Lin's Senryu

#1880 winner of manner poetry contest

I’m a beginner at Senryu and in addition to Margaret’s great links, found this link helpful: Haiku or Senryu? How to Tell the Difference.
I followed the syllable count but switched the lines. Here’s my first stab at it:

 

Hot packed waiting room

Doctor gives bad news

How lovely is the sunshine

Lin’s Senryu

#1880 winner of manner poetry contest

I’m a beginner at Senryu and in addition to Margaret’s great links, found this link helpful: Haiku or Senryu? How to Tell the Difference.
I followed the syllable count but switched the lines. Here’s my first stab at it:

 

Hot packed waiting room

Doctor gives bad news

How lovely is the sunshine

Margaret’s Senryu

My Senryu, and fun with GIMP.

I’ve been having a blast lately playing with the color manipulation functions with GIMP, though I have yet to read the book I bought that goes through all the features. Consequently, I have a nice directory full of road photos, a great many of which I’ve played with using GIMP.

Last night Michele emailed me and asked me if I could take today’s blog post and create a Senryu. So I grabbed an image from my Pictures directory and wrote about it.

Night Road

Night Road, photo by me, digital manipulation courtesy of GIMP

Psychedelic sky

Dream made visible

Night Road, photo by me, digital manipulation courtesy of GIMP

Margaret's Senryu

My Senryu, and fun with GIMP.

I’ve been having a blast lately playing with the color manipulation functions with GIMP, though I have yet to read the book I bought that goes through all the features. Consequently, I have a nice directory full of road photos, a great many of which I’ve played with using GIMP.

Last night Michele emailed me and asked me if I could take today’s blog post and create a Senryu. So I grabbed an image from my Pictures directory and wrote about it.

Night Road

Night Road, photo by me, digital manipulation courtesy of GIMP

Psychedelic sky

Dream made visible

Night Road, photo by me, digital manipulation courtesy of GIMP

Make Visible: Focus on Form: Senryu

Welcome to Focus on Form. For the next three weeks, we poets will be writing a poem in the same form and sharing it here on the blog.

My first experience with Senryu poetry was when I posted what I thought was a Haiku and was told it was Senryu instead.  It’s a Senryu because it includes a man-made object (my glasses), even though it’s about the weather; and also because of its sarcastic tone.

Untitled

The June rain
Leaves drops on my glasses
I can’t see summer from here.

June 7, 2008
© 2008 Anne Westlund

 

Senryū (川柳?, literally ‘river willow’) is a Japanese form of short poetry similar to haiku in construction: three lines with 17 or fewer total morae (or “on“, often translated as syllables, but see the article on onji for distinctions). Senryū tend to be about human foibles while haiku tend to be about nature, and senryū are often cynical or darkly humorous while haiku are more serious. Unlike haiku, senryū do not include a kireji (cutting word), and do not generally include a kigo, or season word.

Senryū is named after Edo period haikai poet Senryū Karai (柄井川柳, 1718-1790), whose collection Haifūyanagidaru (誹風柳多留?) launched the genre into the public consciousness. A typical example from the collection:

泥棒を dorobō wo

捕えてみれば toraete mireba

我が子なり wagako nari

The robber,

when I catch,

my own son

(Excerpted from Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senryu)

The first step to writing Senryu poems is to think of a theme and what message is to be conveyed. Taking ideas from family life and experiences with friends and coworkers is a good place to start.

Once the theme is established, the next step is to begin jotting down ideas and phrases.  Build on those ideas until they form three lines and add up to 17 syllables or less. Senryu poetry seems easy to write but in actuality it is not easy to convey a complete message in three short lines.

The first line should set up the setting, and the subject should be the focus of the second line; the third line should use action to sum up the poem. This is a simple way to approach writing Senryu. With more practice and reading examples the writing process will become more natural.

One thing to remember when writing this form of poetry is that it is not complex. Senryu uses simple language and incorporates humor.  Here are a few more examples written by modern poets:

As if it were spring
the green mold
on the cheese

© Garry Gay

rush hour-
the blonde in the Porsche peels
an orange

©Robert Bauer

(excerpted from How To Write Senryu Poetry by Sarah Carter, http://www.howtodothings.com/hobbies/how-to-write-senryu-poetry)

Give it a try!  I can’t wait to see what the rest of the Poetic Muselings come up with.

“Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.”~Robert Bresson, French Film Director

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