2012 .haiku columns
.haiku column number 9 • 6-17-2012
by Gene Myers <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A budding poet starts veering to haiku
I'm going to be a little self-indulgent at the start of this column. I'd like to share the first couple of poems my son, Owen, wrote. He was 2 and 3 years old, respectively when he wrote them. The first here is accompanied by a photo taken by my in-laws' neighbor and friend, Alex Herzog. Photography is one of his hobbies, so he combined Owen's first poem with a photo he took of the moon.
I remember walking out of my son's school one night. Owen looked up at the moon above the school and said these words out loud:
My moon ball
is up in the dark sky.
My moon ball
is bright tonight.
I was floored. It had imagery and simile. There was a nice visual contrast. It seemed the time I spent reading Owen poems (even before he was born) paid off. A few poetry books that were written for kids are go-to books on his bookshelf. He returns to these books over and over again. One of them is "Haiku" by Patricia Donegan. It's a book of "asian arts and crafts for creative kids."
In it Donegan presents Japanese haiku, like Basho's:
frog jumps in—
This 400-year-old classic is one of the world's most famous poems. After I read it to Owen, who was 3 at that point, he recited the following:
jumps into the moon—
hiss . . .
He hasn't declared himself a poet yet, but what more could I ask? By now he is 5 and continues to enjoy his poetry books, like Penny Harter's Shadow Play. Haiku especially, because of its brevity, has been very useful while he's been learning to read. The pictures in Penny's book also draw him in. For next month's column, Penny and I are working on an article focused on haiku's effects on kids.
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• .haiku column number 9 • 6-17-2012 •