A TUESDAY FEATURE
host: Muskaan Ahuja
guest editor: Susan Beth Furst
MAKING IT PERSONAL
“Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”
--- Oscar Wilde
My first published haiku was written about the Oyster House, a historic bar in downtown
Pittsburgh. My parents would take me there for lunch. The mill workers sat at the bar drinking
boilermakers (a shot of whisky and a beer). I had oysters and buttermilk.
Miss America photos
stare at the backs of boozy old men
sitting at the bar
Technically, my poem isn’t a haiku, too many syllables for one thing. I call it a historical haiku, a genre of my creation, as the poem is about a place and event from my personal history. I
suppose I could call it an autobiographical haiku as well. I have also written haiku about larger historical events that have touched me or someone I know in a personal way.
“All you have to do is write one true sentence.”
--- Ernest Hemingway
My mother-in-law Irene lived in Poland during the Holocaust. She survived the Lodz ghetto and
Stutthof concentration camp. This historical haiku is a record of what happened to her as she
tried to flee her hometown of Lodz.
into her garments, she runs
to the bathroom stall
Historical haiku document actual events that were witnessed by the poet or someone with
firsthand knowledge. They are word sketches or flashes of images that capture the historical
event in matter of fact language. They often evoke deep emotion because of the understated
way they are written. Historical haiku are not traditional haiku, but they are my haiku!
Have you ever invented a haiku genre? If so, what do you call it? If you have a historical haiku or an autobiographical haiku that you would like to write, I would love to see it!
You can post your comments and poems below.