An Introduction to Japanese Forms Poetry: Haiku, Tanka, and Haibun/Tanka Prose

Instructor:  Kyle D. Craig
Date: 3 Sundays: October 1, November 5, December 3
Time: 1:30-4:30 p.m.
Location: IWC
Cost: $225 Nonmembers, $144 members, $126 student members/teacher members/senior members/military members/librarian members

In this three-session class, participants will learn the history, elements, and techniques of the Japanese poetry forms of haiku, tanka, and haibun/tanka prose, as well as the various places to seek publication for these works.

In session one, writers will explore the art of modern English-language haiku. The late Robert Spiess, a former editor of the journal Modern Haiku, wrote, “a haiku is an up to a breath-length poem in which two…objects in a now-moment of awareness are juxtaposed so that each enhances one’s appreciation of the other and together they evoke a felt depth, insight, or intuition of the suchness of things.” Here are just two examples of modern English-language haiku:

night time                                                         fractured sunlight
in the hospice aquarium                                  all I discover
the pulse of fish gills                                        inside her diary
      -Joyce Clement                                                  -Kyle D. Craig

In session two, writers will explore the five line lyrical form of Japanese tanka, which means “poem song.” Tanka often include the author’s subjective stance on a given moment or experience, and have been likened to having a dream-like quality. Here are two examples of modern English-language tanka:

is this the place?                                              my toddler
your breath on my spine                                  packs her own picnic…
as you lift up my hair…yes                               a finger puppet
here, where the twining birches                       a fairy’s magic wand
bend to touch the stream                                 a fireman’s red hat
        -Claire Everett                                                 -Kyle D. Craig

In session three, participants will learn how to transform the short forms of haiku and tanka into the longer and more narrative forms of haibun (prose + haiku) and tanka prose (prose + tanka). These forms utilize the juxtaposition of haiku or tanka with prose to create a unique dynamic for the reader.

Come see why many writers consider Japanese forms of poetry their favorite and most satisfying genre in which to write poetry!

*Joyce Clement’s haiku was first published in The Heron’s Nest, Volume XVI, Number 2: June 2014.
*Claire Everett’s tanka is from her book entitled The Wild, Small Places, Skylark Publishing, 2015.
*Kyle D. Craig’s haiku was first published in Haiku Presence (England), and his tanka in Ribbons.

 Register online or download and print a registration form.

Click here for the Faculty Bio for Kyle D. Craig

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