Contemporary American Poetry discussion

Western haiku and tanka

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message 1: by Elaine (last edited Nov 10, 2011 02:43AM) (new)

Elaine Campbell (goodreadscomnickthegreek11) We in the West who write haiku and tanka have to adapt the form, for one reason because Japanese is unstressed.

I just wrote my first Western tanka I'd like to share:

Easily falls the
crisp snow. Wisely sifting through
tepid sky, come from a cloud
nobody knows. Will it like
the earth when it touches down?

Tanka def.: consists of five lines, the first and third having five syllables, the others seven, equaling 31 syllables in all. I thought it would be hard, but was surprised that it came easily, like the snow.

message 2: by Gerry (new)

Gerry LaFemina | 64 comments Mod
Elaine, very nice. The enjambed lines bring the eye downward quickly, like falling snow..

message 3: by Elaine (last edited Nov 11, 2011 09:06AM) (new)

Elaine Campbell (goodreadscomnickthegreek11) Just had to compose this one today after hearing the news:

The last black rhino
is gone. Man did a good job
finishing him off.

message 4: by Elaine (new)

Elaine Campbell (goodreadscomnickthegreek11) Gerry wrote: "Elaine, very nice. The enjambed lines bring the eye downward quickly, like falling snow.."


message 5: by Elaine (last edited Nov 18, 2011 05:07PM) (new)

Elaine Campbell (goodreadscomnickthegreek11) Haiku:

When I marry the green
grass, will the dandelions
be my bridesmaids?

message 6: by Gerry (new)

Gerry LaFemina | 64 comments Mod
I like this one quite a bit, Elaine. What is it that you like about the haiku? Do you like any of the other japanese forms (the tanka, the haibun)? And do you know the work of Kimiko Hahn, who writes out of Japanese traditions, but not in their traditional forms? She has a great batch of poems in the new American Poetry Review with a brief essay explaining what her mission is in regards to blending Japanese and American aesthetics.

message 7: by Elaine (new)

Elaine Campbell (goodreadscomnickthegreek11) I think we've learned from William Carlos Williams that great poetry need not be long poetry. I've written a one word poem and a two word poem. All words are musical and I believe that if the poetic intensity is there, one or two words can indeed constitute a poem.

I like all forms of poetry, but only write in organic form, as defined by Denise Levertov. I don't like girdles.

message 8: by Gerry (new)

Gerry LaFemina | 64 comments Mod
I was just curious because of your posting of haiku. I find what Hahn is doing in regards to Japanese traditions to be quite interesting...

As for poems. No, length doesn't make a poem good or bad--the same general rules apply. And although I too dislike "forms", per se, I also think it behooves the free verse writer to adhere to some sense of what the rules of his/her free verse is, even if each poem demands (as it ought to) new rules...

message 9: by Elaine (last edited Nov 21, 2011 08:31PM) (new)

Elaine Campbell (goodreadscomnickthegreek11) I was referring to the inner rules, rather than those imposed from without, of organic form. Free verse loses me.

More female input would be nice for this group. I feel like the black sheep.

message 10: by Gerry (new)

Gerry LaFemina | 64 comments Mod
Elaine, I'd like more comments from more people in general!

I think that one of the things we have to consider about "free verse" is what its challenges are. Frost said it was "like playing tennis without a net" which can be a damning criticism, unless one thinks that the poet then has to make new rules to deal with the absence of the net...

message 11: by Pamela (new)

Pamela | 1 comments Did Frost play tennis? I have always wanted to know this.

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