Freezing penguin poets on a winter walk

Posted 16 Jan 2014

in Featured

Poetry from motion. Get winter inspiration with a ‘Ginko’, a haiku walk…

Starved of sunlight. Sepulchrally pale and shivering. More reluctant to be prised from home than a snail from its shell. Podging out on ‘comfort’ foods… For those of us who live in countries where the long winter cold and darkness have truly descended, it’s easy to spend lots of time moaning about the weather – and making the case for why humans really should hibernate… But really, who can blame us – getting up in the dark when your body is begging to stay under the duvet, the all too short hours of light – and the way the cold months just stre-e-e-e-e-tch on, until it feels interminable… And some members have even been facing dangerously extreme weather – particularly snow and record low temperatures in the US, widespread flooding in the UK; and, of course, the deadly opposite of searing heat in Australia.

But as ever, poetry might just be able to help! If you are able to get outside, how about going on a ‘ginko’ – a haiku walk. Try taking inspiration from the season (even if it is melancholy), any changes in the environment; appreciating the detail. You can go yourself, or with a pal or as part of a group…Take notes as you go along on your journey, discuss, or write the haiku right there in situ – you can keep your PoetryZoo Workspace open… You can choose a special date, time in the season, or place – or just observe any particular time or day.  Resa Albojer has a nice piece about how to go about your ginko at rewireme –

Haiku began in Japan and Japanese haiku master Masaoka Shiki recommended ‘shasei’, meaning ‘sketching from life’, to improve a writer’s skills of perception and description. You can record everything about your walk – what you see, feel, smell, touch, think. The haiku might come to you then and there or you can use these ‘fresh’, direct notes as fantastic source material. What seemed like a dreary, depressing day and environment can take on a whole new dimension by taking the time to observe properly.

We’ve started an anthology specifically for haiku done in this way – – let us know if a ‘ginko’ has inspired you to write a haiku. There is already a ‘Haiku’ anthology by PoetryZoo members, and if you haven’t tackled this style of poetry before, there are lots of guides to writing haiku… For starters, try


Gillian K Ferguson, PoetryZoo Keeper

by The PoetryZoo Keeper