Workshop 8

Maxwell Armfield: Oxford Circus Underground Station (1905)

Week 9:

Workshop 8

Group 1: Peer Reviews.
Group 1: poems returned, with corrections and provisional grades.
Distribute Group 2 poems.

Poetry Exercise 3: Petals on a wet, black bough
(Ezra Pound)

Matsuo Bashō was a seventeenth-century Japanese poet, who specialised in Haiku, a verse form with very strict rules and conventions (3 lines; 5 syllables / 7 syllables / 5 syllables; a seasonal reference).

However, Bashō himself wrote to one of his disciples:
Even if you have three or four extra syllables, or even five or seven, you needn't worry as long as it sounds right. But if even one syllable is stale in your mouth, give it all of your attention.

- Matsuo Bashō, Narrow Road to the Interior and Other Writings. Trans. Sam Hamill. Boston: Shambhala, 2000): xxvi-vii.

Modern Haiku poets have therefore discarded many of these conventions, especially the syllable count.
  • Go out of the classroom for ten minutes.
  • In that time, you must find three images.
  • Come back and write them down.
  • Turn each one into a 3-line haiku, trying to portray the image itself as vividly as you can.
  • Each poem should convey a particular feeling: joy, sadness, humour – something you want to communicate through the picture.

Next week:

  • Group 3: Workshop Poems Due. Bring sufficient copies for the entire class

  • Group 2: Peer Reviews

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