Monday, September 30, 2013

Humor in Poetry

We run in some sort of problems, frustration, and indignation. Humor is the best way to drive them off in order to keep our emotional balance. There's humor in all kinds of writing, even in poetry. In Japanese short form poetry, such poems are called Kyoka, another version of tanka.

Among all my published tanka, two of them, just off the top of my head, have humor in them.

Here is one published in Fire Pearls 2:

I become a beauty
when my sister says,
"your mouth is as big as
Sophia Loren's"

In this poem, I poke fun at both myself and my sister who unwittingly mocks her own sex by embracing the idea that degrades women. In traditional Chinese culture, there's a saying, "A man who has a big mouth (its physical size and thus has nothing to do with the American idiom) will have a feast everywhere he goes. A woman who has a big mouth will eat too much to impoverish her husband." How unfair is this saying! My old-fashioned sister fails to see the sexism in it. Oh, well. She's entitled to what she thinks and what she believes in.

Here's another one published in Atlas Poetica's special feature of "All Hallow's Evening : Supernatural Tanka" :

Halloween Party . . .
wrapped in a green sheet, a foam crown
with a paper torch
I strut like Lady Liberty
who comes from Saigon

This poem is about my partaking of a company's Halloween Party. I had a lot of fun, playing Lady Liberty.

It adds another level of meaning to a poem, be it tanka or free verse, if we inject humor into our poems; the same is true to the other kinds of writing.

No comments: