Poet Commentaries

April 20th


Show and Tell

Many desktop haiku will come from one moment, one understanding.

the birds sing
sometimes I listen
to the whole song

Ah ha but that is not what i saw.  This was worked out from internal ponderings on poetry, wrestling with the concept of “show” not “tell”.  It is a desktop haiku. (to my credit when this came I did listen to the birds longer but they are still not done as I write.)

So I now tell where the ponderings came from.  They arose from dissatisfaction with this poem….(which is a start on my future “slam poem”)

No Pants

I did not like how much “telling” was in this poem and envied poets that could write this better and “show” me.  That’s it.  I know showing is critical and very difficult.  How easy it is to drift to telling.  I am a bit fearful of making this statement and feedback is welcome but telling is what good poets do.  The reader should just not know it.

That latter was a poem crammed full of techniques learned in part from reading and studying haiku. What follows are a chain of haiku that show the problem…

show and tell
the heavy backpack
not large enough

she shows
children on edge of seats
rising for their turn

she skips home
catching butterflies
for next week

thunder and lightning
over the horizon
a sunny morning

If more is written that would be telling wouldn’t it.

NaPoMo Journal 2017

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