Walking Haiku

Walking Haiku

A Poetry Prompt from Lee Briccetti

I like to walk around my neighborhood in the early mornings with a little notebook, writing a few haiku about what I notice. Like visual artists’ quick sketching, the challenge is to look, focus, wake up. To look at the material world, which is always surprising; to extrapolate to a bigger idea; to get it all into a few syllables. Counting syllables—even though haiku purists say the 5, 7, 5 count is bunk—is indispensable to me. Consider, condense, look again. What is the Niedecker poem?

Poet’s Work

   advised me:
      Learn a trade

I learned
  to sit at desk
    and condense

No layoff
  from this

Niedecker is the prod. But here is the prompt: Go for a walk. Look. Write a haiku based on what you see. Go for a walk in the same place the next day. Write a haiku. Do this for seven days. Report back to yourself with seven sections taken from your haikus. Extrapolate, if necessary. (Stop for a cup of coffee along the way.)

Read Sara London’s interview with Lee Briccetti in Poetry Central.

*Source: Lorine Niedecker (1903-1970), “Poets Work,” from Collected Works, edited by JennyPenberthy; University of California Press, 2004.

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