This month we welcomed Jack Edwards, our guest speaker, who ran a session on Japanese short forms of poetry.
We started by learning about Haiku and how traditionally in English, they’re considered to be written in 3 lines, with 5 syllables in the first, 7 in the second and 5 in the third.
My storehouse burned down - (5)
now nothing stands between me (7)
and the moon above. (5)
We tried writing a Haiku in this format, which was unusual for people who were used to writing prose or long poems! Then we learned from Jack that the syllable count doesn’t matter too much, and what’s more important in Haiku is capturing a moment.
Spring rain –
a crystal stream.
For a writing exercise, each of us picked a photo. Some people had a lake, a beach, or a city. We then wrote a Haiku for each season, based in the location shown in the photo. It really got us thinking! Having four Haiku meant we could link them into one longer poem.
After this, Jack got us all to write a Haiku about somewhere or something in
Wolverhampton. He split us into groups and we linked all our Haiku together to make a poem which flowed. This is an example of Renga, which was a collaborative form of poetry used by the ancient Japanese. One person would start with a Haiku, and others would contribute verses to add onto the end, creating a long story.
Once we were all comfortable with Haiku, Jack taught us how to extend our Haiku into a Tanka, by adding two lines on the end which reflected on the initial 3 lines.
It was a very interesting session, and something very different to usual. It’s always enjoyable to learn new techniques, and we thank Jack for joining us.
April Writing Task
This month, our task is to write a Haiku based on something which happens during the month. We will share these at the next meeting.