Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Haiku A to Z: P is for Punctuation

local pioneer cemetery 2016

"(On) Too Much Punctuation: Avoid periods. A haiku is one moment in a continuum: a period often destroys that illusion (so may beginning with a capital letter). Other punctuation: The average haiku has one break in thought or continuity, usually at the end of line 1 or 2 (sometimes, the middle of line 2). If punctuated at all, it is usually with a colon, dash or ellipsis. An occasional dash or ellipsis may provide emphasis either before or after the final word (or phrase). In general, shy away from punctuation unless you are sure of its benefit." --Larry Gross, Japanese Poetry Patterns

The appropriate use (or not) of punctuation is an important consideration in the pursuit of writing haiku, as Mr. Gross explains above. Thus punctuation plays in the particulars. But I've found other -P- words that play into the process as well. My short list includes:

Ponder (nurture a sense of wonder and curiosity)... Practice (no, the final version does not come automatically in the first draft)... Permission (to write bad poetry on the way to good)... Patience (there are positives in the journey even if the end goal is elusive)...

And don't forget portable--it's poetry you can easily take with you!

Still pursuing the elusive haiku, so here we go--presenting Day Sixteen Haiku:

wildflower clusters
decorate pioneer graves...
bluebird comes singing
--Kenda Turner


  1. Some interesting "P" words. Punctuation is so hard for me. I've not tried writing haiku, but when we studied poetry in fifth grade our students wrote all sorts of poems, haiku one of them. They did a pretty good job. Love yours above. Cemeteries fascinate me, especially the old ones. There's so much history there, if we only knew it.

  2. Beverly, I can imagine what neat poetry your fifth grade students must have written. That age is so open to imagination :-) And yes, old cemeteries are fascinating. Lots of stories there if we could only listen...

  3. This was a beautiful haiku, Kenda. I'm really enjoying this series. In fact, I'm keeping track of them as a small personal handbook for writing haiku. These are great shares.

  4. P is for Picture. I can totally picture this one. To me, it sounds like it would be part of one of your stories!

  5. Elizabeth, I am so glad this series has been helpful to you :-) I didn't realize starting out how little I knew about haiku myself, so it's been a learning thing for me, too--and I'm still learning! I'd love to read some of your poems one day...

    And Peggy, you know my interests well. I've bogged down in my second book, but in the last scene to date my character is hiding in that cemetery!

    1. Whoa--hiding in a cemetery? That sounds like a book I would certainly like!

  6. I especially like your 'p' list ..."permission to write bad poetry on the way to good" I can relate to that. Maybe one day I'll have the courage to share some of my bad poetry. This is so good. Thanks Kenda.