I wrote various haiku and tanka poems to distract myself while being sick over the holidays. Each poem was a puzzle that I needed to figure out by breaking the words into a specific syllable pattern (5-7-5 for haiku and 5-7-5-7-7 for tanka) that conveyed the meaning I wanted to express. Once the puzzle gets figured out, the poem was almost done (tweaking takes longer).
One of my new initiatives for 2014 is to write and publish a daily haiku poem on tumblr.cdreimer.com, a Tumblr micro-blog that I started to showcase my poems, including all my published poems from Fictionaut and my FREE poetry ebook. The daily haiku poems will appear on Tumblr first. Tanka and free verse poems that I’m not submitting to a poetry journal will appear first on Fictionaut and later on Tumblr.
The nicest feature on Tumblr is queuing my poems for daily publication. I can usually write three to five poems each night. With weird news of the day being the primary inspiration, a haiku allows me to put a twisted spin on that weirdness. If you read any of the original Japanese haikus, the form demands witty commentary on current events. I have ~30 haikus waiting in the queue.
Being on Tumblr means reading the other poets who also post their work there. Some of it is quite strange and very different, probably because I’m not a poet by training or profession. I took many literature courses in college, but I never had much exposure to poetry other than attending an occasional William Shakespeare’s play in the park.
The one time that a poem got dissected in class like a dead frog involved a two-line poem about a red rose with thorns, a pricked finger and a drop of blood.
My reading of the poem was literally what I saw on the page. The instructor insisted that the rose was a vagina, the pricked finger a penis, and the drop of blood was from a girl loosing her virginity. This rather sexiest interpretation didn’t sit well with me, probably due to my lack of sexual experience. I got into an argument with the instructor on when is a rose isn’t a rose, which was the point of this particular textbook exercise.
My enthusiasm for any form of poetry was pricked that day.
During the holidays in late 2009, I was too sick to write prose. With a 15-minute attention span and a restless pen, I tried writing some free verse and haiku poems. Read some books about writing poetry. A couple of editors I knew published my early poems, which became the basis for my FREE poetry ebook. I later went back to writing prose and forgot about poetry, as submitting batches of poems to the journals was a pain in the ass.
This time around I’m more determine to write poetry. Mostly for personal illumination as I study Zen and Japanese history, but also to jazz up my prose and essay writing. I’m also reading “The Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Share, and Teach Haiku” by William J. Higgison. The syllabic form is easy; the nuanced meanings are not as easy.