Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Books as poems

I finished the first draft of my next novel. I took a week off from writing and now I'm working on some random stuff in between. While riding the train tonight I decided to start writing some poetry. Japanese style.

Car comes roaring forth
Rebecca rescues the girl
The Knights keep them safe
Flee from the Thralls to China
Confrontation in Scottland

Those of you familiar with my first novel ("Sorceress' Blood") will probably find the narrative of this poem familiar. Yes, I've summarised my novel in a five line poem called a 'tanka'. Why? Because I can!

Then I did it again with a book I read recently called "Storm Front".

Dresden needs some cash
Corpses with exploded hearts
A missing husband
Shadowman sends a demon
Chicago needs a wizard

"Storm Front" is by Jim Butcher and is the first novel in the Dresden Files series of books (Named for the main character: Harry Dresden). And while I'm sure everybody knew about these books before me, just in case, you should go read them. They're very good.

Note that these are tanka and not haiku. A haiku is a very constrictive three line poem focused on imagery, nature and the seasons. I wrote one of them too:

Cool winds bring Autumn
My ruffled notebook pages
Scattering my thoughts

If your haiku doesn't include imagery, nature and the seasons then it's not a haiku. It's something else. A senryu or a tanka missing its tail. We need a name for tanka missing their tail. Any suggestions?

I'm not usually comfortable writing poetry. I don't consider myself a poet and I acknowledge I'm not very good at poetry. But it's always good to challenge yourself and work outside your comfort zone if only for a little while.

It's also fun to reduce the plots of books down to five lines of verse. Have a go at it and see what you come up with.

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