(Live Workshop) Haiku & Senryu: Rekindling A Sense of Wonder

with Marc Olmsted

haiku and senryu writing class

Appreciating life’s every-day “snapshots” is possible even in private and global stressful times. Get this poetic habit for finding and establishing art in daily routine.

This is a generative workshop that will exam the related Japanese genres of haiku, haibun and senryu (collectively known as haikai) with attention to measure, topics and forms. Though many are familiar with haiku, senryu and haibun are lesser known. Haiku deals with nature.  Senryu takes the same form as haiku but with human nature and its foibles as its subject matter, and haibun is a short prose poem ending with a haiku. Please bring a pocket notebook and pen or pencil, or use your phone.. 

Because these styles are essentially a contemplative art, students will also be grounded in a sense of wonder and appreciation without grasping ( not clinging to that which changes) for proper preparation.

Styles will include the traditional and the modern, including poets who don’t follow the 5-7-5 syllable line most of us learned in high school (Jack Kerouac) and the “American sentence” – a 17-syllable sentence invented by Allen Ginsberg.  Open to all levels from beginner’s mind to advanced practitioner.

Learning and Writing Goals

By the end of this webinar, you will have learned and crafted:

  • A daily poetry practice that takes only minutes
  • How to write a successful haiku, senryu and haikbun
  • Selecting vividness of image rather than generalized or “editorial” language
  • Cheering up in a challenging world with this poetic view
  • The possibility of embracing the bittersweet beauty and loss of constant change

Webinar Schedule

This webinar runs on Zoom from 7-10pm EST. The schedule is as follows:

  • 7-8 pm: Introductions & lecture.
  • 8-9 pm: Read examples of haiku; guided writing exercise
  • 9-10 pm: Share writing, Q&A, and lecture.

Expect in-depth instruction, laughter and energizing discussion.  Anyone who does not want to read what they wrote in class but wants private feedback can e-mail the instructors afterwards.  An on-line journal of some student poetry from the class will be posted on the Writers.com website.

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marc olmsted


Marc Olmsted has five books of poetry and has appeared in New Directions in Prose & Poetry, City Lights Journal, New York Quarterly, Outlaw Bible of American Poetry and a large international variety of small presses. Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Olmsted received the San Francisco Acker Award for Poetry in 2014 along with David Meltzer and Ishmael Reed.

Marc began mindfulness meditation in 1974. Olmsted went on to become a student of Lama Tharchin Rinpoche in 1991 and completed a three-year retreat supervised by this great teacher. Afterwards, as a senior student, he was encouraged by Tharchin Rinpoche to teach at the San Francisco chapter of the Vajrayana Foundation, Last Chance Gompa. In time, Olmsted incorporated simple mindfulness meditation instructions into his poetry classes.

Allen Ginsberg said of Olmsted "...one of the few practitioners post-Kerouac that had picked up on the loose and lucid form that Kerouac had developed." Olmsted's 25 year relationship with Ginsberg is chronicled in his memoir Don't Hesitate: Knowing Allen Ginsberg 1972-1997 - Letters and Recollections. For more on Marc and his work, visit his website.