I Can Actually Get Away with Calling This a Poem ~ haibun

Today is Day 14 of National/Global Poetry Writing Month, and the prompt at napowrimo.net is to write a poem that deals with the poems, poets, and other people who inspired you to write poems. Long story, short – I started writing to sort through my emotions. However, I am inspired by Bashō.

The prompt for Poetics: Order, Order! from Laura at dVerse Poets Pub is to write a poem about your relationship with order. Simply put, we’re merely acquaintances.

I may have met both prompts.


I Can Actually Get Away with Calling This Poetry

Never, in the past ten years, have I had less enthusiasm for writing poetry than I have today. It’s not as simple as having a favorite poet that inspires me. I have never looked upon any one poet as a beacon, although I may have enjoyed or appreciated individual poems.

I have written to form, to many forms, but I find doing so to be constrictive. I prefer to write in free verse, but more about that in a minute. I may experiment in a form, but few impress me enough to stay with me. I can finish reading a poem before I realize it actually has meter. I may read a tritina and think I’ve never tried that form, only to check my poetic forms list to see that I have. When I do write to a form, it must work for me at that time, but, more often than not, writing that way feels contrived. Sometimes it’s, “Okay, I tried that. Time to move on.” Even when a form works for me, I don’t necessarily gravitate to it, with one exception.

Haiku. (And here I contradict myself and say that there is a poet, Bashō, who inspires me, from beginning to end.) Maybe it’s the simplicity. It’s like a thought fragment, so it may seem natural to me, considering I have ADD. Who knows, maybe that’s why authors don’t stick with me. Maybe it’s why I prefer writing in free verse. Maybe it’s why I’m hard to please. But, believe me, I have had poets impress me, please me to no end.

Sorting my emotions was what got me to start writing, in the first place. No one poem or person. As for free verse, maybe it’s my way of shrugging off the order that’s required to keep my mind on task, working in a straight line. I may do so more than I realize, but I try not to write in a narrative. Too often, I’ve read poetry that strikes me more as a story (like this?!), as a series of sentences with line breaks, relabeled as poetry. I’m sure that I’m guilty of the same. And, now that I’ve probably insulted every poet out there, I’m going to try to write some poetry.

troubled poet
in need of inspiration

58 thoughts on “I Can Actually Get Away with Calling This a Poem ~ haibun

  1. Sometimes committing to writing a poem a day taps out your natural flow of creativity. I find that writing 3 poems a week for d’Verse is more than enough for me to siphon off the backlog of words that collect in dark chambers within me. Prose can become free verse just by using line breaks, no sin in that. Often, I used to feel constricted writing to classic forms, but after years of doing it, I have borrowed much and reshaped my style several times .

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, I’m thinking too much about a-poem-a-day.
      And I understand about prose with line breaks. I’m getting better about acceptance. I know that my free verse could be seen the same way that I criticize.


  2. I understand the lack of focus. I have all this time and yet my productivity is some days almost invisible. How can I get lost in 2 rooms?.
    But you give yourself too little credit for the thoughtfulness and distillation in your writing, your close observation. You may have hit a temporary wall, but it won’t be there forever. Your photos contain poetry too. (K)

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I like free verse, too, and working with forms can be restrictive and contrived, I agree. However, I admire poets who can relay deep thoughts within formal conventions. Good training! Focus for me has been a challenge lately, as well. I feel I am mainly revising work rather than creating work due to my low moods in the face of the new coronavirus.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love your honesty! Honesty inspires others to be honest with themselves. Since the coronavirus I can write nothing but poetry. Some days 4 or 5. I can’t seem to write a complete sentence. I am stuttering through this virus. I also have ADD.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Being “ordered” (even though willingly) to write a poem a day for a month can be hit or miss. I’ve done it twice. The first time through it felt good to be pushed and getting good feedback. The second time it felt more contrived and the motivation wasn’t there as much. It’s like climbing Mt. Everest; once you’ve proven you can do it, do you need to prove it again? As NaPoWriMo this year is in the time of covid, again it can be hit or miss. Pouring concern, anxiety, compassion into poems for the time is a possibility. So is feeling drained and lackluster. Finally: tormented people tend to be more happy and productive pouring it out on the page. Happy people are living life not writing poems. Sorry for going on so long about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not long at all. Not nearly as long as my rant (which I now realize it is). Maybe I’ve reached a point of not needing to write something new every day.
      For myself, I know that “torment” provides fuel for poetry. While I’m concerned about the vulnerability of certain people right now, my emotions aren’t in turmoil, although Covid-19 has certainly been fodder for my poetry.
      One thing I do appreciate is prompts. They keep my wheels turning. But while I enjoy stumbling on poets who have responded to NaPoWriMo, I resent the time lost in not keeping up with those I follow regularly.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thoroughly enjoyed your rant (which btw qualifies as a prose poem) … can definitely identify with looking up a form I’ve never heard of to discover I have already experimented with it … I have great awe for poets who write to form. And now and then I enjoy playing with a form. But mostly – give me freedom to express w/o counting syllables or rhyming!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have never been fond of Haiku and similar forms of poetry, although I did use it in year 8 or 9 classes as a way of getting students to refine their thoughts and get to the point. In that they were helpful – but not for me. But I am old enough to find rhythm and metre addictive.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I too find the confines of rhyme and meter hard to fit in to most times but that is what drew me to Jennings – she does it so lightly and freely that perhaps it is just as freeing as free verse!
    thank you for joining in with the prompt – so freely!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I really appreciated this, Ken. I have a feeling that putting all this on the page (or screen) might have felt good to you, too. There are forms I like, and forms I don’t like as much, and there are times I like to write a particular form, and there are times I don’t. I ended-up with a haibun as well yesterday, but I couldn’t even think about the dVerse of NaPoWriMo prompts. I’ve been having a difficult time focusing lately, but sometimes the focusing on writing a poem helps.

    I think I’m guilty of the short story in verse form, as well–though I’m becoming better at distilling it. And perhaps sometimes it’s not a bad thing either–like a prose poem of sorts.
    I’m not a huge fan of haiku, but sometimes they do distill thoughts into crystalline images, and yours are often excellent (as are those haiku and tanka translations that you do!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Merril.
      A short story in verse form is fine. When I can read it and recognize its poetic nature, I’m satisfied. Quite often, when I read your verse I find myself reading between the lines. Reading a story and feeling like you are there is great, but reading poetry and finding those few words taking you somewhere is… well, poetry.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Made me laugh, as I just finished a flash fiction for purposeful practitioner prompt, thinking it was too much a poem and not enough a story! Good for me to read, as I am at the other end of spectrum, a beginner just learning from you guys there are different forms and metres. So maybe as I don’t worry of such things its easier for me? Can’t worry of what I don’t know about, likely torturing pitch perfectly tuned poets as I go.. But, well.. You have to be at some point in all the possible points, maybe switch a point if the old ones don’t work? Or don’t, it might be a phase.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s how you can tell it’s poetry and not prose–when you can put in the proper line breaks. It’s what makes Pynchon or Joyce novelists, and Mann, Morrison and Hemingway poets even when you think you’re reading a novel. It’s /all/ about the line breaks.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. A bunch of years ago I stared a new blog project. I’d been very impressed with “I Wrote This For You”, a blog pairing a poet and photographer. The photographer supplied black and white photos. The poet used those for poetic inspiration.

    Brilliant! I had plenty of photographs of my own. So, off I went with a new blog format.

    At the time I’d have called myself “a writer who pens the occasional poem”. Now, I suppose I have to go with “poet who pens the occasional short story or novel chapter”. I became freakin’ prolific. If I’m patient, and allow myself to sit with the image for a while — no need to squeeze the words out of it — the words come on their own. They always come.

    They may or may not be good, (btw: your haibun is perfectly good, and incisively insightful), but I’ve discovered I may or may not be the best judge of that. So I post them all. Let the words fall where they me.

    All of that’s a long-winded way of saying, ya did good. Keep at ‘er.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: Little More Than Words | rivrvlogr

  14. Thank you for visiting my blog and I’m glad you liked my attempts at Haiku. You say what I feel about free verse when you say it’s a serious of sentences with line breaks. I can’t help feeling it’s not poetry. Poetic, yes, but there has to be some structure in a poem–at least one of rhythm, rhyme or repetotion.

    Liked by 1 person

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