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While in the car at 4am yesterday morning--we were headed to watch the sunrise--my family got to chatting about Haiku. We even wrote one. Check out our early morning creation:

Good morning.
It is dark outside.
We're driving.

Bad Haiku
Holzmanns 11/23/08

Since one of my nephews was in the car, I thought it was a good "teaching moment"--or, at least, an opportunity to show off <smile>--and so I explained how in English our poetry revolves around rhyme/meter, how Haiku revolves around specific syllable use, and how Hebrew poetry involves repetition of letters at the beginning of each line. For instance, English poetry repeats sounds:

The sun is shining in the morn, A
As if the world was new, just born. A
We see the sky, all blue and clear. B
The waves are close; they feel so near. B

But in Hebrew, the "AA.. BB..." scheme is literal:

A Again I see the silky sun
A As it shines down on me.
B Beneath the waves
B Blue fish swim.

My dad, who had been listening, suddenly remarked, "After all these years of studying English, I just learned something: Poetry is writing using specific constraints to make it artistic."

That was a much better explanation than what I got in Junior Year's Honors English: Poetry is whatever is not prose.

My dad went on to comment that using such a definition would make even the chiastic structure a form of poetry. And that makes sense, even if no one has officially labeled it so. And so, I'll label it officially:

The chiastic structure is a form of poetry.

In honor of today's ceremony, I would like to share a poem with you:

Poetry is words A
Which follow rules B
And sometimes patterns. C
The ciastic pattern C
Uses rules B
To make a poem. A

May you enjoy poetry, of all forms, today.

~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

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