A dose of fetish. Good friends. An incomparable muse.
Most of us have heard of the honourable tanka and the esteemed haiku. They are two forms of poetry which have developed in Japan over the centuries to become a refined form of art. Concise, precise, with its kigo and kireji (the so-called a-ha or cutting word) … its specular aspect, no more than a certain number of syllables or sounds … it’s root usually found in nature. Ah … but then, there’s the senryu and the kyoka, the black sheep of the family.
Senryu isn’t considered an art form in Japan .. if you go to study Japanese poetry in a Japan University, you’ll find the senryu was/is at best scorned as an inferior medium … used in bar game perhaps … vulgar and certainly not worthy of being written by a haiku poet. The same can be said about kyoka .. a bawdy satirical form of “waka” or tanka that has nearly died out in its mother land thanks to an edict prohibiting the use of kyoka by the nobel classes about three hundred (more or less) years ago, by the then Shogun.
So … today I’ll concentrate on the senryu. Physically as a form it’s totally similar to a haiku. The same syllable count (if you follow classical haiku) or no more than 17 syllables (sometimes a poet will use a kigo, or a kireji just to muddy the waters) what’s different is the subject matter. The senyru is ironical, satirical it can be about harsh realities, not necessarily light humour in fact it can be very serious and have for its theme rape, war or the horror of famine.
“Senryu is a Japanese form of short poetry similar to haiku in construction: three lines with 17 or fewer morae (or on) in total. However, senryu tend to be about human foibles while haiku tend to be about nature, and senryu are often cynical or darkly humorous while haiku are more serious. Unlike haiku, senryu do not include a kireji or verbal caesura (cutting word), and do not generally include a kigo, or seasonal word.
It is often said that both haiku and senryu can be funny, but that if it’s funny, it’s probably senryu. Both haiku and senryu can be about nature, but if it’s about nature, it’s probably a haiku. In addition, both haiku and senryu can be about nature or human nature. Both haiku and senryu can be serious or humorous/satirical. A serious poem about nature is certainly a haiku. And a funny/satirical poem about human nature is certainly a senryu.”
On the site of Akita International Haiku Network I found many interesting examples of senryu for us to try to inspire ourselves, I’ve chosen a few by Kala Ramesh who is a poet from India; she writes haiku, tanka, haibun, senryu and renku.
she asks if her rag doll
can stay up late
senior citizen’s club
women with hair in all colors
coffee lounge . . .
we act out each other’s
Saturday night dinner
the guests all-consumed
with their own stories
as usual he remembers it
after I begin to sulk
© Kala Ramesh
And now for some inspiration
You might want to use some other font of inspiration … a newspaper article, a video clip, maybe your own photography or art work …. once you’ve written either you senryu or shadorma or a combination of the two please link to Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie and B&P Shadorma & Beyond then add your link to the Mr. Linky app below. Oh, and don’t forget to have fun! Ciao, Bastet