Friday, May 8, 2009

Meet Scifaiku

Last month, I was busy writing poetry for the Poem-A-Month challenge over at Poetic Asides. One day, we had to write a haiku.

Haiku is not my favorite poetic form. It looks like it should be easy -- write the first line with five syllables, the second line with seven, and the third line with five syllables again. But as I wrote in my anti-haiku:

a difficult form
even with 5-7-5
this is not haiku

Real haiku poems seem to capture a peaceful (or Zen-like) moment, often include a season, and provide some kind of comparison or insight. Like I said, I find this type of poem hard to write. So, I was cruising around on the Internet, reading anything I could find about haiku, and I discovered scifaiku.

What is scifaiku? Simply put, it's science fiction haiku. The term was first coined in 1995, when Tom Brinck wrote The SciFaiku Manifesto.

According to Brinck, scifaiku explores science or science fiction themes. The poems don't have to adhere to the traditional 17 syllable form of haiku, in part because so many science terms are long and unwieldy and eat up a lot of syllables. However, scifaiku should still be brief and get to the point.

I like scifaiku. Instead of a Zen-like moment, scifaiku poems explore things like alien encounters, the vastness of space, or thoughts about stars. You could even write a poem like this:

her tentacles green
wrap around my tender wrist
i love my new pet

Photo credit: Lenny Montana
through a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

If you like this post, you might also like:

Try your hand at science poetry

Massachusetts Science Poetry Contest

Science Poem: Intrasolar interloper

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