Another dream-wracked amnion

Posted by Rich Magahiz Sat, 08 Mar 2008 14:29:00 GMT

cleft
deeply the seamounts
of Algaetopia
Q
So this is what you call a scifaiku, then? What’s the deal with the syllables, though?
A
You mean about how it isn’t a 5-7-5 count?
Q
Right, how is is supposed to be anything like a haiku if it comes out as 1-5-6?
A
It’s in English.
Q
Yeah, so?
A
Not Japanese. Where they count on, not the kind of syllables we have in English. To me, 17 English syllables feels a lot longer than your average Japanese haiku. (Archive)
Q
So you don’t care about the syllable count?
A
Actually, I do. In scifaiku and haiku, I usually write either three-line poems in twelve English syllables, or one-liners in nine syllables, to approximate the quantity in the Japanese verse.
Q
Okay, so it’s twelve syllables about science fiction then. Or nine.
A
Well, yes, but not exactly. The way I see the form, there are a few other features that I like to see in a scifaiku, besides the brevity and the subject matter.
Q
Namely…
A
A title. A pause between the two parts of the poem. Some sense of immediacy is nice, along with a tendency to suggest rather than state everything outright. And if you can work in an allusion to poetry or something else, that can be nice too, and similar to what was common practice among haiku and renga writers in Japan.
Q
You’ve got to be kidding. How can you get all that into twelve syllables, plus have it talk about some science fictional thing?
A
Well, I didn’t say it was going to be easy.
Q
I’ve got to work this out a little. Undersea mountains, a title that might have a pun in it, some vaguely sexual language, a break right there in the middle of the second line — and did you just make up that crazy name?
A
Hey, just Google it.
The first in a projected series of discussions on poetry.

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