Writing a haiku every day for twenty years — in Esperanto


EOStephen D. Brewer didn’t start out to be an internationally known Esperanto-language haiku poet. He didn’t even know much about haiku at first– just what most of us learn about haiku in school. But now he is the author of three books of Esperanto haiku. (What is Esperanto? http://esperanto.org/us/USEJ/world/index.html)

What started him out was that he heard of Esperanto, an invented international language, and thought the concept was cool. He learned it, but then got too busy to practice it much. So, haiku. A haiku a day— not serious haiku at first, but an effort. Which led to learning more about haiku, and publication, and authorship. Persistence paid off.

I don’t write an Esperanto haiku every day. In fact, I’ve only ever written one haiku in Esperanto, plus two free-verse poems— with English translations, of course. But I am trying to write a poem every day— if not haiku, then senryu, sijo or free verse. This morning I wrote my first tanka— another Japanese form, like haiku.

This is how becoming a writer happens. You write every day— even if it’s something you don’t think anyone wants to read. Even if you are an Aspie or autistic and you don’t think you can ever communicate anything with others very effectively. But you keep it up, year after year, building your skill, and then the day comes when you can look back on a record of achievement.


Want to learn to write haiku in Esperanto? Go to the Lernu! web site for free Esperanto lessons. http://en.lernu.net/ When you have studied for three months or so, buy Wells’ Esperanto dictionary and The Haiku Handbook by William J. Higginson, and get started. If you want to share some of your best Esperanto haiku, you can come back to this blog and post it as part of a comment on a poetry-related post. Or you can post it on Twitter using hashtags #Esperanto and #hajko so Esperanto speakers can find it.

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4 thoughts on “Writing a haiku every day for twenty years — in Esperanto

  1. I had forgotten about esperanto – thought it was dead in the water. I wonder how many people use it to communicate. I’m still struggling with Italian, so sadly will have to give it a miss.

  2. Maisie, the newspapers love to write ‘whatever happened to Esperanto’ stories as if there were not a few million people speaking it and thousands attending the annual Esperanto conference. I guess a reporter can’t believe Esperanto is real since it’s a grassroots phenomenon rather than a government program.

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