Haiku Society of America - haiku column 12

Haiku Society of America

.haiku column

Gene MyersThe Haiku Society of America is pleased to host this ongoing column.

.Haiku: a place to share tools available to haiku writers and fellow haiku fans (like how to use Twitter, Facebook and Scribd for building community, self-publishing and marketing). The column will also feature interviews, blog spotlights and occasional multimedia presentations.

Gene Myers

~ ~ ~

.haiku column 12

.haiku column number 12 • 9-27-2012

by Gene Myers

It's September!  School is back in session

I recently interviewed poet and educator Penny Harter, who coauthored The Haiku Handbook with her husband,  William J. Higginson, for my newspaper column. While that feature was geared for the general public, the following interview dives deeper into Harter’s thoughts on teaching haiku to kids.   
"I imagine there's more than one reason teachers teach 5/7/5, one of them being, it's easy. How do you recommend teaching younger kids about haiku?" I asked.  
"Well, I've found that teaching poetry, in general, tends to intimidate teachers, with the exception of those who love and have read a good deal of it. And teachers are often even more puzzled by how to evaluate poems written by their students. Using the formula of 5/7/5 is easy, yes, but it is also 'safe.' I've had teachers ask me, 'But if it's not three lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables, how do we know it's a haiku?' And that's where their haiku education begins! One thing I do at that point is find some really good 5/7/5 poems—there are quite a few out there—and use those to demonstrate the other things a good haiku needs to do / have / be.
And for teaching students how to write haiku, I recommend doing as I outlined above—if they have The Haiku Handbook, they can follow my elementary lesson plan, or Bill's secondary plan."
It turns out that the short, little poems are great when it comes to teaching my 5-year-old son to read. Harter’s been teaching poetry in schools for years and she says that, "kids can write terrific haiku!"
"Why do you think this is?" I followed up. "Is there a certain aspect of it that they tend to do well?"
"I think especially elementary children, and even high school age students, are able to absorb by 'osmosis.' If one reads them a number and variety of really good haiku—both traditional (in translation) and contemporary—they 'get it' better than our talking about / explaining what a haiku is and is not. However, after they've heard many, one can ask them to talk about the poems: What do these poems do, and how do they do it? What kind of subjects? And when they also say 'descriptive words,' I do note the power of using images," she said.
In your experience, what is it that kids tend to like about haiku?
"They like the surprises in them—the leap across the gap—that juxtaposition of two images in startling ways. Also, they like the fact that haiku are short and make wonderful pictures for our minds or imaginations which is, of course, the  job of well-chosen images. And they feel proud that they have written a poem. After I had 4th graders writing haiku and haibun, I had one boy skipping out of class saying , 'I love poetry.' That's the best reward of all," said Harter.

Is there something you would like to see in a column? Email me at <poetgene@gmail.com>.

• .haiku column number 12 • 9-27-2012 •

~ ~ ~














The Haiku Society of America web site featured a Haiku Column written by Gene Myers. Here is the archive of his columns written from 2010-2017

.haiku column number 37 by Gene Myers • 6/1/17

.haiku column number 36 by Gene Myers • 3/7/17

.haiku column number 35 by Gene Myers • 6/20/16

.haiku column number 34 by Gene Myers • 3/21/16

.haiku column number 33 by Gene Myers • 2/10/16

.haiku column number 32 by Gene Myers • 1/6/16

.haiku column number 31 by Gene Myers • 10/29/15

.haiku column number 30 by Gene Myers • 7/9/15

.haiku column number 29 by Gene Myers • 3/23/15

.haiku column number 28 by Gene Myers • 1/15/15

.haiku column number 27 by Gene Myers • 9/26/14

.haiku column number 26 by Gene Myers • 7/14/14

.haiku column number 25 by Gene Myers • 4/14/14

.haiku column number 24 by Gene Myers • 2/10/14

.haiku column number 23 by Gene Myers • 1/2/14

.haiku column number 22 by Gene Myers • 10/7/13

.haiku column number 21 by Gene Myers • 8/25/13

.haiku column number 20 by Gene Myers • 6/30/13

.haiku column number 19 by Gene Myers • 5/18/13

.haiku column number 18 by Gene Myers • 4/7/13

.haiku column number 17 by Gene Myers • 3/10/13

.haiku column number 16 by Gene Myers • 2/9/13

.haiku column number 15 by Gene Myers • 1/2/13

.haiku column number 14 by Gene Myers • 11/18/12

.haiku column number 13 by Gene Myers • 10/11/12

.haiku column number 12 by Gene Myers • 9/27/12

.haiku column number 11 by Gene Myers • 8/26/12

.haiku column number 10 by Gene Myers • 7/19/12

.haiku column number 9 by Gene Myers • 6/17/12

.haiku column number 8 by Gene Myers • 5/19/12

.haiku column number 7 by Gene Myers • 4/16/12

.haiku column number 6 by Gene Myers • 3/16/12

.haiku column number 5 by Gene Myers • 2/12/12

.haiku column number 4 by Gene Myers • 1/23/12

.haiku column number 3 by Gene Myers • 10/17/11

.haiku column number 2 by Gene Myers • 9/12/11

.haiku column number 1 by d. f. tweney • 10/6/10

~ ~ ~