Friday, April 01, 2011

National Poetry Month kick-off 2011

Every year for the past four years I have celebrated National Poetry Month by posting an original haiku and photo each day in April. It has been a wonderful exercise for me in creativity and thoughtful observation. I plan to do it again this year, with the added challenge of extending into haibun. This is a form that compliments the haiku with a short prose piece that amplifies or extends the revelation. Basho, the famous 17th c. Japanese haiku poet, made it famous with his work "The Narrow Road to Deep North", which was his travel journal of a trip across Japan  interspersed with meditations and haiku. You can read it in English here, and more about Basho's journey here.

Dawn L. Stewart writes that Haibun should be

"a combination of prose strong in imagery and at least one haiku. The prose in a haibun is trimmed to its essence just as a haiku is composed of few words chosen for their particular meaning. A haibun relates a journey, whether the travels are a physical exploration of the world or an internal journey of discovery."
Here is another explanation from Bay Moon, and the latest issue of the online journal Haibun Today. As this is also the season of Lent, I am going to focus my haibun on an internal journey; that of seeking God's face in the everyday events and people around me. I hope to discover and celebrate the little graces and blessings so easily overlooked in the hustle and bustle of my days.

I invited my good friend and Poetry Sister Liz Garton Scanlon to join me. She also has been spending her Aprils writing haiku, and I thought it would be fun to bounce off each other. We haven't worked out the details yet, and things may develop, but it should be interesting...

Before I get to today's haiku I have to share what the kids in my school are doing. After the tsunami in Japan three weeks ago we heard about a project going on at StudentsRebuild.org/japan. The Bezos Family Foundation has pledged $2 for every paper crane that young people send in for Japan. The cranes will be made into an art instillation in Japan. The money goes to Architects for Humanities projects rebuilding Japan, up to $200,000. In one week the kids have made 1000 cranes! It's a perfect way for kids to make a big impact for good. I've been running to the craft store every day buying up origami paper, and cutting up old magazines, and spending my lunchtime teaching kids to make paper cranes.

Paper Crane Haibun #1

paper cranes 011
  
I didn't know these children through their fingers. Only from their eyes seeking me and darting away; their playful voices. I didn't know what they could do with squares of paper. I only gathered as many colors, shaped into hand sizes, and showed them the folds. Mountain fold, belly fold, petal fold. They came up with smushed fold and crumpled fold. And then, suddenly, relentlessly, gathering steam, they perform shocking beauty. Japanese paper, transformed, and returned with interest.

clumsy fingers
find mysteries in paper
folded beauty

-Andromeda Jazmon

paper cranes 026

Poetry Friday is hosted today at the Poem Farm, where Amy LV has been writing a poem a day for the past year! Please be sure to spend some time this weekend enjoying the poetry celebration. And please do come back here all through April for more haiku!

18 comments:

Amy LV said...

I have shivers from today's offering, Andi. Thank you for sharing your inspiring haibun and the link to Students Rebuild. I will be sharing that along, and buying some origami paper for home too. A.

Elaine Magliaro said...

Andi,

This is a lovely post--and such a wonderful way to start off National Poetry Month at A Wrung Sponge.

I don't know what the weather is like where you live--but it's snowing here in Massachusetts! This is the third "snow day" we've had since the beginning of spring.

Liz in Ink said...

Love this, Andi... Love the photo and the haibun!!

Tabatha said...

I like the mysteries and beauty that even clumsy fingers can devise with paper, Andi! You're off to a great start. Looking forward to your future haibun!

jama said...

Love today's haibun and looking forward to more all month long. :)

Susan Taylor Brown said...

Oh Andi, this one is right to the heart, even without the story of the paper cranes your students are making. To use clumsy fingers to create something beautiful...sigh.

I am inspired by the fact that your students are making cranes. I have long wanted to make 1000 of them for my office. I have the perfect ceiling for them. But I have allowed myself to be intimidated by the thought. This post is bookmarked to remind me it is achievable, even with my clumsy fingers. Thank you.

Amy LV said...

We will be making these cranes at my children's school...got permission! Thank you and your students for the inspiration. A.

acrossthepage said...

So beautiful -- the cranes, the insights, the haibun (a totally new form to me). Thank you!

Brimful Curiosities said...

It's been a while since I tried making a crane. Folding a perfect one requires patience and skill, much the same as creating a Haibun, I imagine. Your poems are so beautifully written they wouldn't need pictures, but I like the photos all the same.

hatbooks said...

Thank you for this post on behalf of the children of Japan and for spreading the word about Students Rebuild.

Diane Mayr said...

Lovely haibun! Origami always makes me feel like I have 10 thumbs. I should give it another try.

Andromeda Jazmon said...

Thank you all for these lovely encouraging comments my friends! Amy I am so glad you are going to do this! It is really a fabulously exciting thing for kids to do!

When I got home from school today I found a letter letting me know that a job I had been hoping for went to someone else. I was feeling down & discouraged until I read these comments. Thank you for lifting me! And now more poetry links to follow... more Friday Poetry blogs await!

Andromeda Jazmon said...

And did anyone else think it was really funny that they started calling it "smushed fold"? That really is their term for the way you shape the head near the end of making a crane. I found that hilarious, since the Japanese have the other folds named "mountain fold, belly fold" etc. Those kids are so funny!

Tara said...

So so lovely...this is a new form of poetry for me, and I look forward to your April offerings!

Sal's Fiction Addiction said...

Thanks so much for sharing the delight that children find in doing something for others...congratulations to them for their spirit and concern for people of the world. I look forward to coming back every day this month to read your new poems!

Mary Lee said...

I can't wait to learn more about haibun from you and Liz!

Robyn Hood Black said...

Beautiful - the children's project and the haibun. Thanks for sharing.

Julie Larios said...

A lovely post - poem plus good news about raising money via the paper cranes. I'll return each day for your new haibun.