Tanka : Haiku’s Big Cousin

The word tanka means “short song” and is one of the oldest Japanese forms of poetry originating in the seventeenth century. The tanka is related to it’s shorter cousin, haiku, but isn’t as popular with American poets. Traditional Japanese tanka poems are made up of 31 syllables written in a single, unbroken line. However, the tanka poems in English takes on a five-line form, consisting of a 5/7/5/7/7 syllable count.

Continue reading

Travel Haiku: Taking Haiku on the Road

Early this month, we talked about how to start a Haiku Journal. As mentioned, famous Japanese poet, Matsuo Basho, recorded his travels by way of haiku in his diary. I recently took a drive to the northern California coast for some R & R and thought I’d follow Basho’s lead by poetically recording what I saw each day. Here are a few of my travel haiku, hopefully you can “see” what I saw through the imagery in these poems:

Continue reading

Visual Prompt: Pick a Number Between 1 and 9

Let play a poetry game! Pick a number between one and nine then slide the cover to reveal the visual prompt that you can use to write a poem this week. The numbers are in random order in the lower right hand corner of each photo. If the image loads with the slider open, quickly close it without peeking. My visual prompt and poem are below.

Continue reading

Starting a Haiku Journal

Haiku is about “seeing”—about paying attention to a moment in nature and capturing that moment, like a snapshot, on paper with words (before it disappears). Famous Japanese poet, Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), said that to write haiku you need to have the eyes and heart of a child. Seeing the world one snapshot at a time will help you connect with nature and make your haiku stronger. Haiku is one of my favorite forms, but I’ve never had a journal dedicated to it until recently.

Continue reading

Momeries: A Mother’s Day Poem

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there and to grandmothers, aunts, sisters, and friends who are helping to raise a child. Being a mom is the greatest joy in my life. My kids are adults and living their own lives now, but sometimes I find myself walking down memory (momery) lane, missing my littles. They (and their dad) always make Mother’s Day special for me, but this year I wanted to do something nice for them too. After reading it to my kids earlier today, I’m sharing the poem I wrote for them here.

Continue reading

Book Spine Poetry: Earth Day

You can find poems anywhere! Even in a stack of books! Creating a spine poem is much like writing found poetry but instead of using the text from a page of a book or article, you use the titles printed on the spines of books. Simply arrange the books so the spines can be read like a sentence.

You don’t need a large number of books to create a spine poem, just an imagination. The children’s books in my poem below came from my small home library. Happy Earth Day!

Continue reading