Seeing through ‘Haiku Eyes’

WRITE YOUR OWN HAIKU FOR KIDS: SEE THE WORLD THROUGH “HAIKU EYES”

WRITE YOUR OWN HAIKU FOR KIDS: SEE THE WORLD THROUGH “HAIKU EYES”

By Patricia Donegan (North Clarendon, Vt.: Tuttle Publishing, 2018, 48 pp., $10.99, hardcover)

Poetry has often gotten a bad rap among kids, much to the chagrin of nerdy teacher types like me. I’m always on the lookout for resources to make poetry and especially, Japanese poetry, more accessible and enjoyable for kids. Look no further than this book.

It takes the seemingly simple haiku and reveals the complexity contained in just three lines. What a breath of fresh air compared to the usual way that we describe haiku — focusing strictly on the 5-7-5 syllable pattern.

This book showcases poetry from the masters like Basho and Issa side by side with those written by children around the world, giving a checklist of seven keys to consider when writing a haiku. The keys not only include form, but also image, kigo (seasonal language), focus on the here and now, feeling, an element of surprise and compassion.

So much more than just counting syllables! Much like how drawing makes you see the world with artists’ eyes, the exercises guide you in seeing the world with “Haiku eyes.”

As a how-to book, its ideas for combining haiku with stories and prose (to make haibun) or with drawings (to make haiga) will spark creativity for both kids and adults.

Here’s my try a summer haiku:

Brisk summer breezes
No match for the master
Spinning her spiraling threads.

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