About the Blog

I’m writing Haiku Plate Special to fulfill my daily commitment to friends who have also taken up the challenge to write a daily haiku for 2013. I’ve called it Haiku Plate Special because I believe that poetry is for the people and haiku should be no more mystical than anything else. I started the year generally sticking to the 5-7-5 format, although I’ve realized that rigid syllable counts work better for haiku in Japanese, so I’ve broken free of that. Some of what I will post will be more about human nature than the physical world around us–technically those are called senryu, but I’m going to count them. These little poems will be about brief moments, and since I live in Seattle they may be more urban than other haiku you’ve met. We all observe our own environments. Please consider taking up the challenge, and if you’d like to join me, post your own haiku in the comments. If you click on the titles you’ll find buttons to like and share this page. I also just joined Twitter @CathyTenzo and made a public page on Facebook for Cathy Tenzo if you want to keep up with all my writing and/or interact in an additional way.

About the Author

Cathy Tenzo is a professional writer, artist, and devoted seeker of joy. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in many places, including Asimov’s Science Fiction, Tales of the Unanticipated, Mythic Delirium, and Double Dare Press. She is also a performance poet who belongs to the Lady Poetesses from Hell, and the Ladies have recently released their first book of poetry. Her blog about joy is called Yay! Pigeons, and her blog about Shakespeare and other geekery is called License of Ink. You can check them out by following the tabs on the main menu. She works as a writer at her own businesses called Paper Bullets Press and Maypole Memoirs. Check them out and spread the word. You can also see her public LinkedIn profile by clicking the badge on this site. Since she often ghost writes you may have read some of her work without even knowing it. In the past she has sometimes written under the name of Cathy Tacinelli, so if you want to google her, google that, too. She hopes you will try your own hand at writing haiku and share the results on this blog.


18 thoughts on “About

    • Thanks! There’s still time to jump in the pool and start doing your own. Let me know if you do–would love to see them–or put in a comment or let me know where you’re going to post them.

  1. aloha Cathy. there was a time when i attempted with great perseverance to adhere to writing 5-7-5 haiku. 5-7-5 is haiku. however 5-7-5 (imo) is not what makes it haiku.

    i began to let go of 5-7-5 when i began to read about haiku thinking and why 5-7-5 altho counting as haiku, is not what makes haiku, haiku.

    one of the issues with syllable counting has to do with counting “sound” (or “on” in the Japanese language) which is very different than counting “syllables” in the English language. yeah, a big difference. there are other reasons for this misconception that 5-7-5 is what makes haiku, haiku as well.

    still it is fine to write 5-7-5 haiku. it’s hard in English but it can be done. i think there are more important things to pay attention to tho than that exact syllable count when writing haiku.

    this discovery lead me to exploring more haiku thought—and particularly “what does make haiku, haiku” and yes there are a lot of answers and yes we get to pick which answers we want to use and yes, we can even make our own answers. still there is a body of thinking that applies when writing haiku that make a difference in regard to what constitutes haiku.

    one thing i agree with (at least at this time) is about what haiku is not (yes this is a negative definition and there are a number of these to consider in haiku thinking too).

    one of these i try to hold my haiku up to, in order to see if i’ve slipped up and done what i’m trying not to do is this:
    Have i written a sentence and then just broken it into 3 lines? because if that is considered haiku, then any sentence that is under 17 syllables would be haiku, especially if it is broken up into 3 lines (there are valid reasons for one line haiku too, so a sentence of 17 or less syllables would always be at least a one line haiku).

    for me if what i have written is a sentence whether in 3 lines, 2 lines, 1 line or 4 lines (all these variations in line count are potentially countable as haiku) then it isnt haiku.

    this is where “fragment and phrase” theory comes into haiku thinking. there are plenty of places that explore this thinking. one is on ah-ha poetry (if you would like that link, let me know and i will get it for you).

    when i let go of 5-7-5 as the defining element of haiku and began to think in “fragment and phase” i liked what happened to my haiku.

    to be sure, there are some really good 5-7-5 haiku. occasionally i still get a 5-7-5 haiku or sometimes it’s 17 syllables but not in 5-7-5. i’ve found tho i get far more working haiku if i let go of 5-7-5 and think in other ways about what makes haiku, haiku and what makes good haiku, good haiku.

    the fun part is that i have a long way to go. what i think is likely to be as long a journey as watercolor—a life time. . . . . or at least the rest of my life.

    it helps me to think this out again even now, so thank you for letting me plop this out here.

    fun on your haiku, you have a great grasp of what i think of as a “haiku moment”. way cool on that as a starting place. way fun to explore haiku too. aloha.

    • Mahalo Rick! I am learning more about the form and learning about the reasoning not to use 5-7-5 although I like the challenge but am getting less rigid. I see haiku (whether correctly or not) as a chance to give a brief impression, that Zen moment of clarity. I agree, if it is simply a sentence it’s not so good–it needs a certain rhythm. Also I like the challenge of doing this daily–it fights my inner desire to revise and revise before releasing things out into the world. I love your notion of fragment and phrase–I tend to really like ones like that and sometimes write them. I also sometimes lapse on the season word, but since a lot of mine are technically senryu I’m not sure how essential that is–I plan to study more when I have more time. I appreciate your guidance and feedback. I think we all learn from each other. Namaste, Cathy

  2. Welcome to the haiku of Carpe Diem…some wonderful prompts and guidelines, a caring and thoughtful community. Am looking forward to reading more of your posts.
    Siggi on the coast of Downeast Maine, USA

    • Thanks. I have been doing it for about a month now–love the community and reading everyone’s posts although I have been very busy this week and am a little behind on reading. Everyone inspires me!

    • Thanks! I’ve done at least one a day all year, sometimes more. I’m really enjoying it and the community of other poets I’ve found who also write haiku. I’ll probably end up continuing to do it when the year is over.

  3. Great idea, I am new to haiku and also began with the 5-7-5 but today broke free and just flowed with whatever came with the what – when – where stuff, I really liked what happened though don’t know if I still managed haiku as I’m not expert.

    • Dawn, I had only written a few haiku before this year started. If you go back to my posts at the beginning of the year you can see this–just start writing and explore. It’s most important to come up with something you like. Some people do 5-7-5 some don’t–it doesn’t really work very well in English. I would highly recommend the Carpe Diem Haiku Kai page–it’s got a new haiku challenge every day and you can go and see how different people responded to it. It’s also got tabs with “lectures” that teach about haiku. I have learned a lot from it and the great community of haiku poets (aka haijin) that post there. http://chevrefeuillescarpediem.blogspot.com/

  4. Cathy,
    I want to write you a thank-you note. Can you send me an email so I can contact you privately?
    I couldn’t find an address on this blog.
    joanna [haiku related]

    • Not sure what this is about, but thanks. I look forward to it. Will send you an email now with subject line “Cathy from Haiku Plate Special” so that you can contact me privately. If you don’t get it, check your junk mail or spam filter.

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