Graphic Haiku Exercise

I am going to have some lectures for young artists in Japan and was (maybe still am) brainstorming over what I am going to do with my graphic poetry project. So I decided to do Graphic Haiku. I practiced this exercise with a couple of my friends.

In this exercise, we will know what our strongest sense is, such as the faculties of sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch by picking one of the following haiku lines. We will also be aware of our weakest strength by what we do not pick. Graphic poetry already has the strongest faculties of sight obviously.

This exercise may be useful for your creative process if you have spare time, you may try it. My goal here is to have poets/writers (including myself) progress their own writing and editing skills though Graphic Poetry.

I am always excited to have young audiences. The other day, I received a thoughtful letter from a girl and it made me really happy to become her inspiration.

For my next several workshops, the majority of my audiences will be Japanese (once all the details are cleared, I will share the schedule), so I am going to use one of the most famous Haikus by Masaoka Shiki as an example.

These are 5–7–5 haiku format in Japanese. Here is my English translation, I am currently learning English Haiku by translating Crystal Simon’s works. As a contemporary English Haiku, there is no strict syllable rule. So, if I simply translate this haiku like a prose poem:

I am eating a piece of persimmon
while I am listening to its deep echoing bell
at a tea house near Hōryū-ji Temple.



Kaki kueba
Kanega narunari

In the exercise, I asked my friends to replace one line into a graphic element. The choices are:
Line #1) I am eating a persimmon
Line #2) at a tea house near Hōryū-ji Tample
Line #3) while I am listening to its deep echoing bell.

It is so interesting to observe how they chose the line, and I coincidently found some details.

For example, a friend who chose Line#1, she also likes writing and mentioning food & tastes in her works. In other words, there are many cuisines (tamale, blood orange, etc.) in her pieces. My other friend who chose Line#2, likes observing sounds & noises, so in her poems, she seems to control the tempo of her lines and words.

Though, this is my subjective observation, I think that I am seeing their strongest senses in terms of how they process their creative works.

I think that it is good to identify their strengths to remind them of the five main senses when they create art. They can also identify unwanted patterns or choices through this; for example, if she is always mentioning food in her pieces (and she is very good at it), she becomes aware of this pattern, so uses something new instead. I try to tell myself all the time, we would not like to be a one-trick pony. It is fantastic to become an expert of using a particular element, but it may become boring if it becomes a collection.

I am so excited to see varieties of Graphic Haiku by young artists. Last time, I observed their paintings of hydrangea, and they were all amazing. For this exercise, it will be a combination of words and images, so I cannot wait to see their works.