Write a series of poems in chōka

Introduction to Classical Japanese Literature

Winter 2020

Jonathan M. Hall (instructor) w/ Kenneth Lee (teaching assistant)


1.A mini-poetry cycle:


Observe the structure of Japanese poetry as you write a series (or cycle) of poems  in chōka (alternating 5 and 7 syllables, but ending with two line of 7 syllables,  tanka (5-7-5-7-7), haiku (5-7-5), or other poetic format. Try to imitate in English the Japanese poem’s avoidance of rhyme or strong stress. You may also consider omitting subjects and verbs… Create 4-5 pages of poetry, but don’t hesitate to use negative space.


2.A mini-pillow book:


For the next two weeks, keep an occasionally daily diary in which you create lists of things organized by emotion or aesthetic. Try to mimic Sei Shonagon’s style of truisms mixed with unique particularities. Occasionally, enter short vignettes that offer observations on how social relations are organized around you. Finally, edit your material so that you can produce 4-5 pages of a personal, but still literary text.


Due:on Tuesday, 3 March 2020.

Choose one of the following two modes to write