“A poem does not emerge off of a feeling alone. It is instead created when tension that is felt releases a stirring of words and images and this kind of creativity could bring a sufferer from their grief.”
It never crossed my mind that black folks too, can write horror or science fiction. I knew we could write and that we are creative but I never really seen us in horror flicks unless we were dying after ten minutes of screen time, and the books I read in the genre did not have a black cast-at all. Pike and Stine are amazing writers, but where were all the black writers?
So around 2008(?), a kind librarian asked me if I have read Fledgling by Octavia Butler. I shook my head “no”. She pulled the book from the shelf and handed it to me. A white girl with red hair who knew more about black authors than I…
Ever since then, I became an Octavia Butler fan.
I read Fledgling and wanted more of her works. A black science fiction author- amazing! I filled up my days taking the bus to the nearest library, toting my blue Avon bag and once I checked out her books I’d place them in the bag and head back home happy.
I began with reading the Parable of the Sower series, Xenogenesis and I ordered Lilith’s Brood online. Amazing stuff since, finally the protagonist were black women trapped in new worlds and had powers. I needed much more…
Tananarive Due and her My Soul to Keep books kept me up at night and I eventually read Devil’s Wake and am currently reading one of her earlier books, The Between. Tananarive Due has a way of writing that steals your attention.
If you are seeking writers in the area of horror/speculative/science-fiction and fantasy, all you have to do is look or check out the links in this post which will eventually lead you to new black writers in the genre.
Thanks for reading and check back later for more exciting reviews within The Chocolate Reading Experience!
Thank you everyone for your participation in the Haiku Challenges. I had fun reading your comments and posting information.
The theme of February will be on love of the chocolate variety. That’s right! I have been reading and reviewing magnificent books by African American writers and many of their books receive high praises!
African Americans are writing books and finding success in many genres:
Urban-the infamous “street” fiction!
If you are trying seek out books that have more action, more HOT romance, and finally books that will educate and uplift, then stay tuned because I will hook you up with information on books that are scrumptiously good and then some!
Drop your comments below, like and share if you are as excited as I am!
Is it the constricting 17 syllables that’s hard for me?
The brevity of it all?
Finding the Kigo and Kireji?…No way.
The hardest part of writing a haiku, for me, is that freaking Ah-ha moment. The part where you feel as if you slipped on ice at the edge of a cliff and is thrown off into space for that fleeting moment.
Yeah. That part. Typically the very last part.
Let’s look at it further using examples and information from haiku experts- shall we?
“[the Ah Ha moment] is a very short, fleeting moment,a glimpse of ‘world harmony’…or a moment of awakeness that can be viewed like laughter. Not exactly a Zen moment because with haiku you observe things a priori- just as they are.”
Haiku of the ancients adhered to the 17 syllables with the “seasonal word” or kigo and the “cutting word” or kireji. With those three things in place and in balance, you have a pretty decent haiku.
Alright, so now we know that haiku is built off of straight up observation. No additional opinions or abstractions.
Ezra and a Pound of Haiku Spirit
Here’s one of my favorites by Ezra Pound, “Station at the Metro”
“The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.”
This was once a 30-line poem but Pound shortened it to two lines. Two!
Now, even though it is longer than 17 syllables, the spirit of haiku is still there. Let’s find our ah-ha moment by scaling down each part of a haiku, shall we?
Is there a kigo or seasonal word? If I were to guess, it would be apparent that it is rainy or perhaps Spring because of the words “wet, black bough”. I picture rain falling heavy outside while people are at the metro holding umbrellas, rushing though the pelts of water.
Is there a kireji or cutting word? A kireji is indicated usually by punctuation in English haiku so I would say the semicolonafter crowd would suffice.(please post your comments below if you found something different. I love learning from others!)
A Moment of Clarity…or Something Like It
Lastly where is the ah-ha moment? Do you see it anywhere?
When I first read this poem, the part that threw me and made me say, “Yes! This is beautiful!
It was the last line: “Petals on a wet, black bough”. It kind of cinches the deal right? It paints an even clearer picture. Just like Basho’s Frog in a pond poem– the part that says “And the sound of water” at the ending is just so freaking awesome.
How does one get an ah-ha moment?
No one can teach you how. But if you read enough ancient haiku you will see it and can incorporate it in your own poems. One piece of advice? Meditate often. I hear that it helps too with writing haiku.
Well, that’s it folks. I really enjoyed the five weeks of haiku with you and please visit the Haiku Challenge link above to go through the challenges/lessons. Share your poetry and comments and share the blog posts with your followers.
There are probably a few things you’ve noticed. First, there is no 5-7-5 syllabic form here. However, in Japanese it is close to it.
Second, check out the final line in the first part. Socho asks: Why this discontent?
Interesting, because the first half of the poem is an internal dialogue about the one the speaker already loves. They ask, “why am I falling in love when I have you?” Then the kicker: Why do I feel discontent (or worried?) He/she wonders what is causing this feeling?
Is the speaker really falling for someone else? or hopefully he/she is falling in love all over again with their significant other(fat chance).
The second half gives us more insight. The speaker realizes what they have at home and concludes that no one else holds their love.
This illustrates how powerful a haiku can be with only a few lines. In such a brief moment, we capture the confusion, the awe and the relate-ability of someone who has enduring love for another.
Even though temptation waits on the horizon.
In the next post, I want to delve more into the anatomy of a haiku including the infamous ah-ha moments and why it is difficult for me to write my own haikus without much practice.