I am doing my own book study. I picked up Jane Reichhold’s book which has sat on my book shelf for the last two years. I have frequently thumb through it reading snippets. This summer, however, I decided to make it my focus. My goal is sharing what I have learned and thought about each week until I return to school or finish the book.
In the opening pages of Writing and Enjoying Haiku, the author states, “I want this book to be your book –with sentences underlined, comments written in margins, your poems on fly leaves…” It is such an invitation to make it your personal class with the author. I love that! It reminds me of the work I did in Denver last winter, the idea to really be thinking about your reading and make notes as you read. So along with the book I have my pen, sticky notes and highlighter.
Five favorite phrases, sentences, etc underline in the this weeks’ reading (pages1-52, which cover chapters one and part of two):
“Haiku acts as a door to our past.” In writing haiku, the focus is on the here and now. In reading, haiku, you open the door once again to the past.
“For me, the way I live in order to be prepared to receive haiku inspiration is more valuable than the poems I finally do write…(…I do believe they are given as gifts)…” This affirms my own thinking about writing, that when a poem comes to me so effortlessly, I have received a gift. And I must work at being aware, nonjudgmental, and living with simplicity. The author expands on these and others.
“Haiku is based on what the author observes.” In re-reading my haiku, I can see times when I have not observed the outside world but have gone in the direction of the telling others about what they think, feel, believe. I strive to put away the personal pronouns and just report what is there.
“Poetry is what happens between the words.” In haiku those spaces are short, the brevity of the form creates a real need to create visual images rapidly. Each reader bring their own experience to the experience; what I see as I read maybe totally different from your picture.
“Haiku should not be a run-on sentence or sound like a complete sentence with each line fitting neatly into the next.” The reading I did this week talked a lot about going beyond the Americanized 5-7-5 form of Haiku. There is an in-depth explanation about the language differences between Japanese and English which can change a writer’s perspective about haiku. I have been fighting the need to use the 5-7-5 pattern for years. It comes naturally most days (partly because it was so ingrained in me). It is not necessary. What need to have is to have two distinct sections in the haiku.
Just as I enede my reading for the week, Reinhhold listed 6 rules for writing haiku:
1. Write in 3 lines, short, long, short without counting syllables.
2. Have a fragment and a phrase.
3. Have an element of nature.
4. Use present tense verbs.
5. Avoid capitals and punctuation.
6. Avoid rhymes.
The first two are rules that I know but will look closely at my own work. They are two areas that need improvement.
The next section of the book shares twenty-four valuable techniques. I will divide and share the techniques over the coming weeks.
Poetry Friday is being held at Jama Rattigans’ Alphabet Soup.