Monday, September 04, 2006

Discovering SciFaiku

At L.A.Con IV almost two weeks ago, I think it was Day Three, I dropped by a table promoting the Science Fiction Poetry Association. Nice folks. They loaded me down with lots of free buttons, journals, and chapbooks, which I stuffed into my Cthulhu book bag and promptly forgot about. Well, I finally started plowing through all my Worldcon goodies this past weekend and found that the real treats among all that stuff were the journals and chapbooks from SFPA. The richness of the poetry subculture in fandom is something that had escaped me until now. Whew. Some absolutely wonderful stuff.

Among my favorites are poems called SciFaiku, inspired by traditional Japanese haiku. Much of it follows the familiar 5-7-5 syllable format. Some is looser. But all SciFaiku are tightly written, ultra-minimalist, and elegant. A brief essay titled “The SciFaiku Manifesto,” found online at, says: “Traditional haiku is about nature. SciFaiku is about science fiction. ... Traditional haiku contains a season word — a word which evokes a season, as snow evokes winter or tulips evoke spring. SciFaiku often contain a ‘science’ word that evokes a technology or science-fiction setting: words like space, genetics, robot, or laser.”

Here’s a SciFaiku by John Dunphy that has special meaning for me, since I visited the Nevada Test Site a few months ago:

ex-nuclear test site
a prairie dog peers from its hole
with both heads

Deborah P. Kolodji’s latest chapbook of “speculative haiku,” Red Planet Dust, brims with fantastic images. A few examples:

of the xenophobe wars
tentacle tattoo

red planet dust
covers beta colony
the only green her eyes

rusty plates
finding grandma’s old robot
in the garage

Hmm. I’m tempted to try my hand at SciFaiku.


At 2:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nicely written. Loved the examples. I'll be waiting for the first CongerKu.

At 5:51 PM, Blogger Deborah P Kolodji said...

Hey I hope you do! I can't wait to see what you come up with!

big bang explosion
the CongerKu emerging
from his frontal lobe


Sorry I didn't get to meet you at WorldCon!

At 1:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today I started learning how to write them. Why does she put three syllabs in the first lign instead of five?

Just log in and live
virtual reality
within the network

(there're some more on my blog, question of finding the right tone)


Post a Comment

<< Home