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Techniques of Japanese Poetry
To start off, you need to know what the basic layout for a Haiku is. A Haiku has at least 17 syllables with 3 lines. The order of the syllables is 5,7,5. When getting ready to write your Haiku, you should brainstorm some ideas. Be sure to choose something simple and not too complicated. When choosing a theme for your Haiku, make sure to choose something people already know about and then provide them a way to look at familiar situations and experiences in a different way. It may be helpful to look around at your surroundings to choose a topic. Specifically, when writing my Haiku, "Fallen," I got my idea from just looking out my window and seeing the leaves on the ground.
The basic technique of writing a Tanka poem is that it has 31 syllables with 5 lines. The order of the syllables are 5,7,5,7,7. This is how people in America write Tanka poetry; however, in Japan it would be written in one straight line. When reading aloud this type of poetry, you need two people. One person reads the first verse and the other reads the next. A well written Tanka usually consists of one theme that describes a general idea throughout the whole poem. When writing my Tanka poem called "Morning," I thought about what I do daily to come up with my idea. Thinking about your daily life and your experiences might help you come up with a theme of your own.
Another type of Japanese poetry is Renga. The Renga has the same format as the Japanese Tanka. Renga poems can have as many verses as you want. Each verse has 31 syllables with 5 lines. The syllables per line are 5,7,5,7,7. It's practically the same as the Tanka, except for the fact that the Renga is like a competition. There are two poets, one takes the first two lines, and the other takes the last three lines. The way the challenge starts is the first poet composes the first two lines in a way that makes it difficult for the other poet. They have to be clever in order to add on to the first two lines. When Samantha and I composed "The Crush", she was responsible for writing the first two lines of the verse and I wrote the last three lines. This format continued until we had completed our Renga. It was challenging to think of the next three lines to add to the previous two lines Samantha had written. First, I thought of a line that would flow with what Samantha had written. Then I had to make sure I had the accurate amount of syllables that followed the 5,7,5,7,7 pattern.
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