The Kimo is yet another variation on the Haiku which focuses on imagery and strict syllable count. Israeli poets adjusted the syllabic requirements of that traditional Japanese form to accommodate for the unique characteristics of the Hebrew language.
Key Features of the Kimo
Content: like haiku, usually image-specific and acts as a still life, or snapshot, of a single moment
The Haibun features a fascinating paring of prose poetry and haiku. It was invented and popularized by 17th century Japanese master poet Matsuo Bashō. The prose and haiku of the haibun are often in communication with each other in direct or subtle ways.
I walk the north end of the lake this time every summer. Listen to the murky green waters slap up against the weather beaten dock. In the distance, the sound of children skinny dipping.
from a navy sky sound of cicadas calling full moon on the rise
Requirements of the Form
– Titled, unlike traditional haiku
– Begins with a small number of short paragraphs (typically one to three) written in prose poetry style
– Ends with a traditional haiku that reflects or is in some relationship with the introductory prose poem
Common elements and themes include: – Strong sense of place through natural imagery and sensory detail – Travel or sense of journey – Autobiographical elements – Economy of language – Sense of presence and immediacy typically found in haiku – Haiku follows other rules typically found in form
– For the haiku, syllables needn’t be counted 5-7-5 as in the English Haiku. Rather, aim for a short first line, followed by a longer line, ending with another short line. This approach more closely reflects the spirit of the traditional Japanese form.
An Original Haibun
October 28, 2019[a haibun]
October is ending. The blazing reds of the sugar maple have begun to yellow. I stand at the front window, still in my bathrobe though noon approaches, still fighting a cold with rest and medication. A small grey cat brushes against my leg and then the curtain. Beside her, a fat tabby dozes on a quilt on a rocking chair. Beside the rocking chair, a wastebasket full of crumpled tissues waits to be emptied.
I refill my coffee mug, warming my hands with it as I return to the window. The leaves on the lawn are beginning to brown, reminding me of the promise to rake. Last year we let them lay and they choked the irises. At the feeder, only the occasional finch returns. The water in the birdbath is not yet frozen.
October ends orange leaves and white snowflakes fall together
If you enjoyed last week’s form, The Tanka, you should enjoy The Somonka twice as much! It is simply two tankas written in conversation with one another. Traditionally, the somonka reflects upon a theme of love and is written by two authors. But you may find modern somonka written by a single author in two voices. The theme of love may also be adapted and expanded beyond purely romantic sentiments to include love of friends and family, a precious object, or even the world itself.
The Tanka is a Japanese form closely related to the haiku. It’s a slightly longer form–made up of a quintet rather than a tercet–but maintains the haiku’s somewhat strict syllable restrictions. While some of the conventions associated with the haiku are still present–such as the focus on imagery–the tone of the tanka may be more conversational. Restrictions on the use of poetic devices such as metaphor and personification are also more relaxed.
Two Paths to the Tanka
There are two ways to approach the syllable requirements of a Japanese form such as the tanka when composing outside of the original language.
One approach uses the syllable requirements of the English haiku (the well known 5-7-5 rule) as a guide. Following this pattern, the syllable count for the tanka would become 5-7-5-7-7. Strict adherence to this method would result in a tanka of exactly thirty-one syllables. Since the way that syllables are counted in the two languages are not directly comparable, this is only an approximation of the original form.
The second approach is to use what I’ll call the short-long-short method, in which the length of the lines, and the difference between them, is more important than the actual syllable count. Using this method, the lines of the tanka would be written short-long-short-long-long. Using this method, the tanka is often shorter than thirty-one syllables (the number of syllables per line is more likely to be lowered than raised). Some would argue that this method is more in the spirit of the original Japanese form.
A unique experimental form born of the mashup of eastern and western poetic traditions, the Haiku Sonnet combines the syllable count and three-line stanzaic structure of the English Haiku with the fourteen-line structure of the sonnet. I first learned of the form –and many of the forms collected for this challenge– from David Lee Brewer at Writer’s Digest, but the form appears to be an invention of Chicago poet David Marshall.
David Marshall on the Haiku Sonnet
Conceptually, it’s an attempt to wed two like and unlike forms. To me, the sonnet seems the quintessential western poetic form, defined by the order and rationality of its problem-resolution organization. Depending how you see it, the haiku might be just as organized—haiku certainly have strong rules and conventions. Because haiku can rely, just as a sonnet does, on a sort of reversal—a “volta” in sonnets, a “kireji” in haiku—they may be distant cousins. However, haiku are eastern, and, where sonnets are rational, haiku are resonant. Where sonnets solve—or attempt to solve—haiku observe.
I remember winter now that it’s here—the next word in a song, a plea
for love you forget until a character speaks. Now I remember—
outside this window, one leaf clung all winter. Wind set it fluttering
like a hummingbird. Its sociable flicker was like life. One day
it flew away, and I thought— it wouldn’t ever come back.
Requirements of the Form
– Four three-line stanzas (tercets) followed by two-line stanza (couplet) for a total of fourteen lines
– Written in the present tense – Syntax may be incomplete to maximize power of brevity – Refers to time of day or season – Focuses on a natural image – ‘Show, don’t tell’ approach – May contain a ‘volta’ or turn of thought – Captures essence of a moment – Aims at sudden insight, spiritual illumination
– Begins with a sequence of four tercets with a syllable count of 5-7-5 – Ends with a couplet with a syllable count of either 5 or 7 syllables per line
The Lune–also known as the American Haiku–is a thirteen-syllable variation of the English Haiku created by American poet Robert Kelly (it may also be referred to as the Kelly Lune). Kelly’s adaptation of the better-known English Haiku–which also features a tercet, but with the 5-7-5 syllable count we all learned in school–shortened the syllable count from seventeen to thirteen and opened up the form by not requiring some of the haiku’s distinguishing features, such as the focus on nature.
One source proposes that Kelly chose the word lune (the French word for moon) to describe his adapted haiku form because the syllable count matches the thirteen lunar months of the year.
A Lune by Robert Kelly:
thin sliver of the crescent moon high up the real world
Requirements of the Form
– Consists of any number of tercets, though a single tercet is most common
– Open, but generally has a sense of immediacy — Often lacks punctuation, capitalization
[Line 1] Five syllables [Line 2] Three syllables [Line 3] Five syllables
– No requirements
– Typically not rhymed
Three Original Lunes
the woods by the creek
the woods by the creek all our best silences were there
she watches, wonders
she watches, wonders in silence the child in the leaves
who will comfort her as she cries as her forests burn
from ancient darkness
from ancient darkness sudden light galaxies of soul