Young Poet

13th November 1998 at 00:00
Haikus are great for the poet, because they give pressure of form without worry about metre and rhyme. You have only to be able to count. By the same token, they're not so great for the reader because you can't hear the number of syllables. Unless, like Jack O'Hare's, there's a pattern there as well. Haikus are great for the poet too because you can finish a whole poem in 17 syllables; but then again for the reader they can seem merely thin, incomplete. Unless like Jack O'Hare's they present a vivid picture which is big in figurative potential. Then they're concise but act like a paper flower opening in a tumbler of water. When, as in Jack O'Hare's, the end-line words are given rhythmical prominence, and it's those words that carry the figurative potential, you've got a real poem.

Ann Sansom

UNTITLED HAIKU

Silently shadows

Walk through yellow corn fields

To find the old church.

Jack O'Hare, aged 14, receives 'The New Poetry,' edited by Michael Hulse, David Kennedy and David Morley (Bloodaxe). Submitted by Andrea Hazeldine of Harris City Technology college, London SE19, who receives a set of Poetry Society posters with teacher's notes. Please send students' poems to 'The TES', Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY. Ann Sansom is writing tutor at Doncaster Women's Centre and is a part-time lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University. her collections include 'Romance' (Bloodaxe)

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