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thinkALONG! 7 February


host: Muskaan Ahuja

guest editor: Susan Beth Furst


“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.

Diamonds sewn

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.


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