Friday, December 07, 2007


II formers in John Fanagan's class have recently been experimenting with haikus, such as

Lingfan Gao -

Soft are the footsteps
Walking towards the cradle
Not to wake him up.

The spectators come
As sweat pours down from your head.

But the sh
ow must start.

(Lingfan played at the music concert on Saturday night - possibly an inspiration?)

Eamonn McKee -

On the sodden earth
The heather is fluttering

Like a butterfly.

On a rugged wall,
The ivy is quivering
In the endless gust.

and Peter Marshall

Frogs jumping around,
Frogs hopping away from snakes,
Frogs doing cool tricks.

For more haikus from members of the class, click here.

Coincidentally, recently Seamus Heaney wrote in the Guardian about Japanese poetry :

In the years since these early developments, the haiku form and the generally Japanese effect have been a constant feature of poetry in English. The names of Basho and Issa and Buson have found their way into our discourse to the extent that we in Ireland have learnt to recognise something Japanese in the earliest lyrics of the native tradition. The hermit poets who wrote in Old Irish in the little monasteries were also masters of the precise and suggestive.

Heaney's full essay is here.

1 comment:

Anatoly Kudryavitsky said...

I read with interest your post about haiku. A few questions:

1. Why this obsession with writing 5-7-5 haiku poems in English? If you read haiku anthologies and magazines, you'll see that English haiku are generally shorter than 17 syllables. As things stand at the moment, none of the leading English-language haiku magazines wouldn't even consider 5-7-5 haiku submissions.

2. The authors of some of the haiku examples on your web-page break basic haiku rules by setting their poems in the past tense, as well as by using various forms of the verb 'to be'. Are the haiku students haiku familiar with haiku rules? If not, why not give them the link to a good haiku site? E.g. to Kathy Lippard Cobb's Haiku Guidelines (which are simple and good):

3. Finally, the plural form for the word haiku in French and in Spanish is 'haikus', indeed, but in English it is 'haiku'. I admit to being quite surprised when I saw the word 'haikus' on a Department of English site (!!), as I would have been shocked to see some other non-existent words like 'sheeps', 'deers' and 'musics'.

With best wishes,

Anthony Anatoly Kudryavitsky
writer and literary translator
Chairman, the Irish Haiku Society