Dreaming Haiku

“The haiku captures a fleeting moment. Of great beauty, or heartbreak. A moment that, hmm,… encapsulates the essence of a season. Such as the fragrance of blossoming cherries, or the sound of snow, or the feel of hot summer wind blowing the bamboo.”

     Furuike ya

     Kawazu tobikomu

     Mizu no oto.

Then, a crude translation of the words alone:

     Old pond—

     Frog leaps in:

     Water noise!

She then re-shaped it to carry the classical haiku 5/7/5 arrangement into English:

     Dark, mossy old pond—

     Lively frog leaps from the bank:

     The sound of water.

Dreaming Haiku

Dreaming Haiku

Each chapter of Dreaming Spies begins with a haiku that has something to do with that chapter. I am no poet—the most I can claim is that they all fit the 5/7/5 format. But I like the idea of a short and intense piece of imagery that stays with the mind, and anyone who doesn’t care for haiku can easily let their eye go past the chapter head to the print below.

But, I wanted to do something more with the form. And I had been talking to Random House about doing something for Indie booksellers, and it occurred to me that I could justify this bit of fun with some illustrated haiku by telling myself it was For Them. So I wrote a new haiku couplet about the book itself rather than just a chapter. And I asked my artist friend Jean Lukens (more from her when we talk about the book’s map) to do me a color piece to frame a pair of haiku.

But I didn’t want to just put the bare, typed, English poems into the frame: I wanted Japanese. And fortunately, I had another friend…

(More about “Dreaming Haiku” later, but in the meantime, if you’d like to win one of the above posters, check out the Haiku contest here.)

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26 days until Dreaming Spies! Other posts about writing and researching the book can be seen here, or you can read a long excerpt here

You can pre-order a signed copy from Poisoned Pen Books or Bookshop Santa Cruz, and unsigned or e-books from IndiebooksAmazon/Kindle, or Barnes & Noble/Nook.

My upcoming events are here.

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  1. Patricia Foster on January 28, 2015 at 10:15 am

    Love the haiku & all haiku in general! It will be an fun extra while reading the new book- can’t wait!

  2. Mary Ann Martina on February 23, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    The haiku are wonderful; each is a perfect summary of the chapter. What I love is that they are more than just seventeen syllables; they are true to the spirit of haiku-a complete, unified thought. I don’t know how you do it. It reminded me of Annie Proulx’s marine knots as chapter headings in The Shipping News. Geniuses-both of you. O Jerusalem and Justice Hall have always been my favorites, and I think Dreaming Spies may join them. Thank you, Laurie.

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