Happy Poetry Friday! Before you start getting all woo-woo superstitious about Friday the 13th, it is always a lucky day at our house. My son's birthday is 2/13, which occasionally falls on a Friday. We enjoy laughing at all the self-imposed-black-cloud people out there, and then we eat a cupcake.
Poet, children's author and Poetry Friday blogger Robyn Hood Black of Read, Write, Howl is here today. She calls her writing habit "haiku mind." I love the idea of practicing haiku form as a way to clear out mental cobwebs (and self-imposed black clouds).
Here is Robyn: Thank you for having me, Laura!
Let’s see – At 4:15 a.m., I check on the organic pecan halves soaking for my green tea…. Not really.
After the house empties of other humans in the morning, I do like to settle down and read with some coffee and my old hound dog before heading into my office to write.
The best habit I’ve developed over the last couple of years is really a new approach to writing – and daily life – by becoming a student of haiku. I came in through a side gate as a children’s author, discovering an online magazine Gisele LeBlanc had at the time featuring haiku for kids – and also stumbling into Diane Mayr’s multiple hats as a published haiku/ haiga poet, children’s author, and librarian (does that woman sleep?!). Gisele’s Berry Blue Haiku is now a blog/journal featuring haiku for a general audience, and I’m delighted to be her assistant editor.
Traditionally, a haiku is a short poem, often three lines in English, capturing a moment – juxtaposing two images in nature and leaving room for the reader to participate. (Haiku does not lend itself to being precisely defined, so there are exceptions and differences of opinion all around!) I love poring through poems written hundreds of years ago as well as those in current journals.
I’ve always been a fan of small things – recalling the ending of WilliamWordsworth’s “Intimations Ode”:
“To me the meanest flower that blows can give/Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.”
If I’m relaxed and in a “haiku mind,” I do notice more – the sound of a bird’s chirp or the shape of its shadow, and then I’ll consider whether that experience connects to some human experience I’m dancing through that day. Trying to craft a poem from such observation requires an economy of language (and often several revisions) that improves my writing in general. And probably my thinking.
Haiku can be profound and yet so deceptively simple – like fine children’s books, which is why I love both.
|Two of my favorite books of haiku for children. (LS)|
Submitting haiku has been a microcosm of the publishing process, too. After months of reading and writing, I submitted to two top journals, not knowing if my poems were good enough to be published. They weren’t – I received swift, polite rejections. Then I spent about a year reading more and more and more, and writing more of course. When I sent out submissions last fall, I was delighted to receive acceptances. (This year I got into those two journals which I received rejections from before, too.)
Here are a few poems:
as ten years ago
Notes from the Gean, December 2011
cold front –
an urgent wind
at my back
Modern Haiku, Winter/Spring 2012
dipped in sunlight
My haiku was in A Hundred Gourds and will soon appear in Acorn, Chrysanthemum, and Prune Juice. I’m new on the journey with much to learn, but I appreciate each step.
This week's Poetry Friday host is Anastasia Suen. Thanks for gathering us all together today, Anastasia.
Tomorrow is Saturday -- "famous" poet day. We'll check out Kay Ryan's advice on reading as a habit for writers.