing my poem!). Thanks, Jone!

Liz

Yes, I read. Of course, I read. What of it?