16 May 2007

Teaching Poetry Spring 2007: Lesson #10 — Haiku

Finally on to the hot poem of all classes...the haiku.

The kids were hot to trot and already well familiarized with the concept of syllables. We worked with the word "veterinarian," breaking it into syllables and discussing the difference that pronunciation makes.

Then, I read three haiku while their eyes were closed. Then I read them again, only this time, I had them raise their hands for the one they liked best. Almost all preferred this one:
In a misty rain
A butterfly is riding
The tail of a cow.
There reasons varied from concrete imagery, to liking butterflies and cows, to the punchline effect of the last line.

After discussing the history of haiku and it's association with Japan and Zen Buddhism (read: simplicity), I guided them on a meditation. This didn't work last year, but I thought I'd give it another shot...with pretty much the same results. I asked them to visualize the last time something from Nature caught their attention, then when they had a clear picture of it, they wrote.

Time ran out, so I left them with specific instructions to circle the essential words in the poem and use those words to write a haiku. Thursday, we workshop our poems and I gave them the option of making the haiku their poem to revise into perfection.

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