Posts Tagged ‘haiku’

I’ve just got in from writing group, where we have decided to set ourselves a little winter challenge – to each produce something for our local newsletter for publishing between December and January.

To get us all in the mood we spent some writing time on a few seasonally appropriate haiku. Now, as I’ve said before, I love this form of writing as it’s so accessible to writers who are new to poetry or who lack confidence in writing poetry.

I thought I’d share one I wrote today, just for fun:

An eiderdown fall:
The world is feathery white –
Our noses are numb.

Happy writing



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I know this one is a bit of a cheat, but I looked back at the challenge and it says ‘books’ not ‘novels’ so I’m going with it. It’s all I have to offer anyway!

Book 34 – The British Museum Haiku, edited by David Cobb. ¬†This is a beautiful book of about 70 haiku by writers spanning five centuries, presented in Japanese (calligraphy as well as transliterated), with English translations. ¬†The haiku are accompanied by some glorious images from the British Museum’s Japanese art collection.

I love haiku, as a form of poetry and as an example of cultural differences in the way ‘traditional’ poetry is composed. ¬†I also love Japanese calligraphy and brush painting, so this book is a literary and visual gift, to me. ¬†The opening notes on style and form of haiku, and the way seasons can be structured and inferred in the writing, were short but incredibly enlightening and have made me want to try this form of writing again, with more knowledge behind me.

It didn’t take long to read – I sat and read it over a single lunch break – but some of the haiku have really stayed with me, and there are a couple I’d like to put up in my office at work so I have something beautiful there every day.

I adored this book and I will be dipping into it over and over again, finding new inspiration and new understanding each time.

I just wish I’d read it properly before!

Happy reading,



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This week I have written, and done¬†other stuff, and it’s that point in the cycle when I get a sense of deja vu as I type. ¬†It’s not interesting to keep saying the same thing¬†and I’m sure it’s not interesting to keep reading it.

Instead, I’m going to talk about haiku. ¬†Because – why not?!

I think that trying to write a haiku is great way to become comfortable with poetry.  There are loads of reasons for this, but here are a few key reasons:

1. They are short. ¬†A haiku is only 3 lines long, 17 syllables – compare that to something famous like Funeral Blues, and it’s less than an eighth of a more ‘standard’ Western poetic style. ¬†Compare it to something you might have read at school, like I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud¬†and it’s less than a twelfth. ¬†For an aspiring poet, this can relieve some of the pressure!

2. They have clear rules. ¬†You can choose to ignore them, or play around with them, but the rules are there as a starting point. ¬†For some writers it is hard to know how to go about writing poetry. ¬†People don’t always know where to start, or what sounds right, or feels right, or what constitutes a poem. ¬†I personally find it difficult to explain myself,¬†except by expressing ¬†it through a sense of feeling and rhythm so I completely understand their frustrations!

And once you have more confidence, you can break the rules – which is very satisfying!

3. They are¬†fun. ¬†Although traditionally there is a seasonal link to them, that doesn’t mean they have to be staid. ¬†For example:

Pollen fills my nose.

I sneeze, louder than thunder:

Welcome to the spring!

(and thanks to my partner for the inspiration here; he wrote a rather cheeky haiku about how loudly I sneeze when we were on retreat as one of his first ever attempts at poetry!).

And ok, it’s not sophisticated, but it took about a minute to write so at least it shows they don’t have to be heavy-going. ¬†In fact, for anyone interested in writing on a regular basis, this style of poem is a good daily or weekly exercise; I was encouraged to write them regularly when I did my second writing course and it did help form the daily writing habit which is so important.

So there you have it – I’m progressing ok with the book but a haiku is more interesting right now!

In other news – last week I missed Kim by Rudyard Kipling¬†on the 100 novels list, and this week we have The Call of the Wild by Jack London. ¬†I haven’t read either, although I have another Jack London book in my reading pile, and I’ve read other Kipling. ¬†Maybe I’ll add these in, but my reading pile is getting a little too big at the moment, with everything else I’ve got going on, so I’ll see how things are doing later in the year before I make a decision.

Also – And completely randomly, I saw a politician on TV today with a brooch on made from a page of Alice in Wonderland. ¬†I only knew this because I’ve been looking at a website selling literary items (and I can’t link because I was looking at a present for someone!), but it entertained me!

And finally – I saw this article recently; I’m not sure how I missed it because it’s the kind of thing I look out for, but there you go. I love the idea that you can write an algorithm to define, with an 84% accuracy, whether a book will be a success or not. ¬†Who cares about how the reader responds to the story, writing, characters, setting and so on – if I just write ‘and’ and ‘but’ more often, I’ll be published in no time… The computer said so!

Until next time – happy writing,




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