While many poetry collections include a variety of forms, I am somewhat partial to those that focus on a particular form. There are several wonderful titles written entirely in haiku.
Black Swan/White Crow, written by J. Patrick Lewis and illustrated by Christopher Manson, is a collection of 13 poems accompanied by woodcut illustrations. The words and images are spare and beautiful, fully complementing each other. In the introduction, Lewis describes the form and encourages readers to write their own haiku.
To write a haiku, you might go for a walk in a city park, a meadow, the zoo. Put all your senses on full alert. Watch. Listen. Imagine that what you are seeing or smelling or hearing has never been seen, smelled, or heard before--and may never be again. Now take a picture of it--but only with your words.I've always loved that last line. Here's one of the haiku I still think about, especially when I'm at the beach.
The best haiku make you think and wonder for a longer than it takes to say them.
Hands-down my favorite work of Jack Prelutsky's is If Not For the Cat, illustrated by Ted Rand. The seventeen haiku in this book encourage readers to see animals in new ways. Without sharing the illustrations these can be read as "Who am I?" poems. Can you guess which animals are described in these two poems?
high tides erasing
Poem ©J. Patrick Lewis. All rights reserved.
The Cuckoo's Haiku: and Other Birding Poems, written by Michael J. Rosen and illustrated by Stan Fellows, uses haiku to introduce a range of birds by season. Looking much like a field journal, this beautifully written and constructed volume introduces readers to more than 20 common American birds. Here are two of my favorite poems. (Please note that the poems in the book are not titled. I have highlighted them this way only as a means of organization.)
With nothing at all to say,
I can't stop talking.
Wingless we went in,
But we emerged as fliers--
And oh, such colors!
Poems ©Jack Prelutsky. All rights reserved.
Spring - Eastern Bluebird
on a staff of wires
blue notes inked from April skies
truly, spring's first song
Summer - Northern Mockingbird
the one-man bird band:
diva, choir, and orchestra
Poems ©Michael Rosen. All rights reserved.
I've mentioned some lovely haiku poetry books in other posts this month. Here's where you'll find them.
- Today and Today, poems by Issa and illustrated by G. Brian Karas, in the post The Trip Around the Sun
- One Leaf Rides the Wind, written by Celeste Davidson Mannis and illustrated by Susan Kathleen Hartung, in the post Math and Poetry
- Dogku, written by Andrew Clements and illustrated by Tim Bowers, in the post Gone to the Dogs
- Yum! ¡Mmmm! ¡Qué Rico!: America's Sproutings, written by Pat Mora and illustrated by Rafael López, in the post Food, Glorious Food!.
- Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku, written by Lee Wardlaw and illustrated by Eugene Yelchin, in the post Feline Felicity.
- Scholastic has a lesson entitled What is Haiku? that includes a downloadable page.
- Try this four-week writing workshop entitled Planning, Writing, and Animating a Haiku.
- For something technology-based, have students create an illustration in the Japanese Scroll Kerpoof scene and write two haiku based on the scene. Here's the lesson plan to guide you.
- ReadWriteThink has a few lesson plans on haiku and poetic forms.
- Seasonal Haiku: Writing Poems to Celebrate Any Season
- Reading, Writing, Haiku Hiking! A Class Book of Picturesque Poems
- Compiling Poetry Collections and a Working Definition of Poetry
- Download this haiku starter to help your students organize their thoughts.
- The lesson Using the Haiku Eye is for older students and is based primarily on reading The Narrow Road to Oku (also known as The Narrow Road to the Far North) by Matsuo Basho. It does have some terrific examples and a nice project idea.
- PBS has a kid-friendly page of poetic forms and examples.
- The resource Haiku-Poetry of the Samurai Warrior provides a few lessons and reproducibles for studying haiku.
- Diane Mayr of Random Noodling wrote a provocative and insightful post a while back entitled What is Haiku? And Who Decides on the Definition? that will definitely get you thinking.