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Parenting Haiku: Poetry for the Twitter Generation

“When I first tweeted Suburban Haiku,” says Peyton Price, “I was amazed at how many people asked, ‘Are you watching me?’”

Haiku — those 17-syllable nuggets of wisdom — are taking parenting social media by storm these days, it seems. I’m pretty sure the popularity lies in the fact that they only take a few seconds to read, and that’s about how much free time many parents have. It’s also the perfect form of poetry to fit into Twitter’s 140-character limit.

Writing them, however, isn’t always as easy as it seems. Poet Ryan Mecum wrote, “I’m a fan of haiku. I read a lot of them. I write a lot of them. At their worst, they are lame jokes in a forced 5/7/5 syllable structure. At their best, they are like photographs that uniquely and simply capture images of life.”

Mr. Mecum went on to say that mom and poet Peyton Price of Suburban Haiku has mastered the discipline.

“Peyton Price is a master at capturing images of contemporary American suburbia into haiku poems. She is easily one of my favorite contemporary haiku poets. I stumbled across her on Twitter and I’m always excited when I find a new haiku of hers has found its way into my Twitter feed. Like the best haiku writers before her, Price is able to pinpoint aspects of her culture that is instantly recognizable yet with a creative and clear voice. Some of her haiku are playful, some are poignant, but a surprising amount somehow share both these traits in their three lines and seventeen syllables.”

“I’m taking a snapshot of my family, but when you look at it, you see a snapshot of your family.”

Ms. Price, whose two sons are now 14 and 16, said she started writing haiku as a way to reclaim her brain when her children were small and life was harried.

“For me, counting out those 17 syllables meant ‘Hey, I’m still in here! I’m a creative, literate person,’” she said. “Distilling frustrating situations to their absurd essence helped me to focus on the humorous side of suburban life, while the occasional nature haiku helped me to see suburban beauty, rather than sprawl. So far, haiku has saved me from an extended stay at what ladies used to euphemistically call ‘the spa.’”

Pretty sure Ms. Price is talking about the place my friends at Rants from Mommyland refer to as “The Nervous Hospital” and on my blog I refer to as “Bonkersville Institute.”

I asked Ms. Price why she thinks haiku is having such a surge in popularity.

“Aside from the tweeting decline in the American attention span, wait, what was the question? Oh, right. The simplicity of haiku allows the reader to bring her own experience to the poem, which personalizes the meaning,” she said.  “I’m taking a snapshot of my family, but when you look at it, you see a snapshot of your family.”

Ms. Price is the author of six collections of poetry, all in haiku form, that detail the routines and ridiculousness of parenting. Her latest work, Suburban Haiku: Boys To Men, which is downloadable in e-book form, is by turns funny and sweet in capturing the moments of boys growing into young men.

Below, I’ve collected (with permission), some of my favorite haiku writers from the worlds of blog, Facebook, and Twitter. I got a little caught up in the haiku fun, and contributed a few of my own, as well.

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  • But I don’t want to share the double bed with my cousin! 1 of 14
    But I don't want to share the double bed with my cousin!
    You can follow writer Peyton Price at her blog, Suburban Haiku, on Facebook, and Twitter.
  • I shall call him Mini-Me 2 of 14
    I shall call him Mini-Me
    Follow New Dad Haiku on Twitter @NewDadHaiku.
  • This is why I just never clean my van 3 of 14
    This is why I just never clean my van
    Follow writer Leslie Grimmett at her blog, My Mommy's Place, on Facebook, and on Twitter.
  • It doesn’t take a rocket scientist 4 of 14
    It doesn't take a rocket scientist
    You can find me (Joslyn Gray) right here on Babble.com's Strollerderby and Babble Pets. Now with even more nonsense on Pinterest.
  • We’re getting there 5 of 14
    We're getting there
    You can find me (Joslyn Gray) right here on Babble.com's Strollerderby and Babble Pets. Now with even more nonsense on Pinterest.
  • I’m familiar with that particular mountain range 6 of 14
    I'm familiar with that particular mountain range
    You can follow writer Peyton Price at her blog, Suburban Haiku, on Facebook, and Twitter.
  • It’s. Right. There. 7 of 14
    It's. Right. There.
    You can find me (Joslyn Gray) right here on Babble.com's Strollerderby and Babble Pets. Now with even more nonsense on Pinterest.
  • I didn’t do it 8 of 14
    I didn't do it
    Follow writer Kari Anne Roy at her blog, Haiku of the Day (which isn't always haikus), and on Twitter @haikumama.
  • We’d have a better turnout 9 of 14
    We'd have a better turnout
    You can find me (Joslyn Gray) right here on Babble.com's Strollerderby and Babble Pets. Now with even more nonsense on Pinterest.
  • This is a good thing to learn early on 10 of 14
    This is a good thing to learn early on
    Follow New Dad Haiku on Twitter @NewDadHaiku.
  • Reeejected 11 of 14
    Reeejected
    Follow writer Ilan Speizer on his blog, Haiku Daddy.
  • Because I already paid for the lesson, that’s why 12 of 14
    Because I already paid for the lesson, that's why
    You can follow writer Peyton Price at her blog, Suburban Haiku, on Facebook, and Twitter.
  • Pretty sure this means me 13 of 14
    Pretty sure this means me
    You can follow writer Peyton Price at her blog, Suburban Haiku, on Facebook, and Twitter.
  • I thought it was crack 14 of 14
    I thought it was crack
    Follow writer Kari Anne Roy at her blog, Haiku of the Day (which isn't always haikus), and on Twitter @haikumama.

(Photo Credit: Suburban Haiku)

Read more from Joslyn at Babble Pets and at her blog, stark. raving. mad. mommy. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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