Thursday, June 18, 2009

writing haiku - practice

This is an exercise by Timothy Russell.

It's like bootcamp for haiku writers! It takes discipline. It hurts. It's frustrating. But in the end you're glad that you did it : )) Here we go:


This is a training exercise. It helps condition the muscles necessary for making haiku.

Write down what month this is.

Next to the month write another single word that names or indicates some feature of today ... sun, rain, moon, clouds, wind ...

(ME: This will be your fragment e.g. June rain, June sunrise, June haze, June roses... you get the picture.)

Now look out the window, or go outside.

Without thinking too much (or at all, if you can manage) write a short description of any detail you see (any thing and/or any action).

Look in another direction. Write a short description of any detail you see (thing and/or action).

Turn your head and write down another detail.

Do this at least 7 more times.

Really.

When you have at least ten (TEN) little descriptive phrases, none of them longer than a single short sentence, please, go to a comfortable spot and choose one of your phrases and write part of it on the line immediately beneath the line you wrote when you first started.

Write the rest of your chosen phrase on the line beneath that one.

(ME: And this will be your two line phrase.)

Skip a line.

Write down the same month and same detail of today you used on the first line.

Write part of one of the remaining phrases on the next line.

Write the rest of that phrase on the following line.

Do this until you run out of phrases.

This is only an exercise, not a test. Do not pass any judgements on yourself, on your performance, or on what you have written. Do the best you can.

November trees
shadows stretching all the way
across the lawn

November trees
a white car speeding along
the river road

Put this sheet of paper with at least ten (TEN) little balls of words out of sight. You do not need to think about them at all for a while.

Tomorrow, repeat this exercise. Completely. Don't think.

Really.

The day after tomorrow, repeat this exercise. Don't think.

On the fourth day, after you complete your exercise, take out the first sheet and read it several times (three or four is enough), and put it away.

On the fifth day, read the second sheet.

In one week, a single week, just seven days, you will have taught yourself more about haiku than it's possible for anyone else to teach you.

Really.

(ME: You can do it! Really.)

13 comments:

Leatherdykeuk said...

Lovely tutorial.

I've been writing haiku every day for 10-15 years. Once in a while I get one right.

Lynne Rees said...

Thank you, Leatherdyke. I'm in awe of your discipline to write a haiku every day for all those years.

I started last year and failed to keep it up for the whole year... now you've inspired me to start again. Now!

midday heat
beads of sweat sparkle
above the living statue’s lip

Thank you : ))

Anonymous said...

I wrote 10, here are five:

June rain
garden hose rests by
the lawn

June rain
windshield wipers swing
at high speed

June rain
drip, drip, a bucketful
under the eaves

June rain
an airplane circles
for landing

June rain
across Mississippi
a rainbow


Thanks Lynne for the inspiration.

Lu

Lynne Rees said...

Hi Lu

Thanks for sharing these.

I like this one:

June rain
garden hose rests by
the lawn

But would think about breaking the line after rests/: the emphasis on 'rests' at the line end seems to support the meaning.

And I like this too:

June rain
across Mississippi
a rainbow

The midle line works as a great pivot, reading with the 1st line, or the 3rd line.

Great work.

Martin Cordrey said...

june haze
rotten tree stump
green plums

june haze
white line blowing
pink rose

june haze
debris of leaves
rusty fire escape

june haze
camera on metal poll
overgrown lawn

june haze
crackling pylon
strides poppy field

june haze
swallows under eves
empty cowshed

Martin Cordrey said...

Should read -

june haze
white linen blowing
pink rose

- too much june sun

Lynne Rees said...

Hi Martin - lots of vivid detail here. In quite a few you've lost the phrase over two lines and ended up with a 'list' effect. E.g.

june haze
swallows under eves
empty cowshed

To create the 2 line phrase you might have:

swallows in the eaves
of an empty cowshed

Do you see what I mean?

Thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lynne,

Thank you very much for your comment and your great suggestion re the line break,which, as you said, really supports the meaning.

June rain
garden hose rests
by the lawn

Regards,

Lu

Martin Cordrey said...

As always Lynne

Thank you.

Martin Cordrey said...

june haze
crackling pylons stride
a field of poppies

Leatherdykeuk said...

And you could always join Summer Haiku
http://summer-haiku2009.blogspot.com/

Josephine said...

December grey
freeze snaps icy
fingers jabbing all over

December grey
wind whistles through crannies
and blows ice cold breath

December grey
rain distort cars driven
in droves

December grey
they sheer down damp roads behind
watery smear headlamp gleams

December grey
strong bluster keels
69's black wheelie

December grey
Britannia flutters flags
their triangle selves

December grey
a lit shop spotlights her wares
in the drawing-in gloom

December grey
in bleak defenseless landscape
of barely leaved trees

December grey
a sombre mood downcasts
shadows under shade

December grey
time to wrap against
dank foul weather

Lynne said...

Josephine - thanks so much for posting these. As you know Applehouse Poetry remains as archive and it's great to know that the prompts and exercises are still serving people.

I love the image of the neighbour's wheelie bin keeling in the wind.

Thanks again.