Sunday, November 9, 2008

Being a Sonnet or Haiku

Once I had a brilliant British professor who required us to deduce pages and pages of the most intense philosophical work into a 250 word precise. Initially, upon hearing the weekly assignment, I thought it would be the most difficult thing to do. Loving an intellectual challenge, I began to immediately think of the many possibilities of the task before me, but nothing compared to the process itself, one that required a stepping outside of self in order to understand what another is saying precisely.

How would I deduce such oeuvres into such brevity and keep their essence? The professor and I quibbled often. He was especially hard on me so much so that I thought he hated me. He did not. As I worked on the precis, I came to love them as they helped align my understanding of the text with the author's. (This assignment also helped later to deduce any writing whether business or scientific.) The precis' benefit was in the process of thought formulation that eliminated the unnecessary, keeping the barest of sentiment, yet the fullness of intent.

While I so value the precis, there is something to be said for longevity too and its ability to foretell yet other sides of understanding and sides of you, sides that perhaps aren't revealed in fewer lines. There is something to be said for storytelling that creates many pictures. More lines may give layer upon layer of further insight into the writer himself or even send you, the reader, down another path of greater understanding of you.

I love both the sonnet and the haiku.


David Porter said...

Beautifully stated! I have this cute shirt that makes me smile.

Haikus are easy
But sometimes they don't make sense

Many Blessings Judith

judith ellis said...

David - Thanks.

That's TOO FUNNY! I'm laughing hysterically!!!

Blessings also to you.