Four months ago, the category 5 super-Typhoon Haiyan (known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines) devastated much of Southeast Asia, particularly the central Philippines.
Poetic responses to the disaster include two books whose profits will be donated to nonprofit and service groups providing relief for the typhoon survivors.
The project — of which I am a part — has so far collected, via facebook, over 100 poems from people across the world pertaining to the typhoon and particularly to the plight of the survivors. A selection of these poems will be distributed through print or other means to the people in the Philippines who were hit hardest by the typhoon.
The Hawak Kamay project is still ongoing. If you would like to contribute poems to the project, you can do so at the Hawak Kamay facebook. I hope you will.
A poem that I wrote for the Hawak Kamay project is intended to be soft and encouraging to typhoon survivors. This poem is serving two purposes, also appearing in Verses Typhoon Yolanda and thus contributing to disaster relief fundraising.
I'm going to share below my poems in these two books, hoping to encourage you to buy them and provide some cash for disaster relief.
Hay(na)ku for the Survivors
I sent this particular poem to Eileen Tabios, editor of Verses Typhoon Yolanda, because she is the inventor of the hay(na)ku form: a 3-line, 6-word stanza with 1 word in line 1, 2 words in line 2, and 3 words in line 3. Sometimes a poet will use a reversed hay(na)ku — 3 words in line 1, 2 words in line 2, 1 word in line 3 — as I do in the last three stanzas. The form depends on good lineation . . . not just the division of six-word groups into the line pattern, but useful, sense-laden line breaks.
Here is another poem, which I wrote to try and make sense of a heartbreaking story that surfaced from the Philippine disaster. I don't know if the poem succeeds in "making sense" of this personal devastation, but at least I can honor the people who suffered it. The daughter's heroism and the mother's heartbreak are monumental. This poem appears in Surges and thus also contributes to raising funds for disaster relief.
News from Typhoon Yolanda
This poem is also in hay(na)ku, but more particularly it is a hay(na)ku sonnet. This is a form I invented, made up of five hay(na)ku where the last one is squished into two lines (combining the 1-word and 2-word lines) in order to get the requisite 14 lines. The form has gotten some online attention recently, in the hay(na)ku "home" blog and in Eileen Tabios's personal Eileen Verbs Books blog.
I hope this inspires you to pick up both Surges and Verses Typhoon Yolanda and help to provide much-needed money for the Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda disaster relief efforts in the Philippines. Poetry can do much more in our lives than we often consider it does. Let's help poetry do good for people and the world.
Would you please leave a comment below? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Look for a blue link below that says "Post a comment"; if you don't see that, look in the red line below that starts "Posted by" and click on the word "comments."
Tomorrow starts National Poetry Month. Shall we all meet back here? I hope you will try writing a poem every day in April. Ingat — take care, friends.
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