Jump to content
Poetry Magnum Opus
  • Announcements

    • tonyv

      Registration -- to join PMO ***UPDATED INSTRUCTIONS***   03/14/2017

      Automatic registration has been disabled. If you would like to join the Poetry Magnum Opus online community, use the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of this page and follow these instructions: 1. Check your email (including your spam folder) in a timely fashion for a reply. 2. After you receive a reply, use the "Sign Up" link at the top right corner of the page to create your account. Do this fast. I've lost my patience with people who use the "Contact Us" link to express interest in joining and then don't bother to check their email for a reply and don't bother to join after registration has been enabled. The queue fills up fast with spammers, and I have to spend my time sifting through the rubbish to delete them. The window of opportunity for joining will be short. I will not have my time wasted. If you don't check your email and you don't bother registering promptly, you will find that registration has been disabled and your future requests to join may go ignored. /s/ Tony ___________________ [Registration will only be enabled for a short while from the time your message is received, so please check your email for a reply and register within 12 hours of using the "Contact Us" link. (Be sure to check your spam folder if you don't see a reply to your message.)]
    • tonyv

      IMPORTANT: re Logging In to PMO ***Attention Members***   03/15/2017

      For security purposes, please use your email address when logging in to the site. This will prevent your account from being locked when malicious users try to log in to your account using your publicly visible display name. If you are unable to log in, use the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of the page.
    • tonyv

      Blogs   05/01/2017

      Blogs are now accessible to Guests. Guests may read and reply to blog entries. We'll see how this works out. If Guest participation becomes troublesome, I'll disable Guest access. Members are encouraged to make use of the PMO Members' Promotional Blog to promote their published works. Simply add your latest entry to the blog. Include relevant information (your name or screen name, poem title, periodical name, hyperlink to the site where published, etc). If you have a lot of them and feel you need your own blog, let me know, and I will try to accommodate you. Members are encouraged to continue also posting their promotional topics in the Promotions forum on the board itself which is better suited for archiving promotions.
Sign in to follow this  
Tinker

Japanese Poetry; Genre and Form

Recommended Posts

Tinker   

Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry

Japanese Verse  The earliest poems of Japan were written in the ancient language of scholars, classical Chinese. The first poems written in the Japanese language were in waka form. Traditionally considered the first Japanese poem to ever be composed is found in the Kojiki, (Record of Ancient Matters) 712 BC. The poem is attributed to a Japanese god, Susano-o, on the occasion of building a palace for his bride,a classic waka.

Eightfold rising clouds
Build an eightfold fence,
An eightfold Izumo fence
Wherein to keep my bride---
Oh, splendid eightfold fence!
                         --- Susano-o  From Seeds in the Heart, A History of Japanese Literature Vol I
                                               by Donald Keene,1999,Columbia University Press

The preface of the 905 AD, imperial commissioned anthology of court poetry, the Kokinshú, states "Japanese poetry has its seeds in the human heart". According to the Kokinshú, the purpose of writing is to expose what is in the heart of the poet, not the mind. Truthfulness to experience is honored. Inspiration comes from the experience. Experience could be of love, grief, doubt, an observation or a perception of nature etc. To invent an experience denigrated the poem.

The poetry of the Kokinshú was written with classical language by members of the court and utilized the waka extensively. A century earlier the Man'yôshû was compiled also including poetry in the waka form. The Man'yôshû is thought to be the finest collection of Japanese poetry because of the variety of poetic forms, the inclusion of poets of different social class and the intensity of emotion provided through colloquial as well as classical language. From these collections, the waka stood out as the verse form to be emulated.

Important to note: Japanese poetry is actually measured by onji or "sound character without meaning" written in kana, syllabic Japanese script. However the onji is impossible to emulate in English so we default to the closest English equivalent, the syllable. An onji is often shorter than most English syllables, similar to the English "it" or "be" and consequently often includes less thought content. e.g. the Japanese word for Japan is Nippon, in English we count Nip-pon, 2 syllables, the Japanese would count ni-p-po-n, 4 onji, scribed in kana or Japanese script as 日本. To truly emulate Japanese we might actually have to use more English syllables. Japanese also does not use puntuation and therefore relies on the kireji or cutting word. The kireji is a strong word which naturally causes the reader to pause or change focus. In longer Japanese poems 2 strong lines inserted in the midst of the poem or at the end of the poem serves as kireji. Additionaly, adjectives and adverbs need not be placed directly in front or back of the noun or verb modified, they can go almost anywhere which allows Japanese haiku more flexibility in line count.

Most Japanese forms are:

  • brief, concise.
  • in English, syllabic.
  • inspired by the experience, written from the heart.
  • descendants of the waka.
     
Forth to the field of spring
I went to gather violets--
Enamoured of the field
I slept three all night through.                                            
by Akahito from the Man'yosho
haru no no ni
sumire tsumi ni to
koshi ware so
no wo natsukashimi
hiti you nenikeru

 

 

Bussokuseki                       Choka                    Death Poem or Jisei          Dodoitsu   Haibun Haiga

Haikai-no Renga

Haiku Hokku Imayo   Iroha-Mokigusari             Kanshi                                   
Katuata Kouta Mondo Renga                        Sedoka

Senryu

Shintaishi Somonka  Tanka Waka

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.