Bill Waters ~~ Haiku

Haiku + Tanka, Haibun, Rengay, & More

Archive for the tag “tanka”

HNA ’17: freebies

With the Haiku North America 2017 conference fast approaching, Jessica Tremblay — author of Old Pond Comics and official cartoonist-in-residence at HNA ’15 — has been blogging about freebies:

A freebie is a promotional item you give to attendees at a conference. A freebie can take different forms: bookmarks, leaflets, postcards, 3D objects.

Whether you want to promote a book, a blog, a website, etc. or simply share some of your poems with like-minded enthusiasts, a freebie is a great way to do it.  :- )

A few years ago, I designed and printed up a postcard and a pair of “business cards” online at Vistaprint.com to raise awareness of my haiku Twitter stream, Twitter.com/Bill312:

Haiku Freebies

Haiku freebies: a postcard and two “business cards”.

I’ve never been to a haiku conference, so I’ve given the postcard to people generally as a thank you for their interest in my work, while I’ve used the biz cards to direct people to my Twitter stream — either in person or as a leave-behind.

My “Tanka in a Bottle” project could easily be adapted for use as a freebie, too.  :- )

One day I may attend Haiku North America…and if I do, I’ll be sure to bring along some freebies!  ;- )


For more on haiku freebies, please take a look at these posts by Jessica Tremblay:

Freebie: an introduction“; “Bookmarks: design tips and examples for haiku poets“; “Choose your conference freebie carefully“; “Promote your poetry with a beautiful postcard“; and “Why trifolds are one of the best freebies to give away at haiku conferences“.

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“Tanka in a Bottle” at?…

Earlier this year I completed my first installation of Haiku in the Wild, two dozen wooden haiku mobiles hung on trees and shrubs at a Pennsylvania alpaca and llama farm. This was my first attempt to bring poetry into a (semi-)public place to intrigue people who are accustomed to seeing poems only in books. (For photos, check out my previous post “Haiku in the Wild” at Llamapaloosa 2017.)

In an effort to bring a little bit more poetry to people in public places, I’m currently working on what I call my Tanka in a Bottle project. Each little bottle will contain a pair of tanka — one by me, and one by my friend and talented U.K. poet Caroline Skanne — and a blurb about the Poetry in Public Places Project, a Facebook / real-world group I started in 2016 to create and promote poetry placed in urban and natural landscapes. In total, each batch of 10 bottles will showcase 20 different tanka.

Here’s what these tanka bottles look like:

Tanka in a Bottle (Prototype 2): Components

Tanka in a Bottle (prototype 2): components.

Tanka in a Bottle (Prototype 2): Assembled

Tanka in a Bottle (prototype 2): assembled.

I’m thinking of hanging these bottles in trees at a local park for people to discover and take with them. (Will they be noticeable enough? Will they withstand wind and weather? Will wildlife disturb them?)

Where else should I place “bottled tanka”? I’d love to hear your thoughts!  :- D


The multitalented Caroline Skanne is a poet (@CarolineSkanne), the founding editor of Hedgerow: A Journal of Small Poems (@hedgerowpoems & hedgerowpoems.wordpress.com), and the founding publisher of Wildflower Poetry Press (@wildflowerpoemswildflowerpoetrypress.wordpress.com).

To learn more about the Poetry in Public Places Project, please stop by www.facebook.com/groups/PoetryInPublicPlacesProject/.

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Four tanka

sipping my coffee —
shop awnings
striped and stippled
with sun and shade
up and down the avenue

cloudy blue sky
painted on the brick wall . . .
at each level
of the fire escape
a pot of red geraniums

tucked beneath
an overpass:
tangle of bittersweet
and a cardboard hovel
that someone calls home

almost dawn . . .
night packs its bags
catches a cab
and heads for the station
as day comes in the door


Published in the anthology Neon Graffiti: Tanka Poetry of Urban Life, November 2016.

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One blossom left

one blossom left

on the orchid stem —

one last blossom

yet to fall

as summer wanes

*    *    *    *

How much time?

it ticks by

in the sound

of the oxygen machine . . .

how much time

remains?


Published in the fall 2015 edition of Ribbons, the journal of the Tanka Society of America.

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Petal by petal

petal by petal

this withered tulip . . .

I too let fall

some of the things

that no longer matter


Published in the spring/summer edition of Ribbons, the journal of the Tanka Society of America, July 2015.

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Finches at the feeder

finches at the feeder

behind the back

of the sleeping cat . . .

what goes on

behind mine?


Published in American Tanka (http://www.americantanka.com/june-2015-issue-25/bill-waters/), 6/26/15.

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Peeled paint

peeled paint . . .

the gray wood

underneath

and a carved heart

long-hidden


Published in Ribbons, the journal of the Tanka Society of America, 3/20/15.

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The pond is alive

the pond is alive

with a school of carp!

like children

we point and ask

each other questions

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The wabi-sabi aesthetic

An understanding of wabi and sabi are essential to appreciating the Japanese aesthetics that underlie haiku and tanka. I once read a definition that boiled these concepts down to a mere 5 words each:

  • Wabi: the beauty of imperfection
  • Sabi: the beauty of impermanence

These definitions are a useful shorthand because they cut through the metaphysical “clutter”.

Not all complexity is clutter, though. For a more nuanced description of these terms, I offer the following passage from a charming little book called Wabi Sabi: The Art of Everyday Life, by Diane Durston:

Wabi has been defined variously in English as: tranquil simplicity; austere elegance; unpolished, imperfect, or irregular beauty; rusticity; things in their simplest, most austere, and natural state; a serene, transcendental state of mind.

Likewise, sabi has been interpreted as the beauty that treasures the passage of time, and with it the lonely sense of impermanence it evokes. It has also been defined as the patina that age bestows, or as that which is true to the natural cycle of birth and death. (Preface, page xi.)

Writers more experienced than me can be quite decisive about what has wabi-sabi and what doesn’t. Me? Even with these excellent definitions, I’m not 100% sure, so I tend to look for wabi-sabi in everything. I may not find it, but I start from the position that it may be there, if only I study an object with enough thought and insight.

 

wabi? sabi?

I scratch my head

and eat some wasabi

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