Monday, February 22, 2016

Experiencing Haiku

                                                parade of bright eyes
                                                coming on cement ribbons
                                                dawn on the interstate

At the OWL conference, Jan Morrill presented on writing the perfect haiku, and then she reminded us nothing in the world is perfect. I remember writing haiku in high school because teachers thought it was an easy form to conquer. (Or was it that 17 syllables made for easy grading!)

Morrill has a multi-ethnic background that includes a Japanese mother. Her novel, an excellent read by the way, The Red Kimono is set in WWII and the Japanese internment camps in Arkansas at that time. She also writes a blog titled Life Haiku by Haiku at  Her published book of haiku is taken from this blog.

She shared several points about haiku and then gave the audience prompts and five minutes to produce something. Then she asked for volunteers to share their work. People were eager to do so, and many of the five minute haiku were excellent.

                                           hooves paw loose dirt
                                           whinnies in morning’s mist
                                           conversations shared

The author said that writing a haiku about one’s novel is a great way to begin a synopsis. It narrows the story to its essence. She also suggested writing a haiku for each chapter in a one’s novel. Haiku makes one be in the moment, to focus, to mediate even.

Haiku lines:  First is present tense; Second is brief moment; Third is enlightenment or knowledge of some kind.

She recommends the book Wabi Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets, and Philosophers by Leonard Koren.                             

                                         porous pottery
                                        cracked, glued, repaired to new beauty

                                         family flaws less so


Jan Morrill said...

Thank you so much for writing about my workshop! It was great to see you there, and I enjoyed hearing your haiku! -- Jan

Elephant's Child said...

Haiku have always scared me.
I thoroughly enjoy reading them - and have never attempted to create one. Yes, I know. I am lacking in intestinal fortitude.

Sioux said...

I love the idea of writing a haiku in order to distill a WIP. Thanks for this post, Claudia.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Thank you for introducing this author's work. I LOVE the idea of writing haiku as the start of a synopsis---or elevator pitch! Wow! What an idea. And now you know what I'll have running through my mind all day. My WIP is about to have its own haiku. :)

Linda O'Connell said...

Very interesting about the purpose of the three lines. Great idea to use it in our WIP.