Welcome to a special anniversary issue of the haiku pea podcast. It’s our birthday! We are two today. Before I get started let me say a huge, huge thank you to everybody who has taken part, sent me messages, or just listened quietly without any comment. Thank you very much.
I should also let you know that the podcast is now available on YouTube.
On today’s podcast I want to celebrate haiku written for and by children, I’d like to bring you up-to-date with the renku, our second one, briefly mention pebble poetry and bring you a selection of verses from the poet we’ve not heard from before Elizabeth Moura.
When I realised it was the second anniversary podcast I started thinking about where my love of poetry came from and about my introduction to Japanese short form poetry.
I can still remember my favourite poetry from my childhood and of course the poetry I read to my kids.
Here are a few snippets:
“Tootles the Taxi”, from the Ladybird book of the same name. Are ladybird books of thing worldwide? Let me know.
“I’m tootles the taxi
I’ll give you a ride
Just put up your hand
Then jump inside”
Allan Ahlberg’s: “Please Mrs Butler” which made me laugh when I first read it and still does today.
“Please Mrs Butler
This boy Derek Drew
Keeps calling me rude names, miss.
What shall I do?
Lock yourself in the cupboard, dear.
Run away to sea.
Do whatever you can, my flower.
But don’t ask me.”
The tale of Custard the Dragon by Ogden Nash
“Belinda lived in a little white house,
With a little black kitten and a little grey mouse,
And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon,
And a realio, trulio, little pet dragon.”
AA Milne’s, Buckingham Palace
“They’re changing guard at Buckingham Palace –
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
Alice is marrying one of the guard.
“A soldier’s life is terrible hard,”
James Kirkup’s “Who’s that?”
My door in the
In the dead of the moonless night?
James’ living haiku anthology page
Edward Lear’s The Owl and the Pussycat
“The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.”
That’s just a tiny selection I could go on and on.
You might notice that there are no haiku amongst them. Haiku only came in to my life through my daughter’s fourth grade teacher almost 20 years ago.
In order to redress the balance I went in search of haiku for children. Thank you to everyone who helped me and suggested books for me to read. I tried to chase up everything that people suggested. Not that easy when you live in a German-speaking world and want to get hold of English language children’s books in a hurry, but I did my best.
Before I did so I put together some criteria based on what had appealed both to myself and to my children in terms of our favourite poems.
Obviously, it’s not scientific, purely the opinion of myself and my family, if you and your families disagree or have other things to add please email me.
I should make clear that I was thinking of children up to the age of 12, more or less. Only later and thanks to some of your emails did I think that I should’ve looked at pieces of work for teenagers.
So what did I decide was important in children’s poetry in our family?
- Well crafted poetry, where the poet has used a number of techniques for example consonants, alliteration, onomatopoeia, etc.,
- Something recognisable from their own lives
- Flights of fantasy
Well two of those are problematical in this instance. Rhyme is a no-no. Shame really because I wrote this:
one leaf, two leaf, three leaf, four,
winter knocking at our door
My little verse must be reworked or get filed as a micro poem, and I can’t show you illustrations on the podcast. C’est la vie.
In my search for children’s haiku there were many books written for children. I was disappointed with what I found. I’m not going to name names because this is a personal opinion but the majority of verses were written in the traditional style 5/7/5 which shouldn’t have been a problem but in many cases the verses sounded forced.
Notable exceptions were:
what do flowers dream?
adrift on eight pond pillows,
pink-cheeked blossoms rest
From “one leaf rides the wind” by Celeste Mannis illustrated by Susan Kathleen Hartung
are you dreaming
of new clothes
Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons by Jon J Muth
decides to eat
the snowman’s nose
Disappointed as I was in what I’d read, it did get me thinking. I felt that the poets who submit verses to this podcast could probably do a cracking job at writing poetry for children. So very last minute I put a call out on Twitter for children’s haiku and this time I did take the older child into consideration.
I think I was justified in thinking you could do a great job have a listen and tell me what you think.
m shane pruett
the rumble of thunder
when mom sees us
each night a spider
outside my window
deep in the forest
a ramshackle house
he stares out
my puppy nudges
the sleeping furball
a chirping squirrel
Christina Chin is from Kuching, Sarawak. She writes haiku, creates meaningful short videos and participates in art exhibitions. She has haiku, haiga, senryu, tanka and gogyoshi published both in print and online with several reputable anthologies and journals. Her photo-haiku won her first place in the 8th Setouchi Matsuyama International Photo-Haiku Contest of 2019 which she received a Grand Prix Award from the Honorable Katsuhito Noshi 野志 克仁, Mayor of Matsuyama City.
Christina is published in three multilingual Haiku Anthology Vols 3 to 5 and in one of Japan’s biggest haiku monthly magazine for [Haikukai] (俳句界) which features saijiki examples selected by Nagata Mitunori and Mine Mukose.
ride on a pony
from up high
my little ones call
the dusk in the woods
lit by berries
the kitten walks through my paint
It was in Haiku Dialogue from the Haiku Foundation:
the bogeyman hiding
inside my nose
Between the pages of a book
One Crazy Summer
bucket of sand
goes to bed
Lastly I’m going to let a haiku written by Emily Lowman aged eight, finish this section.
Fox in the dark
Raiding the dustbins
Thanks to everyone who helped me out here.
Now, if you visited the poetrypea website or follow me on Twitter @thepoetrypea you will know that I have been inspired by James Young to start writing poems on pebbles and setting them free in the wild. Thanks for the idea James. Thank you to those of you have given me feedback and indeed to those of you who have started to do the same. If you’re on Twitter or Instagram, don’t forget to post a picture, tag me to make sure I see them.
wrote me this, thanks Robert.
on the pebble
Sometimes I get submissions from poets that don’t fit easily into my monthly themes and I hate to waste great verses. This was the case with:
Elizabeth writes for us today from the US. It seems that the caring professions have more than their fair share of haiku poets. Elizabeth works with elderly people at a senior centre.
She has been involved with and studied Buddhism and Zen Buddhism for a long time, and thinks that this may have guided her and helped her open herself up to depths and this has helped her write.
Speaking of writing, she thinks as poets we should be writing every day, practice absolutely does make perfect. She also enjoys stretching the form and again I would agree with her. Half the fun for me in writing haiku is to push my boundaries. On a personal note, I do wonder whether this prevents me from finding my true voice. Do you know what I mean? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Elizabeth thinks now is a great time for haiku, because it is a brief poem in an age mad with brevity. With outlets like Twitter and Instagram, more people than ever can see poetry like haiku, the formats are made for brief poetry. She imagines future of real life haiku groups, little clubs all over, having coffee and cookies and sharing? I know many of you participate in groups, face-to-face ones, if you haven’t already told me about them why not send me some details and I’ll put them in the show notes. But for now let’s hear some work from Elizabeth
walking on water
skating across a pond
to the bonfire
shaking off snow
my old hands fall apart
at your soft touch
be a lady she said
over and over
Thank you Elizabeth I hope will hear more from you in the future.
Which reminds me I’ve nearly finished the list of topics for next year. They’ll be a few changes in terms of deadlines. If I have your email I’ll send a list to you, if I don’t and you like to be included on my list just email me your email address.
I am beginning to really love renku. Our second one is coming along. I’d like to thank the following poets for the work they’ve done so far. It’s great fun for me working on this collaboration. Kim Russell, Richard Bailey, wendy c bialek, m shane pruett, and Veronica Hosking. There will be more in a month.
sculpted by endless soles
a welcome chill
how ancient my son’s name
wind in the willows
green blades impaling
will the night be dark
or give no shelter?
all those unfinished poems
wendy c. bialek
the fading colours
m shane pruett
an old quilt
m shane pruett
she adds peat to the fire
reaches his soul
Thank you so much to everyone who has participated in this week’s podcast it’s been really fun working with you. Thank you to everyone who listens or reads the shownotes and to all of you who send me feedback. It’s always wonderful to know I’m not talking to myself, thank you.
Call for submissions on the topic of men deadline 11th November oh and the publication of that one will be a little late, I’m thinking 30th November. As for December we shall be doing Ekphrastic haiku and senryu, Deadline 9th December.
Just one last thing, it’s taking me a bit longer to reply to emails these days because I’ve hurt my neck and can’t use my computer as much as I would like. Bear with me I’m not ignoring you I’m getting there slowly, sorry.
Next time, the podcast is all about spirits and I have to say it was a real treat to put it together and if you enjoy it half as much as I did you’re in for a treat too. Publication date for that podcast is the 21st of October. See you then and in the meantime keep writing…