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62 good reasons to teach haiku in the school PDF Stampa E-mail
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Scritto da Tartamella   
Sabato 14 Agosto 2010 10:09







Cascina Macondo - Associazione di Promozione Sociale
Centro Nazionale per la Promozione della Lettura Creativa ad Alta Voce e Poetica Haiku
Borgata Madonna della Rovere, 4
10020 Riva Presso Chieri – TO  - Italy -  tel 011/9468397
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by Pietro Tartamella

translation by Laura Uboldi

Preamble n. 1        “a good writer”

We have heard a million times you never have to get bored of reading and reading again books written by appreciated authors, if you need to become a good writer. For what is concerning the haiku, we should bring a slight deviation to such an indication and state: “To become a good haiku writer you never have to get bored of reading and reading again the good haiku written by the children”.
If we really and with conviction confirm the importance of carefully reading the haiku written by the children and the handicap people, we have been underlining three important concepts:
1- we recognise to the children the unexpected role of being our teachers;
2- we consider the child world as featured by an “ability” which can teach a lot to the adult, leading us to seriously “listen” to the children and their world;
3- we establish again a real and forgotten relation with the child world, a kind of “educational cyclic continuity”, bringing us back again in our conscience with importance and dignity.

Preamble n. 2        “our teachers, the children…”

If the children can be our haiku teachers, is there any sense in “teaching” them the haiku?
We teach it for three reasons:
1- because the children have to discover and know it before writing and becoming then our masters;
2- because practising haiku educates to thousands of values and aptitudes;
3- because practising haiku can help the children not to loose some of their specific qualities.

In many years of experience as haiku teachers in the schools, I can state in the first class of the secondary school (so at the age of twelve) the children are conditioned by the main culture, by the values of the mass-media, by the typical teens problems, by the voice change and by the values of the school, which does not “educate” (pulling out) but “make full” of notions, and therefore they have just lost the bigger part of their spontaneity and creativity; their thoughts and minds are just artificial, twisted, impoverished.

We can then summarise the reasons which lead us to teach the Haiku poetry to the children into two branches:
1- the haiku is a practicable way to arrive to the discovery and the appropriation of some particular aptitudes; the haiku becomes the training to improve such aptitudes;
2- the haiku is a way for the maintenance and the keeping of the aptitudes which are naturally belonging to the child.

Preamble n. 3        “…against haiku…”

Today we are gathered here as we are attracted in a certain way by the haiku poetry, even with different shades. Stating that the teaching of the haiku to the children is a good thing will probably meet the approval and the conviction of everyone.
Anyway, such persuasion must not deceive us.

In many years of experience as haiku teachers in the schools, I can state a lot of school-mistresses are, as ideology, against the teaching of the haiku to the children.
Masters teaching haiku have to be really considered as initiators, facing difficulties, boycotts, negligences, and carelessness; anyway, they are aware of the fact they perpetrate a battle as the parallel world fighting the haiku is a slight battle indeed.

Which are the motivations of the teachers being contrary to the teaching of the haiku in the schools?

1- they scarcely consider the haiku as literature. They see it rather a game;
2 - being the haiku so short, they tend to consider it a fleeting, light thing, having a small consistence and no “volume”, instead of evaluating it as an “opera”;
3 - it’s hard for them to conceive the imperfection (semantic overturn) as “art”;
4 - they generally maintain that haiku is difficult for the children (anyway, we know haiku is actually hard for the adults);
5 - the so many rules of the haiku (semantic overturn, the kigo, the syllables) are conceived as something suffocating the freedom of the children, like a cage which is too narrow for them;
6 -  the brevity characterising the haiku is perceived as in opposition with the role of the teacher, who commits herself in spreading and improving the lexical knowledge of the child; while the teacher “adds words”, with the haiku you have to “take words off “
7 - if a child has related his experience to the class with a lot of words, and if the class cooperates and help him modify his story into a haiku, the teacher perceives such haiku as “not written by that child”. His mind thinks about the “properties of the haiku”; he thinks to the binomial “author=haiku”; he gives more consideration to the author than to the haiku;
8 - maybe a hidden worry of the teacher is about the counting of the syllables, which needs a revision of the grammatical rules and of a lot of metric rules;
9 - in the average, the Italian teacher believes such concepts as “crasis“,”SINALEFE” “EPISINALEFE”, “ANASINALEFE”, “ANFIBOLOGIA”, “dactyl” and so on are too much difficult for the children;
10- masters being in opposition to the teaching of the haiku in the schools have only paid attention to their motivations. What they have difficulty in seeing and listening to (and it’s under their eyes yet) is the big pleasure children show to feel when they commit themselves with the haiku, which seems to be made just for them!


I would like to show an ideal didactic process of the haiku, fancing to develop it in twelve meetings of two hours each, in a class of twenty-five children; this is also suitable for the first class of the primary school.
Going through the positive implications of the haiku, we can find useful reasons to compare to whom going away or hampering the haiku, or considering it not suitable for the children.

First and second meeting: syllables and rhythm
In the first two meetings of the way we explore the syllables with the drum, the truncated words, the flat words, the proparoxytone words, the atonic and the tonic syllables; the jambic rhythm (ci-ty), the trochee (ho-use), the dactyl, (thun-der-bolt), the MOLOSSO (bal-loon), the anapaest (will-sing). Exercises of voice and singing, harmonic sounds, blues, everything dancing and playing. USE OF THE  DJEMBE’.

Third and fourth meeting: objective observation - partial truth relative to the point of view
We put an object at the centre of the schoolroom, and every one has to describe what he can observe from his point of view.
Such exercise have the aim to let children understand as each of them owns only a “part of the truth”, that “real listening” means recognizing the portions of the truth all the other people own and that it’s such a contribute which allows the approaching to a wider “truth”.
Children train themselves in observing the details, in keeping the reality separated from the imagination, in moving from the reality to the imagination in an easy and aware way.

Fifth meeting: geography - history- science
With the geographical map of the Japan we will go through the cities, the mountains, hints of history, pictures of trees, flowers, the Emperor, the Samurai, the farmers…music, theatre, origami, bonsai, the Tanka…

Sixth meeting: structure of the Haiku - very careful listening of haiku - comment of the read haiku
We explain the 5-7-5 syllables, the kigo, the semantic overturn. We listen to some haiku, we read them many times and we make a comment showing how the authors have made use of the semantic overturn.

Seventh, eighth and ninth meeting: the children write their first haiku
In turn the children tell to their mats the memories of an experience touching them, giving them emotions and involving them emotionally. All the class help the child find his haiku. Along the way we can discover the metric features (crasis, ANASINALFEFE, EPISINALEFE, and so on). This is the work of “cutting words away”, of finding other being better, of understanding what the words produce in our imagination. It’s a linguistic and paralinguistic work, with the exploration of the lexicon, of the syntax, of the grammar and of the syllables.

Tenth meeting: the main soul states: Sabi, Wabi, Aware, Yughen
Reading the haiku of the children and those of famous authors, we try to understand the four main soul states which characterise the haiku and are occurring in it. We will see the differences between Haiku, Senryu, Haibun, Tawani Collection and more.

Eleventh meeting: the Zikan reading
The children train themselves in a particular reading which leads them to a dimension of big attention and spirituality. Each haiku is read three times in a different way, enhancing the following:
1 - the long pauses of silence which are made at the end of each verse (style Sizuka Na - without noise - silence)
2-  the syllabic structure, underlining with the voice also the metrical elements (stile Tanz Suru - showing the syllables)
3 - style Wabi Sabi: delicate vocal intonations and colourings link all the words, trying to enhance the semantic overturns and the different meanings the haiku has.

Twelfth meeting: public reading of the haiku at a loud voice
As conclusion of the experience, now that all the people have produced their first haiku, we invite in the class all the parents and relatives, in order to listen to the ritual reading of the haiku following the Zikan style (slowness, verbal clearness, silence, listening…). The reading is accompanied by musical instruments and sounds (Tibetan bowl, Tibetan rings, dongu, Florian bellows, Pentatonic, rain stick, harmonic singing)
It’s a public moment of sharing full of emotional tension.
62 good reasons, in alphabetical order, to teach haiku in the schools, to children and teen-agers

1 - art in the imperfection
It’s in this fields the children are mastresses! Their little linguistic and grammatical imperfections result in semantic overturn of an extraordinary beauty and simplicity, showing how the imperfection can be turned into art and how it can sometimes reveal powerful poetic images.
Being aware of the imperfection can help children not to desire to aim for immortality or impotence, and to maintain their natural positive aspects: spontaneity, freshness, simplicity, immediacy.

2 - listening
It’s a training to “see” which “images” the mind creates listening a sequence of “words”, and bow the mental images turns changing also only one article in the text.

3 - absence of judgement
We have to start with an empty mind, which is ready to catch what we face (in the reality or in the memory) and go through the “centre of the experience” crossing all the mind tricks which tend to reveal the reality.

4 - beauty
It’s catching the sense of beauty and of art in the simplicity, imperfection and the image of the haiku, and to feel pleasure. It’s to perceive the capacity of the author in solving the form problems, how he has organised his words in the three verses of the haiku, which seems to be a cage, but which however solicits a challenge and make the haiku be a serious and important game.

5 - capacity of letting go
It’s the effort of being completely absorbed by a recollection of a happening, by a deep and osmotic observation of the reality, trying to empty the mind from every thought, catching only what is observed and the mutual relation, which is watchful in order to perceive the moment when a “prejudgement” could raise and dominate.

6 - co-operation
It’s becoming in syntony with the class and the schoolmates, appreciating the given help, the value of the solidarity. It’s feeling when an haiku is “well done” and understand the haiku is more important than the author and that, as a game, it can therefore be made in a group.

7 - compassion

In the big stream of happenings and experiences of our life, the haiku teaches us to “make a picture” of the significant moment emerging from the daily which is become routine; behind it you can spot a hidden beauty and an original depth that is invisible to our conscience.
The art of the haiku bring us back to such a “presence”, to the necessary attention allowing to catch the flowing of the time, which is composed by thousands of significant and little “events”.
The awareness of this time running, of the season alternating, of our being immersed in this cosmic and ineluctable flow, bring us back the feeling of compassion.

8 - gratification

The haiku does not like the complacency, the basking in complicated images, in audacious metaphors, in mental complications. The haiku is simplicity and essence.
Such rule is a bell of alarm and meditation for the child, which leads him to be watchful, to control and recognise when his narcissism leads him to complacency. In such a way the haiku becomes a school of life which gives back to the child the emotional waves inside of him, as an echo.

9 - brevity
It’s a training to recognize the surplus and the veneer, to give up to them without any regret, and to concentrate on the moment the haiku has to stop. It’s a training to get deep into the “language” instrument to understand when there are useless repetitions, redundancies, things which have just been said and that contaminate the haiku or make it banal.

10 - shareness
Working with the contribution of the mates generates a sense of belonging, a sense of community which works together to reach an aim: creating a beautiful haiku.
Once the haiku has been composed, the pleasure is shared by everyone, at the end also with the parents and relative in the final meeting.

11 - contemplation
Observing a memory or the reality, both full of emotions, we train in reaching the mind emptying, and not the judgement; therefore, we enjoy a contemplative moment, also when we listen to the haiku of our school-mates.

12 - dyslexia
The haiku needing concentration, spirituality, essentiality, slowness, rhythm in the reading, it gives relax and a tranquillity the dyslexic children discover and really enjoy, because they “feel” practising haiku brings them away from the performance tensions and from the feeling of inadequacy. Concerning the reading, it improves their approach and their pleasure consistently, as they feel little but intimate satisfactions, which strengthen the self-esteem.

13 - detachment - familiarity and awareness
It’s not easy for the children to face the detachment. Anyway, it’s surprising to understand how the face it with proud, awareness and unsuspected maturity, when led by the precise rules of the haiku, when entertained and attracted by the desire of applying them, when entertained and attracted by the pleasure and the challenge of the mathematical game of the syllables.
It’s touching to see a child recalling an experience he had with his father, his mother, his brothers, his grandma: having him to take off a lot of words, as the haiku only allows seventeen syllables, he start running seriously after that experience, trying to catch “what” really involved or gave emotions to him, trying to catch “the moment” he would like to reveal in his haiku….at the end, he “accepts to renounce” to his mother, or to his father, or to this brothers, or to his grandma, aware of the fact he has to do this if he wants to write an haiku.

14 - inner echo
The careful listening of the haiku and the effort in seeing the effects and the mechanics of the semantic overturn produces sensorial, motor and psycholinguistic stimulus, which lead the children to feel a sort of “inner echo” produced by the mental images.

15 - essentiality
This is different from brevity. The essentiality concerns the contents and is aimed to remove the things which “seem important”  from the mind, but that as a matter of fact “hide” the core of an emotion or an experience.

16 - exploration of the variety
In one class there is a massive presence of foreign children. The story each child tells to the mates about his experience and his memory is socialized, it becomes “public”.
Them having to tell a “moment of their life” which has in some way touched, we can assist to a series of “moments” related by each child, and so also by the foreign ones.
With surprise, children discover how many things they have in common with the other children, even if their language, culture and skins are different. They are aware of how the “moments” which have influenced them are often similar.
With the co-operation of everyone, the stories are then transformed into haiku, and so reduced to become essential, trying to understand the words that must be left and those which can be and have to be cut off.

17 - photography
 Fabrizio Virgili defines the haiku as “a moment in life which becomes a verse”. As life is a running time, a “moment” is something of this running life that is impressed on the page. It can be compared to a “snapshot”, to a  “photographic” click. However, it’s not only “documentation”.
The moment captured with the haiku, permeated with Sabi or Wabi or Aware or Yughen, becomes a poetry, a universal vision, it comes into art.
The child practising haiku trains his glance really as the photographer makes: he learns how to spot the consistent moments of beauty and poetry in the time running and in the daily events.
This is a real training in observing the reality from new points of view.

18 - haiku: what it is, what it’s not
Haiku is not a definition, it’s a not a moral teaching, it’s not a philosophic thought, it’s not an abstract image, it’s not a words game, it’s not a rhyme game, it’s not a aphorism, it’s not a maxim, it’s not a sentence, it’s not a saying, it’s not a thought, it’s not an idea.
The haiku has not the scope of “amazing” with bizarre or audacious metaphors.
Haiku is concentration, it’s a real poem contained into seventeen syllables, it’s a lyrical poem, it’s pure concreteness, it’s a poetry about “things” and “events”, it’s the pure and simple reality, it’s not the way but the scope, it’s not part of the poem but the poem itself.
The haiku photographs a really happened, seen and observed particular of our life, of the nature, of an experience in its simplicity and essentiality.
The child sails among all these concepts, he makes questions and interrogate himself; we simply accompany him in his growth and in his effort to understand and apply.

19 - handicap
Children with handicap, disabilities, dyslexic ones, having a behaviour or learning deficit, being also them able in expressing themselves with haiku, they are again involved by their classmates, as these one can recognise their abilities in poetry and discover some qualities which were never seen before.

20 - illumination - little explosion of light
The illumination is a very familiar experience for the children growing up, as the world is still to be discovered. Their days pass by with continuous lightings each time they understand things, become aware of them and acquire them.
Haiku means “little explosion of light”.
Thanks to the thousands rule of the haiku to its thousands bonds, and also to the “cage” of the haiku composition (having so delimited boundaries such as the syllable count, the metric phenomena, the different types of semantic overturns, the kigo, the no judging, the no delighting, the simplicity, the here and now), children live and experiment continuous “lightings”, including those coming from comprehension and decoding of the listened haiku.

21 - interculturality
Haiku has a Japanese origin and enhance another part of the world, an oriental, far away and different country. With a new point of view and with cultural valency, children take again into consideration the importance of something they have in their premises: the schoolmates coming from other countries.
The various states of richness and the cultural differences are reconsidered, enhanced, declared, socialised and shared.

22 - me and the nature
An element of the haiku is the kigo (the season). This trains us to observe actively, to catch the nature changing, the time going by, the significant moments we can hold and narrate. This also reminds us, without neither panic nor fear, that our life is proceeding to the end.

23 - me and the other
Practising the haiku changes our mental attitude. We train in observing the other people with renewed eyes. Teaching not to judge the haiku makes us comprehend the partial truth owned by each human being and allow us to understand the individual “point of view” is really a concrete richness.

24 - internationality
The presence of different ethnic groups in the class, together wit the information that Cascina Macondo yearly organises an International Concourse of Haiku Poetry for adults and children from everywhere in the world, produces in the child a kind of “global” vision of the interculture, showing the world to be as fraternized, even if only referred to such a small thing as the haiku.

25 - LATERALIZZAZIONE - muscular-vocal coordination
The exercises with the drum and the percussions, the right hand, the left hand, the high sound, the medium sound, the low sound, the border of the drum, the centre of the drum, the voice, the rhythmical song, the research of the proparoxytone words contained in our body, the exploration of the point of view and of the parts of “truth” owned by each child in relation to the three-dimensional space, to the distance and to the angulation, all these things become sensorial-motor practice for the LATERALIZZAZIONE, the coordination, the balance.

26 - reading at a loud voice
Reading the haiku in a ritual way means recognising the haiku is concentration, contemplation, silence and, in the meantime, it means giving back to the word its value of sacrality. It means confirming the importance of the listening and of the point of view of the other human beings.
The “Zikan” reading is a particular way of reading the haiku which summarises the above mentioned values (each haiku is read three times: Sizuka Na way (without noise-silence), Tanzi Suru way (exposing the syllables) and Wabi Sabi way (vocal pitches which link everything).

27 - reading - plurality of the ways - baring of responsibilities
While reading the haiku of other authors, included those written by his classmates, the child explores different freedoms of reading, automatically inserting in them pauses, silences, intonations that the haiku does not show.
The beauty of a haiku and its comprehension require bearing of responsibilities. Some haiku seem to be bad at a first sight: its beauty can be revealed if the correct way and breath for reading them are discovered.

28 - Japanese language
Quoting the Japan words, talking about on-ji (corresponding to the Italian syllable) and of the tonic accent (that the Japanese does not have), we give information on how the structure of another language can be, inciting the interest for the language as an instrument of communication.

29 - ordinary subjects: geography - history - geometry - maths - music - science - imagine education
During the haiku progressing, children study in an unusual way the arguments of the various ordinary subjects, with incentives to the interdisciplinary deepening and linking.

30 - being neutral
Being neutral and objective is not easy. Also feeling the pleasure of being neutral is an art. The practice of the haiku can help the child see things for what they actually are, and to recognize the moments when the “world outside us” is changed or dimmed by our fears, worries, desires, all things which often deceive us.

31 - observation
Having the haiku the characteristic of holding on the paper “an instant” happening here and how, this accustoms the child to look at the detail, at the apparently insignificant minute things of the present, and to recognise their beauty.

32 - perception of the limit - its recognising- its acceptation
Really because the haiku has so many rules, it results to be a sort of “cage”. The child is however pleased to stay in that “cage”.
He learns to express himself with a few things, using in a technical way the counting of the syllables and the possibilities of the metrics, and also testing his perception, his logic, his maths and his creativity.
“Case” is a definition we use only because the detractor of the haiku use, meaning a “prison”, a “container” into which they feel uncomfortable.
We apply to them when we state the definition “cage” has a negative connotation, and it’s not really suitable. The right term would be “limit”, to indicate the haiku is a “territory”, a “universe” within which we can move, anyway till those limits. The child perceives the idea of the “boundary” very clearly and, practising it, he trains himself to the concreteness of the reality, to the acceptation and to the respect of the rules and to the denial of the embezzlement.

33 - perception - intuition
Practising the haiku (reading and writing about it), the mind gets trained I catching that slight pleasure coming from the recalling of the images in our mind, that moment of “void” feeling before having “understood” the haiku, that feeling of “never ending”, of “unfinished”, of “no total comprehension” that some haiku produce. All this incites the perception, the intuition, the

34 - permeation
It’s a complete desertion, a mind emptying, a kind of illumination, absence of a so total judgement, so that one feels completely “permeated” by the thing he’s living or observing, so much that he seems to be a unique thing with it, something even perceiving of being the thing itself indeed.

35 - semantic significance
The practice of haiku develops a knowledge of the words, of the empty spaces, of the silences, of the imperfections, of the sounds’ evocative power, of the essentiality.
A haiku with only seventeen syllables has the capacity of throwing a lot of contents on the reader or on the listener (Basho would say “an entire poetry). The child comprehends all the multitude of the semantic contents, which are perceived through the changes of tone, pauses, rhythm, silence, suspension…
The knowledge of the “language” and “voice” instruments gets refined, and he enters more and more in the depth, thanks to the practising and the training.

36 - present
The haiku composition prefers things narrated at the “present”. Running away again the future and past modes, the child works out a mind aptitude which looks the things here and now.

37 - depth
A serious child understand and “feels” when a haiku contains the Sabi (the big silence, the detachment), the Wabi (the unattended, the awakening of the attention due to something which suddenly gets to our conscience), the Aware (the nostalgia, the transitoriness, the time passing by, the frailty of the things, even the smallest ones). Practising haiku leads him in the depth he just owns, it helps him explore it better, it helps keep his capacity to explore the depth.

38 - formal cleaning
This is the exploration of the “boundary”, the technical and syllable aspect, the comprehension of “what” allows the haiku to be so flowing, essential and clean, and “what” is instead contaminating it, wetting it, polluting it, weakening it, emptying it from power and semantic significance. It’s the knowledge of the language instrument, of its possibilities, of its defects, of its limits indeed. It’s also the defiance and the personal challenge in order to exceed the formal obstacles with the craftsman devices.

39 - point of view
The haiku requires an effort. It’s not easy writing haiku, it’s not easy reading them, and it’s not easy listening to them. It always requires an effort, attention, concentration, a pure being disposal in listening, a cancellation of prejudgements. It needs one disposes himself with humility in deeply listening a point of view of another human being. This is a really particular point of view, as it’s a “moment” held on the paper.

40 - here and now
We understand the desertion, the empty mind, the contemplation, the silence, the deep listening make us be “here” and “now”, opening ourselves to the experience of being part of the world, a drop in the universe.

41 - analytic reasoning - synthetical reasoning
As the child trying with the haiku knows the metric rules of the syllabification, his mind catch the rhythm of a work of creative-logic and maths-logic, in his attempt to arrive to a composition of seventeen syllables (5-7-5). All these simultaneously incite the analytic reasoning (that going into things back to the past) and the syntentical reasoning (that looking forward to the future).

42 - relation
In a classroom, the job of composing haiku with the help and contribution of all the mates results in an atmosphere of solidarity and sharing; it melts the group together; it mitigates the differences and it allows to discover talents which were not imagined to own. The relation with the schoolmates becomes more mature.
Reading new haiku we learn to come in relation with the points of view of the authors; we learn to respect them, but also to listen and to value them.

43 - breath

Training to recognize the prejudgements and to observe the world as it is helps everyone put oneself in relation with his own breathing and, in a more aware way, with the mystery and the beauty of life.

44 - semantic overturn
This is the hardest concept of haiku, the more difficult to be explained, the more difficult to carry out. It’s the important discovery of Matsuo Basho and the main feature of haiku. A semantic overturn, which is a psychological-linguistic peculiarity of the human language, make something “strange” occur in our mind, as it shook some neurones, as it made “something” bouncing on our brain.
The haiku trains the mind of the children to these rebounds and it remains elastic, because producing natural semantic overturns is a particular quality of the children; this quality is often lost in the teen’s period, due to the conditioning of the culture and of the superstructures.

45 - language research
The job with the haiku starts a really refined language, syntactic and semantic research, revealing to the child the slight changing of the images produced by the words in our mind. The points of charming analyses are: a comma (pause) changing the meaning of the phrase; a definite, instead of a indefinite article, emptying or amplifying the meaning; the addition or not of a conjunction leading the meanings to other interpretations; the use of an adjective; the use of the verb; the synonymous which result not to be synonymous anymore, because they modify the image in our mind, even if in a little measure.

46 - recognition of the prejudgement
In the haiku there must not be judging, but only observation of what happens. This is another feature of the haiku. It’s difficult to resist to the pulsion of judging, also for the children. We often express our judgement without realising this. Analysing the haiku written with the children we can spot those even small grammar particles implying a judgement. The children develop a stimulus leading then to look better at the words and to recognise those having a character of pre-judgement.
They then realise how the “pre-judgement” has concealed the object or the experience we have been observing; as a consequence we can not catch its autonomous essence.

47 - surrending
Surrending is different from detachment. Detachment implies a widest emotional and affective involvement.
Surrending is training to no possession, it’s a particular work of chasing. The child learns how to chisel the marble of his desire of keeping everything, improving the renounce each time he has to choose among a lot of works at disposal, preferring the simplest, the more functional, the more suitable to enter in his haiku. This is an important job, getting him free from the cage of the mind superstructures and training him to essentiality.

48 - syllable rhythm
The game of the syllables and the rhythms open the way to the pleasure of the language, to the listening of the words’ sounds, reconfirming them as magical instrument owned by people. It also trains the musical sensitiveness and the importance of the language as a communication device.

49 - fluency

The test of the haiku must be simple and fluent. Looking for simplicity and fluency the child understands the mechanisms of the language contorting the mind and the thought; he improves his capacity of listening; he get trained to precision, efficacy, comprehension of the psychological-sonorous effects and comprehension of the syntax and grammar.

50 - simplicity
The child expresses his talent in the virtue of simplicity, being it either conceptual and mental and formal, but also in an ethical and moral aspect. Being the simplicity a main feature of the haiku, the child perceives the composition as “made really for him” and he’s stimulated by the desire of committing and comparing.
Practising the haiku the child will maybe keep the virtue of simplicity that it’s hard to find in the grown -up people.

51 - without title
The children have the preconception that all the “written operas” (such as novels, stories, tales, short stories, songs, books, films…) must have a title, and therefore also the haiku. Coming across a “literary product” which does not have title generates a crisis in them at the beginning.
When they understand that the haiku would not be composed by seventeen syllables anymore if it had a title, then they don’t feel anymore a situation of discomfort.
Keeping on working with the haiku, they also understand another important thing: the title has the function of “preannouncing” something else following.
Giving up having an “advice” of what the haiku contains is a mind training which helps them understand and accept that also things of the life often happen without any warning.
It helps them come in touch with the “here” and “now”.

52 - socialization
In the classroom children tell the experiences they want to result in a haiku.
They disclose their stories, revealing things in common, sadness and joy. The same game of the haiku, the reading at a loud voice and the hint of catching the “truth” of their emotion increase the sharing, the participation, the listening, the co-operation, the solidarity and the socialisation.
The tensions coming from any contrasting personality or from the social-cultural dynamics become quieter and quieter. The class makes progress towards a positive and affectionate spirit of group.

53 - spirituality
The haiku always opens the mind to the “spirituality” that children smell and are able to catch, and that they just own. This is due to the origin of the haiku linked to Zen, to his Japanese origin, to his oriental origin, to his coming from places where the sun dawns, to his own contents, to his being linked to the seasons, to his rules, to his being so small, to his essentiality.
Practising haiku can help children hold their comprehension of the spirituality before the spoilt worlds of the adults bring them away from it.

54 - AWARE state of mind - being aware about the transitoriness and transient of the things
The awareness that the time goes by inexorably, that we live and we die and that we are small points in the universe make us better understand the value of the communion, of the solidarity, of the running our way to the end along with others. The adults have the pre-concept that a child can not catch these things. Practising haiku refines the mind attitude of the comprehension of all lives.
The child will develop fewer fears and less anguish, as his knowledge of the world becomes deeper and truest.

55 - SABI state of mind - being aware about the big silence, the detachment, the loneliness
Japanese people define the haiku to be a “literature of the gatherings” or “the literature of the gatherings and of the solitary spirit”. The work in a classroom seems like a Japanese Kessha, i.e. one of those circles where haiku writers compare each other, under the care of a teacher. The children understand the value of the silence and of the loneliness, and they are less scared about them.
When Sabi, Wabi, Aware or Yughen result in the haiku, they comprehend how big the universe is, how little the humanity is, how big the children are. They are wrapped up by an atmosphere of compassion, of still nostalgia, of indefinable melancholy, while outside, on the glasses, the rain is maybe sliding away or the snow is falling.

56 - WABI state of mind - being aware about the unattended, which wakes the attention up
For the child this is a common experience. Every day he lives in the WABI state of mind, as the world is pretty plenty of new things for him, every moment is a surprise and wondering: from reading to calculus, to science, to technique, to the insects, to drawing. Catching the WABI state of mind implied in the haiku, he recognises his experiences as universal and not as individual as he could have considered. This “recognising” enriches him in terms of awareness and compassion.

57 - YUGHEN state of mind - being aware about the mystery, about the undecipherable beauty wrapping up all the things
It’s the feeling of mystery, of the undecipherable beauty wrapping up all the things, even the smallest ones; it’s the energy of the world beating everywhere, it’s the wonder, the astonishment, the magnificence of the things; it’s the sensation of the universal, of the magic, of the life complexity. It’s something similar to the “Great Spirit”, the “Wakan-Tanka” (Big Mystery) of the American Indians, which is in everything. The child is the first one to perceive such a mystery. The haiku helps him stay in this perception, not to loose his capacity of getting astonished and to recognise the beauty of the creation.

58 - history of the religions
Talking about Zen and the spirituality is the occasion to make a short introduction on the religions (American Indians, Arabs, Hebrews, Christians, and so on).

59 - emptying the mind
There is a story about a western man eager to learn who makes a long trip to visit a Zen master. He asks him to teach everything on the Zen, as he wants to become a practitioner the soonest. The master gives hospitality to him in his humble house and proposes him to drink a cup of tea. The western man is astonished seeing his cup and the master who keeps on pouring tea until it overflows on the table plentifully. “Your mind is like this cup, the master says, how can I teach you Zen if you don’t empty it and live room to receive what you ask me to teach?” This is the big effort of giving up each preconceived thought, of not attributing meanings, of not judging, of the having expectations; it’s the effort of emptying the mind. Only in this way can the mind and the conscience receive what happens around us in its plenitude and essence. Only in this way will we be able to “see” the others and the things for what they really are. The haiku teaches such aptitude to the children.

60 - tradition and modernism
With the haiku the child comes across the concepts of tradition and modernism. He learns to accept, to recognise, to respect the tradition, anyway leaving a space in the mind free for the creation of other traditions making effect on the origins, anyway then recognising the important values to be saved. With the haiku the child has always facing the concept of “responsibility”. He can understand the deep thought of Matsuo Basho (1644/1694): “Don’t follow the marks of the ancients, but what they looked for”.

61 - humanism
Practising haiku keeps a conception of life permeated with spirituality and humanism always present; in this conception the man and the nature aim to reach a syntony with simplicity and humility.

62 - humility
By researching the simplicity, the essentials, the deepness, the observation of the nature, the discipline of the syllabic rules, the beauty which is part of the small things, the effort in not judging and in looking at the things for what they really are, the haiku trains to the dignified humility which become richness and awareness of existing.
We can state there are then a lot of contents and values children meet during their haiku process.
Often the adults think these values are excessive and difficult for the children; anyway this is only due to the fact grown up people have difficulties in considering the children as our possible real teachers.
The children have the necessary sensitiveness to face what the haiku poetry is composed by.

The list of the motivation is the result of an analyse made to explore in details all the slightest implications of the haiku poetry. In the concrete reality of a lesson the listed arguments become active and act in a complex way; often a lot of them are in synchrony at the same moment.

Naturally, a course of twelve meetings is held in a form suitable for the age of the children, and every lesson and information is structured and led with the form of the DOWEL DIDACTICS.
You maybe would like to ask me what the DOWEL DIDACTICS is.
You are right. Anyway I guess I have no time anymore.
 In case, we will talk about it in a next occasion.

Pietro Tartamella

Cascina Macondo - Haiku Poesia del Futuro - Seconda Conferenza Italiana Haiku
domenica 28 giugno 2009,  Circolo dei Lettori, Torino - Italy






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