“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.’”
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.
(Photo Credit: Suburban Haiku)
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