July 18, 2012

17-Syllable, 43-Word Haiku

** You will need a browser that supports animated gifs in order to truly appreciate this blog post **

In an attempt to create a microstiche, I began using my phone to create tiny animated gif poetry (via free apps; do a simple search and experiment to find one you like). My first attempt resulted in this:

Feel free to zoom in to see the animation. I know it's tiny, but I like the micro aesthetic.

The idea was to use the text within a template word as a visual constraint for writing additional words within this template word. In other words, I was trying to either use the words that naturally appear within the "title" word, or "engage" only certain pixels of a letter, in order to produce a letter (punctuation, whatever) that doesn't appear in that spot within the template word.

For instance, there's this:

Again, zoom in if you'd like.

On paper, this microstiche could be titled and written as:




In the microstiche version, however, you get an entire poem (albeit pedestrian in this case, feel free to do better!) all wrapped up into one word. I am a huge proponent of terseness and economical language husbandry, so this is a nice, quick way to experiment.

I am very pleased with how this microstiche has turned out, and I'm sure it has another term for it technically and it's probably been done a hundred times before. But I'm having fun with this, and in Moment Art terms, this is a perfect way to spend only a few minutes a day creating fun little poems. I highly encourage it!

After playing with a few microstiches, I became curious about how much language I could squash into these single words. For instance, how could I expand something like a haiku, so that an entirely new dimension of narrative would appear overtop a constraint of 17 syllables?

Well, it goes a little something like this:

Within each template word of this 17-syllable haiku exists an additional narrative, that allowed me to expand these 17 syllables into 43 words, which are all relevant to the overall story I had in mind when composing the haiku. Additionally, each individual word tells its own story. So as far as being economical, I think I succeeded. I acknowledge that I will need to put more effort in to writing a better haiku, but hey, it's a prototype.

And yes, the fonts are all hand-drawn. I hope some of you get a chance to play with these forms!