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Monthly Activities for Kids by Linda Martin Andersen

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Posts Tagged ‘Haiku Society of America’

Haiku for You

Posted by lindamartinandersen on December 22, 2013

“Haiku for You” by Linda Martin Andersen

A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074  Welcome to “A Writer’s Playground”–A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

On my December 1 blog post, I made these comments about National Haiku Poetry Day:  National Haiku Poetry Day:  22 What is a haiku poem?  What is the formula?  Where can you find this information?  Now that you know how write a haiku, pick a winter topic and write one of your own.

I love haiku poetry and so I invited some of my favorite haiku poets to discuss this art form, share their work, and inspire you to write your own.

It is my pleasure to present three guest poets.  Please join me in welcoming … Maureen Wartski, Joy Acey, and Robyn Black.  

Maureen will introduce us to the history and form of haiku, followed by haiku poetry about winter or Christmas.

Guest #1:  Maureen Wartski

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Have you suddenly stopped  whatever you were doing because you saw or felt something that caught your attention and made you suddenly aware ? That awareness is  a ‘haiku moment,’ an instant when you want to somehow express your perception and share it with others. For example, a simple observation written by the great Basho many years ago allows us to feel and understand what the poet saw so many years ago:

 First snow


On the half-finished bridge.


Haiku has its roots in Japan’s Heian period (700-1100) when a knowledge and appreciation of Chinese poetry was de rigeur in high society. Eventually, a poetic form called the tanka, a 5-7-5 triplet followed by a seven syllable couplet, took hold.  Nobles who sat around viewing cherry blossoms while drinking sake elaborated on the tanka, but by the mid sixteenth century ordinary folk developed a ‘peasant’ poetry that was truly Japanese. Called haikai, this ‘peasant’ poem consisted of a beginning triplet called hokku followed by a linked poem. Eventually in the 17th  century, Basho shed the linked poem. The hokku, which needed a seasonal word and an ‘aha’ moment at the end became known as an independent poem called haiku.  

I have always enjoyed reading and writing haiku. When I was a little girl in Japan, I used to put together (very bad) haiku in my head. Later, I continued to enjoy the  sparse and elegant form of this poetic form. Short, quick, sometimes surprising, haiku goes to the heart of any experience. It paints a picture, offers an observation. And often the triplet of 5-7-5—or, occasionally 7-7-5 syllables stays in the heart or the mind for a long, long time.

As for the season word needed in a haiku, they needn’t be complicated. For winter, this can be as simple as ‘cold, cool, north wind, snow, sleet, etc. ’ or delve deeper with ‘withered garden, cough, frozen butterfly, holly berry, etc.’  I’ve used a lot of season words because I have been writing a haiku a day for some time, culling them at the end of the year into a work called ‘A Year of Haiku’. Here are a couple of winter poems from Volume Three, Echoes.

 Here are poems by Maureen Wartski:

Frostbitten flowers

Curl their petals inward

Guarding memories.


Maybe up for rent…

Abandoned bird’s nest on that branch

Is covered with snow.


And the last one of the year, written on New Year’s Eve:

The year is ending

Memories of hours past

Are gentle echoes.

I invite you to visit Maureen’s blog where she shares life experiences through conversation, haiku, and art quilts.  Lovely!



 Guest #2:  Joy Acey


Since I will be in Kauai, Hawaii  for the holiday–

Cook Island pine trees

swish with tropical breezes

Mele Kalikimaka

The Cook Island pines are about the only pine tree one will see in the
islands.  They were brought to Hawaii when Captain Cook came to the
islands.  They are tall and quick growing.  Since the Captain sailed on
masted ships, it was thought the Cook Island pine would work for mast
replacement if the main mast got broken in a storm. In the last line,
the Hawaiian “Merry Christmas” is more than 5 syllables, but it is the
perfect way to end this haiku, so I bent the rules.

But I do live in the desert, so Christmas means artificial trees. (Live
trees have a hard time withstanding our heat.  They drop their needles
too quickly.)

stacking tumbleweeds

three high to spray with white paint

making a snowman


round sweet naval orange

hangs heavily in the toe

of your Christmas sock


collected pennies

gone from the glass Mason jar

a happy Christmas

Every day, Joy Acey posts a poem for children at http://www.poetryforkidsjoy.blogspot.com/2013/12/smile.html It is one of my favorite places to visit.  She encourages children to write poetry too.  Joy shares a variety of poems.  Some are haiku.

Guest #3:  Robyn Hood Black

Robyn Black--Haiku poet

In a recent blog post, Robyn hosted Haiku Society of America President, David G. Lanouse.  He shared poems by Issa, haiku poet of Japanese tradition.  http://www.robynhoodblack.com/blog.htm?post=938974


with butterflies

the dead tree.



Robyn shares some of her haiku below:

winter moon

branch lines crisscross

the grass

©Robyn Hood Black


winter chill

turkey vultures circling

one of their own

©Robyn Hood Black, The Heron’s Nest, June 2012


winter rain

the fine print

smaller each year

©Robyn Hood Black, Chrysanthemum, April 2012

I met Robyn at a poetry workshop for writers that she organized.  Thanks to Robyn, I have a poetic license, along with everyone else who attended.  How fun!

For more about Robyn, check these links.  http://www.robynhoodblack.com  Haiku Page Link:  http://www.robynhoodblack.com/haiku_113533.htm  Blog Link http://www.robynhoodblack.com/blog.htm (Check for a series completed on Dec. 20 called “We Haiku Here,” featuring speakers from the recent Haiku Society of America Southeast Region conference):  Twitter:  @artsyletters  Art blog:  artsyletters.com  Etsy store features her original gifts for readers and writers & “literary art with a vintage vibe”: https://www.etsy.com/shop/artsyletters

Maureen, Joy, and Robyn, thank you being guests here today and for sharing your poems. Happy National Haiku Poetry Day.  Thanks for making this day very special.  

Please leave a comment about one or more of the haiku poems above or share one of your own.  Thank you for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.”  Please come again soon.  Bring a friend.

I appreciate any children who visit this site, but you must be 14 or older to leave a comment according to Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. (COPPA)  See:  http://www.coppa.org/coppa.htm  Perhaps an adult would comment for you.

Copyright © 2013 Linda Martin Andersen


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