You can often find me speaking about haiku and senryu about three times a month somewhere. The forms are getting noticed.
When I recently spoke to the Chicago Women’s Alliance, I could tell that haiku and senryu looked a bit strange to people when I passed out sample poems. They looked curious or even intrigued, but I must admit these poetic forms take awhile for many people to get used to.
I think people, at first, have trouble seeing them as poetic forms, until I point out common poetic devices in them, and how they evoke an emotional reaction with images that pop into the readers’ minds.
But, when I tell people that they have to imagine haiku and senryu poets like visual artists who paint a picture– only with words– they start to gain appreciation for the forms.
I don’t think most people can get hooked on haiku and senryu unless they start to read a lot of them. When I got started writing haiku in the early 90s, there was no internet to search for haiku and senryu information, let alone haiku journals online.
Today, however, there are both good and bad postings of haiku and senryu online, but you have to know where to look. There are some really good online postings and you can scroll down to their archives, too.
For example, I love rereading the archives of these two sites: the Mann Library Daily Haiku of Cornell University and the Tobacco Road Poet blog by Curtis Dunlap. The latter site even includes interviews with haiku poets.
And for free, you can join the United Haiku and Tanka Society online and submit haiku and senryu to cattails, its journal.
Further, with The Daily Haiku on my site, there is no excuse not to explore haiku and senryu. Here, there are also articles and interviews with “haikuists.”
There are other good online journals and print journals of haiku and senryu, the latter you can subscribe to. If you’ve read any of the articles on this blog, you’ll get a lot of suggestions.
One print journal, in particular, that I recommend subscribing to, is Stanford M. Forrester’s bottle rockets for experienced and beginning haiku and senryu poets alike.
Always send away for a sample issue before subscribing to a journal, so you’ll get an idea of what it’s like.
For those who are curious, all you have to do is start reading right at your fingertips online. Then go for a walk with a notepad and pencil, and breathing the fresh air, write down images you see and your emotional reactions to them–sizes, shapes, and colors. Or start thinking about moments during the day that impacted you.
At some point later on, you can create some interesting haiku and senryu with those thoughts. Remember you are capturing a moment, the awe or aha moment of things before you. That’s the fun of haiku and senryu. It’s a creative discovery, not a “record” of moments.
And, if you further want to explore haiku and senryu, go to your library. There, or through inter-library loan, ( the latter with no cost), check out my book, Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All. It will teach you the simple steps to appreciating and writing the forms with its sample poems and commentary.
Yes, anyone can write haiku and senryu, regardless of education or work background, but you must become a thoughtful and regular reader of the forms and practice writing them.
Copyright 2017 by Charlotte Digregorio.