November 27, 2012
Haiku! Bless you.
Wintry wood, Bracondale
If you need focus, get haiku’d. The Japanese know how to appreciate the moment: tea ceremonies where the design and the feel of the cup is lauded, the colour of the drink discussed, the scent, the very feel of the beverage dissected and praised.
Not surprising, therefore, the land of the rising sun gave us the haiku. Haiku is a poetic form that, traditionally, aims to capture a moment in nature, like a snapshot with words.
Most typically achieved using seventeen syllables arranged in three unrhymed lines of five, seven and five syllables, the practice of writing haikus is particularly useful if you are engaged in a word-limited literary arena such as writing songs. In such instances, words should be chosen carefully so that they can convey the specific mood, meaning and impact you require and haikus can help you build up that muscle. Haikus encourage you to pick up every word and study it closely for its sound, meaning, feel and impact.
Here are some examples of the haiku:
O’er the wintry wood,
winds howl in an empty rage
with no leaves to blow.
This haiku by the ‘punk poet, John Cooper Clarke, comes via recommendation of Westown Girl :
Writing a poem
In seventeen syllables
Is very diffic.
(John Cooper Clarke, 1979)
From Ireland, Sue Healy is Literary Manager at the Finborough Theatre, London, a full-time Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Lincoln. Her book on theatre literary management is published by Routledge, December 2022.
Sue is an award-winning writer for stage, TV, and prose writer.
Her current project, a 6x60minute TV series, is under option. She is under commission with Lone Wolf Media, producers behind PBS’ “Mercy Street”, to co-write the pilot and treatment for a six-part TV series.
Her most recent stage-play, Imaginationship (2018), enjoyed a sold out, extended run at the Finborough and later showed at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. Her previous stage productions include Cow (Etcetera Theatre, 2017) and Brazen (King’s Head Theatre, 2016), funded by Arts Council England. Sue’s short plays have been performed at the Criterion (Criterion New Writing Showcase), Arcola (The Miniaturists) and Hackney Attic (Fizzy Sherbet Shorts).
Her radio work includes nine plays broadcast on BBC Radio 4 (Opening Lines winner), WLRfm and KCLR96fm.
Sue has won The Molly Keane Award, HISSAC Prize, Escalator Award, Meridian Prize and has been published in nine literary journals and anthologies including: The Moth, Flight, Tainted Innocence, New Writer, Duality, HISSAC, New European Writers. She has been writer-in-residence on Inis Oírr, Aran Islands, and at the Heinrich Boll Cottage on Achill Island. She has also benefitted from annual artist residencies at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, and at Ginestrelle, Assisi in Italy.
An academic with a PhD in modern theatre history, specifically the Royal Court Theatre, Sue has presented her research internationally. She spent eleven years in Budapest, editing Hungary A.M. She has a PhD in modern theatre history (Royal Court Theatre) and is a UEA Creative Writing MA alumnus.
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November 27th, 2012 at 19:57
These types of poems are very hard to get right. As you say, you have to examine evey word. I tried and enjoyed having a go.My 1st attempt:
Sat by the window.
waiting for the clouds to break.
Freeing the sunshine.
I’ve been told it’s not in the ‘Western’ style, but it has got the required rhythm. I like it though. Tony.
December 9th, 2012 at 07:29
I love Haikus. One of my favorite forms to write in. Describing a moment in time is usually easier for me than writing a story or a character.