Saturday, April 14, 2012

National Poetry Month

 This post will also be found in Tehachapi's The Loop Newspaper.  

I have written poetry for many years. I have at least one that I wrote back in 1978. A fairly sappy thing called “The Unicorn”. At some point I'm going to have to bring myself to share it with people again. 

But my more recent stuff has been doing fairly well. I've had poems accepted into a couple local anthologies and one specialized poetry magazine (nature poetry). But I'm still working on breaking in to the more widely distributed journals. Not that there's any money to be made on poetry. Or at least I haven't figured out how to make any money with it yet.

So April is National Poetry Month. And while Tehachapi has many good poets, I don't really know of any special activities going on in town for Poetry Month. Though Bakersfield is having several. They have a Facebook page for their events that you can check out at

Though if you want to celebrate National Poetry Month here in Tehachapi, poets are welcome at the Open Mic at Fiddler's Crossing on Wednesday Nights at 7:00 pm ($5 which includes coffee and snacks). So you could bring some of your own to read to the audience. Or you could bring examples of some of your favorite poets' works. Or even just come out and appreciate some poetry (and good music).

And if those don't options don't appeal to you, how about writing a poem yourself? Let's take one particular type. The haiku. A haiku is based on a Japanese form of poetry. The standard form is to say it is a three line poem, where the first line has five syllables, the second seven and the last five. 

If you don't remember what a syllable is, these are the different sounds that go into making a word. For example, the word Te-Hach-A-Pi has four sounds, or four syllables. And a haiku is not required to rhyme. There are additional “rules” that apply if you're going to write a classical Japanese haiku, but for most American haiku, 5-7-5 is all you need to know.

So let me try to write one here. Since it's Spring I'll try to fit that in. What do I associate with Spring? Wildflowers. (Three syllables.) Which are abundant along the drive to Bakersfield. So I'll use the phrase “Tehachapi Pass” (five syllables) as my final line. And the flowers are almost painted on the landscape, so I'll use that metaphor. (Metaphor if you recall is just an image term to describe something.) So here is my quick haiku.

Pretty wildflowers 
painted over spring green hills 
Tehachapi pass.

Maybe not my best work, but you get the idea. Now I hope that some of you take this challenge and write a poem. If you do, please share them. Post it as a comment here on my blog. 

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