The Hattie Haiku Challenge

For this final post of National Poetry Month, I took inspiration from Marie Howe, state poet of New York, who writes this about the popular poetry form of haiku as she shares her picks from The Times’s Haiku Challenge (thanks to my friend Jane for the link to the article):

“A traditional haiku was attentive to time and place and most often referred to a season of the year. It was rooted in observations of the natural world and demanded an accuracy that refused romantic clichés. The language might be simple, the images taken from common life, but the insistence on time and place was crucial.” [emphases added]

Constraints can be conducive to creativity, so I wanted to see if the entries for April 26-30 from Hattie’s first year of diaries, 1920, would each lend themselves to a series of 17-word haiku. The poems jumped from her pages; I hardly had to change a thing. The exercise was a valuable insight into her writing style.

In 1920 Hattie and Will lived in Nebraska, not far from the town of Spencer. They had been married two years and were still breaking the prairie sod on their farm.

See The Hattie Diaries for a full list of the found poems for this National Poetry Month series.

April 26, 1920

Windy and bright but
chilly all day so mud
is rapidly going

April 27, 1920

Got my work shoes
they are so big, I am tired
as can be carrying them

April 28, 1920

Broke sod in morning
cut and planted potatoes
two settings of eggs

April 29, 1920

Bright morning, noon sprinkle
genuine evening rain
Will’s fistula broke

April 30, 1920

Made jelly, ironed clothes
Will got wire stretcher, fixed fence
Floyd Wood had eight pigs

Home on furlough, Will Whitcher (left) and William Whiting,(Hattie's brother), 1918
Home on furlough, Will Whitcher (left) and William Whiting,(Hattie’s brother), 1918
April 26, 1920
April 26, 1920
April 27-28, 1920
April 27-28, 1920
April 29-30, 1920
April 29-30, 1920
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