Daily Archives: April 12, 2018

NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 12

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Welcome back, everyone, for another day of poetry, poetry, poetry!

Today, our featured participant is woody and johnny, where the “future self” poem for Day Ten is a cosmic confection.

Our craft resource for the day is an essay by Aimee Nezhukumatathil on writing haibun – a Japanese form that blends prose-based travel writing with haiku.

Today’s (optional) prompt picks up from our craft resource. We’ve challenged you to tackle the haibun in past years, but it’s such a fun one, we couldn’t resist again. Today, we’d like to challenge you specifically to write a haibun that takes in the natural landscape of the place you live. It may be the high sierra, dusty plains, lush rainforest, or a suburbia of tiny, identical houses – but wherever you live, here’s your chance to bring it to life through the charming mix-and-match methodology of haibun.

Happy writing!


In past years I have learnt new (to me) forms through NaPoWriMo, like the Golden Shovel. A haibun is a form I have written before.

In case you haven’t, here’s how.

  • Combining prose poem and haiku.
  • Avoid personal pronouns I, or first-person possessive adjectives (my and mine).
  • Focus on sensory detail.
  • The turn (3rd line of prose poem element).

Though Bashō coined the word haibun, the form as it is today existed in Japan as prefaces and mini-lyric essays even before the seventeenth century (when Bashō first popularized the form). After his famous journey to Mutsu, he crafted a sort of guideline to the form in order to plunge deeper into the aware (pronounced ah-WAR-ay) spirit of haiku. Thus, another important feature of the haibun is not simply to provide a writer a shape in which to jot mundane musings of landscape and travel but also to evoke that sense of aware—the quality of certain objects to evoke longing, sadness, or immediate sympathy. © Academy of American Poets

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I wrote a haibun about where I live mixing nature & urban.

It is hard to imagine this street without windows and doors, 


5ab39dd423e2c-bpfullThe Poetry School Day 12

Day 12: Poem Beginning with a Line By…

Today’s task is to write a poem beginning with a line by someone else. There’s a long tradition of these, and they’re a good way of paying homage to a poet or poem you love, but they also work simply as a jumping off point to talk about something else entirely. You can find loads of examples simply by Googling ‘poem beginning with a line by’, the most famous of which are poems borrowing lines from Frank Lima, Pindar and Wittgenstein. Today’s example poem ‘Poem beginning with two lines by André Breton‘ by Peter Sirr.


I have written a poem starting with a borrowed line in workshops before. It is usually a way of taking a poem to a place it may otherwise never have ended up. I like this prompt and am back at work next week (and already concerned I may not be able to keep up with NaPo), so banking a few extra when I have time gives me a safety net.

The hardest thing about this form is choosing the poem to begin with.

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I decided to start with internet intentionally looking for a poet I am not familiar with. I decided to go ahead with my Dementia themed work and chose Losing Solomon by Sean Nevin https://100.best-poems.net/losing-solomon.html. I didn’t read the entire poem until I had written mine. I just used the first line;

Things seem to take on a sudden shimmer

During my research on Dementia I discovered people can misconceive the floor as water, or that it is wet (mopped over), I imagine more like 8 inches of water with some furniture floating. The poem covers a few misperceptions.

There is a man standing in the corner of the room,
up to his ankles in water, brogues soaked through.

 

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