Poetry Friday: The Hound Dog’s Haiku

We’re in the middle of a poetry unit of sorts. Unit is probably suggestive of something more organized and formal than what we’re doing. Maybe “poetry exploration”. Whatever you call it, what we are doing is reading a bunch of different poetry books. Sometimes we talk about them, sometimes we just read. This year we are using a new Language Arts curriculum which includes a poetry book so we also are doing a little bit of discussion of some poetic elements like rhyme and stress and meter. My goal with this study is mostly to just introduce poetry as something enjoyable . I also hope to expose both boys, but especially John, to a variety of poets and types of poetry.

toy dog’s own toy chest:
snowman, hedgehog, fake steak, jet-
squeak is all they speak  (Shi Tzu)

the one hieroglyph
that appears on all windows:
your nose writing When? (Miniature Schnauzer) 

This week we talked a little bit about haiku and we read this book of dog themed haiku by Michael J. Rosen. Haiku isn’t my favorite poetic form, although I appreciate the skill needed to write one. I thought this book made what can be a difficult form for kids to grasp more accessible. The poems are all about something they know and keeping to one theme gives the book as a whole some continuity. I’m not really sure either boy enjoyed the poems very much and in fact David said in the middle of the book “I don’t get any of these poems.” I do think that it was a good introduction to haiku for John and that he came away with a better understanding of the form. The illustrations are by the marvelous Mary Azarian (of Snowflake Bentley fame). The beautifully detailed woodcuts bring each different dog breed to life and I think all the kids enjoyed the illustrations even if they didn’t always get the accompanying poem.

After reading, I had John pick something to write a haiku of his own about something in nature.

spiky and so high
green in snow, ice and the cold
skinny pine needles

Not too bad. I never know what to expect with more creative kinds of assignments. John is a “just the facts” kind of guy . He can be creative in a lot of ways but poetry and art aren’t typically his thing. Still, he enjoyed this assignment more than I expected and also worked very hard on writing his poem out in cursive and then illustrating it.

Poetry Friday is hosted this week at Gathering Books.

7 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: The Hound Dog’s Haiku

  1. Pingback: Poetry Friday Round Up – Come One! Come All! «

  2. Hello, Dr. Alice! I’m honored that you chose to share my book with your kids, especially since you admit that haiku isn’t exactly your :¬) I understand. In fact, after decades of writing poetry, I finally turned to or found the pleasure in the puzzling suggestions of haiku.
    I do use this form teaching young children the basic nature and joy of creative thinking and writing. If it’s any use to here, here’s a PDF that outlines the essentials.
    http://bit.ly/xDA6bQ
    I’ll just add that “just the facts,” is hardly at odds with creativity. As someone who trained to be a doctor as well (yes, defected from med school to attention an MFA poetry program), that sensitivity to detail, that engagement with observation: they’re central to creativity. Indeed, from reading your “about” page, I suspect you’d define much of your work as a ped. as more than “just the facts.” The creativity of science should never be cordoned off from that of the quote/unquote arts.
    Best wishes to you, your children, and your readers, MJR

    • Wow! Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I always feel all a flutter when an author takes the time to comment. And thanks for the link and thoughts on teaching poetry to kids.

      I do agree that science is very creative, perhaps in a different way than poetry or the arts. When my son painstakingly draws a detailed picture of some mechanical invention or invents yet another elaborate game based on a story he has read, I see his creativity. However, I’m trying to push him a little into areas he is less comfortable with, like poetry.

  3. “A flutter…?” That’s what I feel when I go to the doctor’s office. It’s just White-cost Syndrome, no? :¬)

    Just being goofy, really.

    I appreciate what you’re saying about your son, and I know by “pushing,” you simply mean exposing, sharing your interest, encouraging. Indeed, two of the most effective things I find in classrooms are modeling the pleasure of poetry–the experience of it, not the explaining of it–and the suggestion that kids write poetry based on subjects that already engaged them (so they’re working within a passion, reveling among images, vocabulary, details that are at hand). So perhaps, your son might write a poem that dovetails upon his interest in science, inventions, or games. That said, it can be too facile to take the lead of a familiar story…and not venture too far from it; I try to discourage kids from embarking on poems that are already “solved” in their imaginations.

    Just thought to wave back again. I don’t mean to suggest that you need continued coaching, lol.

    Best wishes as before, MJR

  4. Wow! What a neat give-and-take with the poet/author of this book! 🙂

    I love reading poetry to my children, but they don’t always love it, unfortunately. I tend to take off on poetry on April since it’s National Poetry Month, and that helps me remember to do it. This sounds like an excellent selection to add to our list this spring!

    Do you like the MCT grammar curriculum? I’ve looked at it time and again, but I can’t decide about it. I’d love to read your thoughts, should you care to share them!

  5. Pingback: Poetry Friday: More Haiku « Supratentorial

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