Saturday, January 22, 2011

Forest Ginko with Lysenko

Yesterday I went on a forest ginko. It was my first ginko with Myron Lysenko - I'd been trying to get to one and failing either through illness, busyness or clashing commitments, but yesterday's was around our part of the world so I knew I had to go.

It was fabulous! A group of us met at Earthly Pleasures - where we wrote haiku and Myron critted them and told us the rules for this particular ginko as well as some useful reminders about what haiku were about. Then we headed up to Grant's picnic ground where we all took it in turns to read summer haiku from The British Museum Haiku. After these rather awe-inspiring examples we ventured into the forest to write.

On one path I was on, a small wren started calling from one of the tree ferns. I love wrens and always look for them. So I was particularly delighted that this one was so close to where I was sitting.

Then, a couple with a squeaky stroller wandered past and the wren stopped instantly.

I'm posting all the revisions of this haiku to demonstrate both the writing process and the editing process - it's amazing the revisions one tiny poem went through!

couple wheeling a stroller -
squeaky toy
the wren is silent

I edited this myself to:
couple wheeling a stroller -
in the ferns
the wren is silent

By the time we sat down at Grant's cafe this had become:
A couple wheel a stroller
along the fern path -
the wren is silent

After Myron questioning me about the experience that had lead to the haiku I suggested:
a couple wheel a stroller
along the fern path -
the wren falls silent

I had a sense that Myron thought falls was a little too poetic for a haiku, but I didn't mind it. However he did point out that there was a lot happening in the one haiku.

There were some further questions - not by Myron but other members of the ginko and I came up with
A couple wheel a stroller -
the wren stops calling.

which became:

the wren stops calling -
a couple wheels a stroller

But I didn't really want to lose the ferns so the seventh draft read:
the wren stops calling -
a couple wheel a stroller
through the ferns

Finally someone said something like, 'I don't get what actually happened.' and I said, 'Well there was this couple wheeling squeaky stroller along the path and this little wren stopped calling.'

Myron said, 'Why don't you just write that?'

Final version:
(and eighth draft!)
the wren stops calling -
a stroller squeaks
through the ferns

It was a great afternoon - good company, generous workshopping, and the afternoon was both inspiring and productive.


Jo said...

And the final version is excellent!

Cattyrox said...

Thanks Jo!