New Kiwi Women Write Their Stories

Giving a voice to Auckland's migrant women

Haiku exercise: ‘a day in the life’ 2012

                           (courtesy Janet Charman)
Write a group of five to ten ‘modern haiku’. Reading them all through one
after another they will illustrate: ‘a day in the life’. It could be a ‘special’ day
or a ‘normal’ day. But where and what happens during this time will be very
specific and vivid.

Traditional haiku consist of 17 on (also known as morae), in three phrases of 5, 7 and 5 on respectively. They never rhyme.

Here is the address for ‘Daily Issa’. You can subscribe free to this site and
receive a random daily haiku from over 10,000 written by the Japanese Haiku
master, Issa (1763-1827)

Modern Japanese gendai (現代) haiku are increasingly unlikely to follow the
tradition of 17 on or to take nature as their subject, but the use of juxtaposition
continues to be honoured in both traditional haiku and gendai. There is a
common, although relatively recent, perception that the images juxtaposed must
be directly observed everyday objects or occurrences.[7] (From Wikipedia)

Below are examples and a link for the ‘modern’ haiku the Taiwanese poet Chen Li calls ‘microcosmos’

Tears are like pearls; no, tears are like
silver coins; no, tears are like
loosened buttons to be sewed back.

From the cup I drink the tea you pour for me,
from the cup I drink the spring chill flowing down
between your fingers.

Joy is a hole:
tuck an object in, and out flow
fruit-like vowels.

A parade in honor of death:
strolling shoes working shoes sleeping
shoes dancing shoes…

Every street is a stick of chewing gum:
chew it repeatedly, but
don’t eat it up at a mouthful.

Below are examples and a link for 100 ‘snapshots’: modern haiku by Janet

the stepchild’s

the quarry two cars
eight men
five hours

starlight reserve
night fell in
my lap

grown up children
shut bedroom doors
anybody in there?

the disused warehouse burns
don’t be cynical about love
seventeen fire engines wet it down

a beautiful man
i forget my order
a beautiful woman i forget my change

i wash my friend in sunlight
and moonlight
who will die first?


2 comments on “Haiku exercise: ‘a day in the life’ 2012

  1. Pingback: Workshop 1 – Introduction to Writing | New Kiwi Women Write Their Stories

  2. sandra
    November 27, 2014

    It seems a shame that these examples aren’t haiku. They are short poems certainly, but can’t be called haiku. Writing something briefly and in three lines doesn’t make it a haiku.

    It might be more useful to direct people to:

    where there are a number of great articles about how to write haiku and plenty of well-written haiku to read, enjoy and from which to learn.

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This entry was posted on March 22, 2012 by .
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