Poetry Friday: Writing and Enjoying Haiku by Jane Reichhold

In Writing and Enjoying Haiku (my book study for the summer), Jane Reichhold writes about 24 techniques to consider when writing.  I am going look at 6 per week over the next four weeks, applying them to my own haiku.  Two weeks ago, I introduced the book.

The first six:

1. Technique of Comparison: looking for how two different things look similar to create a single event.
2. Technique of Contrast: creating opposites within the three lines creates excitement.
3. Technique of Association: “how different things relate or come together”, a Zen term for it is “oneness”.
4. Technique of the Riddle: probably the oldest of the poetic techniques, the trick is to state as in puzzling terms as possible.
5. Technique of Sense-switching: speak of the sense of one thing and then switch to a different sense organ, also called “synesthesia”.
6. Technique of Narrowing the Focus: !st line, wide angle, 2nd line, normal lens, and 3rd line zoom in close up.

Based on the above techniques, I see ways to revise the following haiku to create a stronger piece.

Original Draft

morning confession
cacophony of crows
clamor in treetops
prayer litany: caw-caw-caw
solitude punctuated

Draft Two using the Technique of Narrowing the Focus:

clamor in treetops
cacophony of crows

Draft Three using the Technique of Sense-switching:

treetop clamor
cacophony of crows
morning tea sipped

Draft Four using the Technique of Contrasts:

treetop clamor
cacophony of crows

I like these drafts and feel that the haiku packs more punch as a result.  I have to wonder if it also has to do with cutting words.

Maybe you will try some haiku revision. Let me know if you do.  For me, my biggest challenge in haiku revision is to move away form the 5-7-5 pattern. 

A list of participants for Poetry Friday is over at A Year of Reading, hosted my Mary Lee! Thanks for taking some of your summertime relaxation to host us!

Happy Reading.


4 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Writing and Enjoying Haiku by Jane Reichhold

  1. Wow! I agree that your drafts got stronger with the revisions! Each one took the haiku in a slightly different directions…but the clamor and cacophony remained!

  2. Thanks for this discussion and your book notes. I have been working on/struggling with some haiku and really appreciate exercises like this. Maybe I’ll get some in shape for a Poetry Friday to come?

  3. Oh this is great! I am going to have to get that book. I think your revisions show perfectly how a haiku becomes leaner & more powerful. I have always tried to include a strong contrast of two sharp images in my haiku. Whether you switch senses, images/things, or focus, it’s the comparison that leaves room for the reader to make a jump to meaning. The break or turn is where the essential haiku power is hidden. You’ve done a fine job of showing us that here.