Our January experiment with short fiction was so popular that we decided to do something similar in February.
Before I get into the details for February, though, I must explain why we haven’t yet posted the best contributions from January. The reason is simple. There were so many excellent entries we can’t seem to agree on the best. So, we decided on another first here at The Final Twist – we’re going to figure out how to set up a poll and let you, our readers, decide. Stay tuned!
On to February. The shortest month of the year is the month we celebrate love. We have selected poetry for our February contest. Don’t stop reading! Most of us are prose writers, so we are not expecting Poet Laureate level entries. (If any Poet Laureates want to participate, please do. All are welcome.) The intent is to have some fun. Think karaoke in written form. Specifically, haiku.
Haiku has a rich 700+ year history and its own superstars. Those who are interested should check out:
- An Introduction to Haiku by Harold G. Henderson
- The Narrow Road to the Deep North, but Matsuo Basho (that last “o” needs a bar above it)
- The Haiku Anthology edited by Cor van den Heuvel
- Haiku: This Other World by Richard Wright
According to Harold G. Henderson, most Haiku are composed, “…for the pleasure of the author and his friends….” It’s also very short, and should evoke emotion in the reader by painting a picture, which makes it perfect for our purposes.
We’ll use the most commonly known form – 3 lines with specific syllable counts of 5-7-5. Here are some examples:
Capturing a thief,
I was surprised to find him
None but my own son
In the garden pool,
dark and still, a stepping-stone
releases the moon
By O. Mabson Southard
Across the still lake,
through upcurls of morning mist –
the cry of a loon
By O. Mabson Southard
Heaps of black cherries,
Glittering with drops of rain
In the evening sun
By Richard Wright
The examples above demonstrate two different types of haiku-like poetry. The first example, by the Japanese master Basho, is an example of senryu, a style of haiku that usually involves dark humor or human learning experiences.
Haiku, in its purer form, more often focuses on the natural world and seasons as in the other three examples.
Now it’s your turn. We’ll have a different topic each day for five days. We’ll begin with
- Romantic Love (day 1)
- Platonic or Parental Love (day 2)
Please post your romantic haiku in the comments. We’ll have a different topic Monday, so be sure to check back.