Thursday, 28 August 2014

The Book of Proverbs in Haiku


My first full encounter with the Proverbs as part of my daily life was again through listening to the Daily Audio Bible. Each day there would be a proverb and quite often they would be the most powerful reading but I also noticed that often if there was a more weighty passage then I would be caught thinking about that and the Proverb would just go over my head. I decided to listen to the DAB proverb podcast in the hope that there wold be time and space to sit with the proverb but instead it was a whole chapter read in a 5 minute session. This is a great way of listening to the proverbs in a month but it felt rushed.

I realised that this is often what happens when we approach the Proverbs. They become lost in their anthologised format and drown among each other or we see the full list and try to gorge ourselves on a whole chunk instead or siting with the single proverb for a while.

It seemed to me that the Proverbs were a lot like the short form Haiku poems from ancient Japan which were short, pithy and full of observation and wisdom but contained in only 17 syllables. I wondered whether the proverbs could be translated into the haiku format and so I started to experiment and eventually I kept working through the entire book of Proverbs.

The work on this book was different from Song of Songs. Instead of translating from source I armed myself with a variety of existing translations and dictionaries I set condensing the proverbs into haiku.

I learnt so much in writing this book and it was a great opportunity to write a lot of haiku. So many of the proverbs were surprising and full of wisdom. After I released the book I had a really good response to the book.

I have since thought about how I might get the book published. I would love to see it in print and to see it reach a wider audience but at this time I don't know it that will happen or if that is the future for the book. Having looked into it a bit it seems that the Christian publishing world of poetry is not much different from the non Christian world of poetry and even If the book did get into print I'm not sure if it would mean that it would find a much wider audience. There are more possibilities for this in the US with things like Createspace and Lulu but not being in the US and having a US tax code seems to be a hurdle.

Hopefully I will find a way. Any ideas let me know though...

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