So few Words yet such a difficult Task - Debbie Guzzi's Blog

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Deborah Guzzi writes fulltime. When not writing she’s reading. She travels for inspiration. Her new book The Hurricane is available now through Prolific Press. Her poetry appears in: Existere - Journal of Arts and Literature in Canada, Tincture in Australia, Cha: Asian Literary Review, Hong Kong, China, Eunoia in Singapore, Vine Leaves Literary Journal in Greece, and Ribbons: Tanka Society of America’s Journal, Sounding Review, Kyso Flash, The Aurorean, Crack the Spine Literary Magazine, Liquid Imagination, Concis, The Tishman Review, Page & Spine and others in the USA. 

So few Words yet such a difficult Task

Blog Posted:10/1/2012 1:47:00 PM

Below I have copied for you an article about the differences and similarities between poems/haiku'>haiku & senryu.

NEITHER is simply a single thought divided into 5/7/5

Akita International Haiku Network

“We all try our best / in our busy,
busy lives / to write poetry.”

What are Haiku, Senryu ?

What are Haiku, Senryu?

To help you get started, here is a short introduction to Japanese poetry styles.

What are Haiku?

Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry, consisting of 17 morae (or on), in three metrical phrases of 5, 7 and 5 morae respectively. Haiku typically contain a kigo, or seasonal
reference, and a kireji, or verbal caesura (cutting word).

English-language haiku poets think of haiku as a Japanese form of poetry generally (but not always) consisting of 17 syllables, usually within three lines, with 5, 7 and 5 syllables.

In Japanese, haiku are traditionally printed in a single vertical line, while haiku in English usually appear in three lines, to parallel the three metrical phrases of Japanese haiku. The essential element of form in English-language haiku is that each haiku is a short one-breath poem that usually contains a juxtaposition of images.

Most haiku writers prefer poems that refer to nature and social events, but some of them don’t always place an exacting seasonal word in the poem. Furthermore, a few of them write haiku
composed on one or two lines in less than 17 syllables. Currently the majority of haiku are written in 11 short syllables in a 3-5-3 format.

And Senryu?

Senryu is a Japanese form of short poetry similar to haiku in construction: three lines with 17 or fewer morae (or on) in total. However, senryu tend to be about human foibles while haiku tend to be about nature, and senryu are often cynical or darkly humorous while haiku are more serious. Unlike haiku, senryu do not include a kireji or verbal caesura (cutting word), and do not generally include a kigo, or seasonal word.

It is often said that both haiku and senryu can be funny, but that if it’s funny, it’s probably senryu. Both haiku and senryu can be about nature, but if it’s about nature, it’s probably a haiku. In addition, both haiku and senryu can be about nature or human nature. Both haiku and senryu can be serious or humorous/satirical. A serious poem about nature is certainly a haiku. And a funny/satirical poem about human nature is certainly a senryu.

I was wondering how many poets even care whether they mislable what they write?

Do you see it as respectfull to the reader to lure them in with an incorrect label?

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Date: 10/3/2012 12:32:00 AM
BTW I have written to Soup and requested that they expand their option/list of Poetry Forms. To date, I have had no results. Does the Admin at Soup work? And how? I have written poetry in a variety of different forms not mentioned by Soup and I would hate it to appear on the Internet or elsewhere as "I don't know". I cannot identify a Pleiades as anything other than that... A catch 22 situation here.
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Date: 10/3/2012 12:27:00 AM
If you search the Internet for examples of a particular poetry form, then leads the way in this field. (This is how I came across PS's site and decided to join.) This is a valuable catch for Soup to gain new members. Now, just imaging, you wrote a stunning piece of prose and labeled it "Sonnet". You not only show your own ignorance, but bring the good name of the Soup into question. Therefore, I think that it is in everyone's interest to point out glaring errors to the poets, if the poetry form is way off the mark. Maybe PS could have a group of poets who are willing to assist in the growth of knowledge of the new poets? ....
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Date: 10/2/2012 1:31:00 PM
I spent years not knowing what the heck FORM???? I was writing in and it really annoyed me. My sis is an English teacher and she say these are good poems Deb I'd say thanks what kind of poems and she's say hmmmmmmmm. OK now here we are this site has a fantastic FORM DICTIONARY and many learned folk there is really no reason not to find OUT what form you have written in
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Date: 10/2/2012 11:28:00 AM
A very interesting write. I'll have to think about this one. Cool!
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Date: 10/2/2012 11:14:00 AM
Hmmmm... hasn't and isn't haiku and its definition been evolving for quite some time? I'm not sold that writing in a form is OBJECTIVE, but I do believe that learning how to write in an objective manner does strengthen one's writing skills. Check out this book The preface is very interesting. Also, simple and uber cool:
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Date: 10/2/2012 11:05:00 AM
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Date: 10/2/2012 9:11:00 AM
I also feel it is a worse disrespect to intentionally write something knowing that you are going to call it a form which it is not. That really chafs my loins, but who am I. Just my two cents worth.
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Date: 10/2/2012 8:58:00 AM
Deb, I just sent you an email.
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Date: 10/2/2012 8:33:00 AM
I defininitely feel a lack of respect and laziness is partially the cause for mislabeling any poem. Haiku and senryu are more often mislabeled than other form, probably. I also feel it is a higher disrespect to label something ANY form when the poet does not research far enough to know what they are talking about. When i first got on the soup I was super hesitant to make any definitive statement about anything because I knew so little of about the forms which intesested me.
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Date: 10/2/2012 7:57:00 AM
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Date: 10/2/2012 6:12:00 AM
Carol hon I love you too, and just ignore the Debbie, but I do think folks have made progress in their haiku writing, many of us have tried to help there and now most on the site at minimum do not #1 say Haikus ;) #2 do not use capitalization [except for proper nouns] #3 understand two of the lines must be grammatically connected as well as conceptually. HUZZAH...the next step is to understand the difference between subjective and objective [and this will help all their writings. It will help their LIFE. YOUR opinions are not TRUTHS they are your truths not universal truths and not to be put in a haiku.
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Date: 10/2/2012 6:04:00 AM
Rueben can I give you a long distance SSMMMOOOOOOCHHH! The reason I am speaking of FORM, and not content, is that whether content is good or bad, impacting or boring is SUBJECTIVE, whether you have writen a poem correctly in a form is OBJECTIVE. FORM does matter, sloppy form leads to slopping writing, leads to lack of communication, and even the poet doesn't get what they want because they are NOT understood.
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Date: 10/2/2012 4:40:00 AM
Thank you for a very informative blog, Debbie. Yes, I particularly hate it when I am looking for a particular poetry form (relaxing between doing my housework and writing) and find that a poet has labeled his/her creation incorrectly. This is worse than "I don't know" (which I had to resort to, because I do know the poetry form, but it is not listed here on the Soup). I am at times very tempted to point out the glaring mistake, but then just past it over. Regarding haiku: I have shuddered to read some offerings which rhyme - a big No-no in haiku. Also, haiku is both singular and plural. Like Basho (the founder of haiku) said: "You have the BECOME the subject before you write about it."
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Date: 10/2/2012 12:51:00 AM
I admit to ignorance over some forms but life goes on on and we earn all the time, this has helped me a great deal thank you Debbs xx
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Date: 10/1/2012 8:34:00 PM
Hey, hon, sent you a soup mail and I have put up a poem with a call out for editing help. I turned the lines somewhat, but more importantly did I really capture what I wanted? Did it seal that minute into a tiny poem? All help welcome and TRULY appreciated. I'm hoping this gets minds turning, hon. xox
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Date: 10/1/2012 6:37:00 PM
I do not recall ever reading a book of poems where the form was labeled. I thought that was for the crtitics to have something to talk about.
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Date: 10/1/2012 5:42:00 PM
Anyways it's good to have more knowledge. Thanks Debbie.
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Date: 10/1/2012 5:40:00 PM
They mislabeled Mislabel.
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Date: 10/1/2012 5:37:00 PM
I totally agree with Cyndi. It is like everything else in life everyone sees things differently. That is what makes the world go around. Just like 3 people can read your poem and each see it as meaning something else. I am so tired of seeing blogs going up about Haiku and Senryu. I think it has run it's course. Just my ten cents worth. You know I loves ya babe. Carol
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Date: 10/1/2012 3:30:00 PM
For me, hon, the most important aspect of every, no wait make that EVERY poem is its content. How does the poem move? Does it flow, captivate, energize, emote? Does it make me think, rethink, laugh or cry? Does the poet have a voice, a style? Does the poem surprise me, delight me? Is the verse free of cliche and excess description, redundancy, pretence??? If the poet has done this, if the poem has truth AND beauty OR truth OR Beauty, then that is ALL that matters. Nothing else does. This is where I come from. This is my belief. gota faly
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Richards Avatar
Suzette Richards
Date: 10/2/2012 4:45:00 AM
I second that!
Date: 10/1/2012 3:18:00 PM
You do what you do for a reason, that's the big difference Dee. Yes a mistake is simply another way of doing things BUT what is it that is being done then becomes the question.
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Date: 10/1/2012 3:13:00 PM
Good blog, Bet. Yup. You're definitely Bet here. :-) A quote I like:A mistake is simply another way of doing things- Katherine Graham. I'm currently working on a ballade,. I am not adherring to the syllable count, I am also playing with the repeated line, somewhat. Some rhyme will be slant. However, the scheme is 100% ballade. I will call it a ballade. It is a ballade. It is MY ballade. I doubt my readers will think, "Now, why did she label this a ballade?" This wouldn't be a mislabel. I don't believe that forms are stagnant. Poetry is constantly being wrought and bent. It is one of the things which makes it lovely. Some of my fave poets knew this, too. Glad your b.d. was a blast.
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Grisetti Avatar
Joann Grisetti
Date: 10/1/2012 6:36:00 PM
I agree with you here.
Ellis Avatar
Patricia Ellis
Date: 10/1/2012 3:18:00 PM
The same for me, I am still learning..
Date: 10/1/2012 2:51:00 PM
If I make a mistake I truly WANT to be told. If friends don't tell me I feel like they let me walk around with toilet paper hanging from the back of my skirt...I hate feeling foolish! ;)
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Richards Avatar
Suzette Richards
Date: 10/2/2012 4:43:00 AM
lol... you do have a way with words, Debbie :-))
Ellis Avatar
Patricia Ellis
Date: 10/1/2012 3:20:00 PM
The same for me, I am still learning..sorry it ended up on the wron comment..see still learning !
Williams Avatar
David Williams
Date: 10/1/2012 3:09:00 PM
you know you can tell me anytime you like, I too hate feeling foolish ...David
Date: 10/1/2012 2:18:00 PM
Debbie, good blog, I do think some poets mis-label their work, but I do not think it is intentional ergo I don't think they are trying to 'lure' them in, maybe I am wrong..hope you had a good birthday and a cup of Assam to celebrate...David
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