Alaska in Haiku


From my window, red-
roe colored salmon berries
ripe hold eyes from blog

Haiku can be found all over Alaska with all the depth to the nature in our backyard. I think it would be a lot of fun create a lesson plan that grows from Alaska in Haiku written by David Townsend Hoopes and Diana Rystbaek Tillian by reading examples from their book.  Like this beauty: the winter moonlight/ the Shadow of the totem pole/ Shadow of the spruce.

After reading a few poems to give the students a baseline, we could briefly discuss the structure of the haiku’s 5-7-5 count of syllables and a bit of the Haiku’s origin from Japan namely from master Basho.

Then thinking as wandering poets, the class would go on a walk to observe nature. They could write on the spot or bring their ideas back to class to mull it over. If they felt constrained by the syllable count per line, it would be alright but encouraged to try to form and choose words that could bring their scene to the page.

As an another component to the exercise, students would exchange their poems later in the week, read them, then go on another walk seeking an image that matches what they feel inspired the haiku of their partner, and take a picture to accompany the haiku and create a Haiku Deck collection together as a class.

Because Alaska in Haiku follows the seasons, it could evolve into a year long activity. At the end of a year, the poets could publish their intimate portrait of their backyard in iBook.

Berries are ripper,/ now. the blog is finished, but/ rough draft sadly calls

-Tyler Thomas

p.s. in my excitement of the haiku lesson plan, I somehow forgot to capture a picture of Alaska in Haiku  for the post. I will be needing a copy soon and will post accordingly.  A special thanks to Kathy Nielson for sharing a few her favorites and reading a powerful story in class.

2 thoughts on “Alaska in Haiku”

  1. I love it! Especially having students go out and write haikus about the surroundings they live in every day–hands on experience with plenty of inspiration!

  2. I love your idea about nature inspired writing. I think creative writing and concise writing really asks students to be critical, thoughtful, and engage in the editing process. Haiku really gets at all of those things!

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