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Haiku Catchoo!

We blog for a million different reasons, but in the end, we’re all storytellers. Creative Writing Challenges are here to…

  • Ready to write? Each Tuesday, we’ll provide a theme. Publish a new post on your blog interpreting the weekly theme. Create a pingback to this week’s challenge to share your post with the community. Learn More

We blog for a million different reasons, but in the end, we’re all storytellers. Creative Writing Challenges are here to help you push your writing boundaries and explore new ideas, subjects, and writing styles.

To participate, tag your post with DPchallenge and include a link to this post, to generate a pingback and help others find the challenges. Please make sure your post has been specifically written in response to this challenge — we might just feature your entry on Freshly Pressed on Friday.

Ditching Ruts

Variety in writing projects keeps things fresh and interesting. Part of staying motivated to write involves branching out and trying new forms. Many of our past weekly writing challenges have focused on prose. In this week’s creative writing challenge, we’ll step toward verse to try our hand at writing haikus. Haikus are a great way to warm up to your writing projects. The short form, combined with simple line and syllable constraints, helps you to work your mind in a new way, as you embrace brevity in a bid to create vivid imagery.

HAIKU! (Gesundheit!)

Before we get to the challenge, we’ll take a brief detour back to fifth grade for a haiku review. A traditional haiku has 17 syllables or “sound units” known as morae. The syllables are broken into three lines, where the first line has five syllables, the second line has seven syllables, and the final line has five syllables (5/7/5).

Here’s a sample poem from haiku master Matsuo Bashō (1644 – 1694):

An old silent pond…

A frog jumps into the pond,

splash! Silence again.

Here’s another sample, this time from @TheShowJoe, a Twitter account that publishes a modern haiku almost every day:

Sunset through rainy,

Gray, overcast sky has the

Tone of old photos.

Consider the imagery packed into 13 and 12 words in each respective poem: your imagination conjures the tranquil pond and hears the sound of the splash as ripples diminish into silence. As you read the second poem, you envision sepia-soaked clouds and perhaps even the fixed gaze and stiff carriage of the subject of an old portrait.

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it

In the words of Ray Bradbury, “Just write every day of your life…”. Your mission is to write five haikus — one for each of the five days leading up to this Friday when we will choose some entries and feature them on Freshly Pressed.

Of course, you can modify this challenge to suit your needs — you can write two haikus one day and three the next, or five all in one day, or one haiku every day from today through Friday — the choice is entirely up to you. If haikus don’t inspire you, you’re welcome to write a paragraph of prose instead. As always, the challenges are meant to be malleable so that they suit your needs.

While traditional haikus tend to focus on things found in nature — anything goes for this haiku challenge. You can write haikus about your dog, your house, your cat, your great aunt Tilly — anything that captures your muse. The object is to try a new form and put some variety into your writing projects. Looking forward to reading your writing!

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  1. It’s a good challenge topic, but it will be tough for me because I’ve already done a multi-haiku post and I’m not sure what writing style would fulfill the challenge’s parameter of doing something new and different. I’m sure I’ll come up with something, though.

    This isn’t my challenge submission, but I figure I might as well link to my old haiku post. It was one of my earliest:

    http://bumblepuppies.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/a-bad-haiku-insults-my-intelligence/

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    1. Nice work, @Bumblepuppies. I particularly like that your haikus feel like smaller parts of a conversation.

      How about another poetic form, such a sonnet, free verse, or a prose poem?

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      1. Well, another poetry post was scheduled to publish a minute or two ago, which is my 10th poetry post, not including posts that may not quite qualify as poetry per se. (I’ve done the forms you suggested.) So I guess the challenge may be inventing something new, or at least new to me.

        Being challenged on something called a “challenge” is not a bad thing.

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  2. I am going to place my entry here, in the comments section to your post, because my blog has a specific aim and I do not want to disrupt the purpose of it. All I ask is that you forgive me and allow me my competitive format rebellion. This is my submission,

    My mind is,
    your mind too.
    An eddy in the stream.

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