Friday, April 5, 2013

Her Special Day

Her Special Day
NaPoWriMo, Day 5

Forgotten, again.
It was the best gift he had
ever given her.

(c) Julie Bartha-Vasquez

Notes on the Poem:
The "Broken Ring" monument, by Konstantin Simun, located
 near St. Petersburg, Russia. The World War II memorial marks the 
"Road of Life," an ice road across a frozen lake 
that was the only access for the city 
of Leningrad during a 29 month siege from 1941-1944. 
More than one million citizens of Leningrad died during the siege. 
This is the poem I had written the other day. Now you might be thinking, oh... that's a haiku! But it's not. It's actually called a senryu

But it's all cool if you thought it was a haiku. Easy mistake. Actually, when I first wrote it a couple day ago, I thought it was a haiku too. Why? Because that's how I learned what a syllable was in grade school -- writing haikus. First line five syllables, second line seven syllables, third line five. And this form fits the bill. Right? Right!

But then this happens every April...  Poetry Month rolls around, someone writes some, fun silly haikus to get in the spirit of things, then someone else writes a snobby blog post that says "Well, that's not a real haiku... Poetry Month is so stupid." Then everyone rolls their eyes and moves on. But nobody ever explains why it's not a haiku! Nobody learns anything! So lets do some learnin':

The difference, according to the official definitions of the Haiku Society of America, isn't in the form, it's in the content. You can read the full text of their definitions here, but this is what they say a Haiku is:

"...a short poem that uses imagistic language to convey the essence of an experience of nature or the season intuitively linked to the human condition."

In other words, haikus use imagery from nature and link them to the human experience. I don't have any nature imagery in my poem. Not a haiku.

And this is the definition of a Senryu:

"A senryu is a poem, structurally similar to haiku, that highlights the foibles of human nature, usually in a humorous or satiric way."

Given the content of my subject matter -- chock full of human foible, as it were -- I think we scored here. So now, I can say with full confidence, that I have written a senryu. And all those fun, lighthearted "haikus" that everyone basically pisses all over every April, most of them fall into the senryu category too. But again, it's okay if you confused it with a haiku, because again, no one is bothering to explain the very, very subtle difference.

But now that you know the difference, pass it on. We could use a little less poetry snobbery in the world.

1 comment:

  1. A lot said in a few words.... and thanks for the clarification on the two forms. Guess I've written some "haikus" that aren't too!