Friends, we have a guest blogger for today’s Haibun Monday, qbit/Randall – Grace
One’s Self, En-Masse
Photo credit: here
“One’s-self I sing, a simple separate person,
Yet utter the world Democratic, the word En-Masse.” – Walt Whitman
qbit/Randall here as your guest pubtender. Put your face or derrière or other body parts down on the glass of the Xerox and press “copy” one hundred times, and make a collage. OK, no, don’t do that, not worth losing your job. Today’s prompt is called “One’s Self, En-Masse”, by Michael Pettit. It is from the most excellent Practice of Poetry, a collection of writing exercises from “Poets who Teach.”
To paraphrase the book:
Write a description of two or three tight paragraphs in which you describe one particular member or element of a set:
● one sparrow in a flock of sparrows
● one baby in a nursery of babies
● one fish in a barrel of fish
● one scream in a stadium of screams
● one somersault in a series of somersaults
● one Rockette in a chorus line of Rockettes
The challenge is to perceive the qualities of the group, and to distinguish what makes an individual member of that group both a part of it and apart from it. What sets or groups can you observe directly or in your imagination? Aim for clarity and simplicity in your language.
“Perception,” said William Carlos Williams, “is the first act of the imagination.” This exercise is intended to alert you to make distinctions and create particular images. Focus upon concrete particulars, and how they can express your vision to the reader.
Non-fiction in the prose section is generally the norm in Haibun, but alternative realities are welcome. Finish your piece with a Haiku or micro-poem. I ended mine with a micro-poem, so I won’t stipulate that you end yours with a canonical Haiku. Do what sounds/feels right. Use of a Kigo/season word is up to you.
Here’s how to join in:
● Write a haibun based on the challenge and post it to your blog.
● Copy the direct URL and your name into Mr. Linky.
● Post the link to dVerse on your blog and social media sites.
● Stop in the pub to say hello.
● Comment on other poet’s work.
● Have fun!
About our guest blogger: When I was younger I set out to be a poet, which meant (I imagined) that I would need live the life of a poet. So I knocked around the world a bit and lived an appropriately bohemian and dissolute life. Until one day, hungry and playing music in the Paris subway for spare change, I realized that if I gave my only 10 centime coin to the homeless clochard sitting next to me, then I would be the down-and-out person between the two of us, and he could then give it back to me. We could take turns, etc. etc. Which was not at all a low point, but liberating in the way that “well, this is all a dumb plan” can be liberating and I returned home to the US and took up a life of at least outward respectability and industry.