On Friday, I ran a workshop to teach some of my colleagues how to write haiku (a haijin is a haiku poet).
Many pleasant surprises: the number of people (I suspect they were press-ganged), the willingness of all participants to try, the way in which they critiqued their own poetry and sought feedback and suggestion, but most of all the fact that every single person added to the renga, a series in which each verse is inspired by the previous one, and everyone gets a turn – the ping-pong programming of poetry.
I did expect that everyone would end up producing something unique and beautiful, but it’s always nice to be proved right.
Fantastically, three of the participants said that they would indeed go away and practice reading and writing haiku in order to improve their vocabulary, fluency, non-procedural thinking, communication, concision, imagery… well, my conclusion for the session is that while there’s no single skill which the art of haiku can teach, there’s a wide range which can be improved. Everyone had fun. Most found it useful. I count that a success. Now I can relax again, until the next time.