I see people struggle with writing haiku and senryu each day, posting what they write on Facebook, Twitter, or on their own blog sites. Haiku and senryu are short forms of poetry– yes poetry, not just random thoughts. Haiku and senryu are usually about one to four lines. Haiku focuses on nature images, while senryu focuses on human nature and is often humorous. The two forms capture the moments of our lives, good and bad.
For those who’ve been reading my blog over a period of time, you will notice that I have run features about haiku and senryu, interviewed haiku/senryu poets, and have even written reviews about haiku/senryu collections.
Apart from my blog, I have given many workshops on haiku/senryu at writer’s conferences around the country, am a regular speaker at libraries, and I also do haiku and senryu exhibits. I have two upcoming exhibits of haiku/senryu, one at a corporate gallery and another at a library, through early next year. The next one will be from July 8 through Sept. 30, at Meet Chicago Northwest, the Greater Woodfield Convention and Visitors Bureau, in Schaumburg, IL. The subsequent one will be from Oct. 1, 2016 through Jan. 7, 2017 at Rolling Meadows (IL) Library.
I firmly believe that anyone can learn to write effective haiku and senryu if they focus on these two forms as being evocative, and on making their images impact the reader to the extent of feeling emotion. Those who aspire to writing haiku and senryu should be mindful of reading good haiku and senryu on a daily basis. That’s why I run The Daily Haiku on my blog. If you read through the archives, you should begin to see that these poems aren’t just random thoughts.
It’s sometimes overwhelming to me how many people have tweeted their haiku and senryu on a daily basis for a few years, not knowing what they are. Because haiku and senryu are so brief, many mistakenly think that any thought they dash off constitutes either one or the other. Back in 1994, my first attempts at haiku and senryu were atrocious until I started getting them rejected and realized I needed to start reading the two forms regularly to really catch on. Back then, we didn’t have access to free online haiku journals, so I spent a fair amount of money subscribing to five print journals every year. (I have never thrown away any of the haiku journals I’ve subscribed to through the years, so I have bookshelves of them in practically every room at home, including my kitchen.)
Postings of ineffective haiku and senryu are counterproductive to the efforts of those who try to educate the public on the true nature of the two forms. Those who really want to learn haiku and senryu should read good examples of them daily to catch on.
People often ask if they can submit their haiku to me for inclusion on The Daily Haiku. I don’t call for public submissions, simply because I like to maintain quality control. Many people who send me their haiku and senryu don’t understand what it is, and their examples wouldn’t be helpful to the people who want to really learn it.
Realize that poetry is poetry. That is, poems are both thoughtful and imagistic. If something is thoughtful, you have to really think about it in order to appreciate it. Ramblings are rarely thoughtful. When I read haiku and senryu, if they are written well and representative of the two forms, they make me stop and think. They are like a puzzle, calling to me to contemplate their full meaning.
If you read something trite, and your reaction is “so what,” it’s not a haiku or senryu.
Finally, if you want to delve deep into haiku and senryu to learn everything you need to know to write them with thought and effectiveness, you can read my book, Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All. And, tell me what you think of it. I would appreciate your comments. Did it help you?
Copyright 2016 by Charlotte Digregorio.