Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sanae, Senryu Poet: Her Life in 5-7-5

I have been introduced this week to a very inspiring book, recently published by Azalea Books, of the Senryu poetry of Shizue Harada, whose pen name was Sanae.

Sanae, Senryu Poet: Her Life in 5-7-5, is edited by her daughter, Aiko Uyeki. The book also features beautiful haiga images by Sanae's granddaughter, artist Amy Uyeki. Haiga images are visual companions to poetry rather than illustrations.

Senryu is similar to Haiku in structure - one line of five syllables followed by a second line of seven syllables followed by a final line of five syllables - but differs in terms of subject matter. Haiku focuses on a fleeting moment in nature while senryu is about the human condition and is often funny.

Here is Sanae's senryu about coming to America in the 1920's to meet and marry her husband in an arranged marriage:

A single photo
Clutched to my bosom; on this
My future depends.

Wonderful, isn't it?!

Aiko Uyeki and Amy Uyeki will be reading Sanae's poetry and showing Amy's haiga images at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 6th. After that, a workshop will focus on writing senryu and participants will try it themselves.
The whole event is free and open to the public.

Addendum: I've been asked where the book may be purchased. You may buy it here.


  1. Annie, your dedication to your your blog is commendable. And very interesting subject matter. Thanks for introducing us to senryu. I hope to be able to attend to workshop in November.

  2. Hi Richard,
    Thanks for commenting here. I've been trying to write a senyru... nothing good yet! Missed seeing you, Maria, Marcia and Lee on the Hill this morning... but it was the first time out there for me this busy week.

  3. Glad to know the distinction between haiku and senryu. (And the one about night blooming jasmine, I have a SONG about that! Off topic.)

  4. Is it a song your a cappella group sings?