Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hi Ku

Many of you know I've written a book, Tuesdays with Mantu, My Adventures with a Nigerian Con Artist. But did you know that a year after publishing that I was asked to write another book that coincidently featured an African-American man on the cover?

It was a brand book for Uncle Ben's Rice. A short-handed guide to the brand, the story of Ben and more than anyone could ever want to know about rice.

Towards the end of the book I wrote some Haiku about the Water Buffalo -- the animal that makes it possible for us to enjoy Oryza Sativa.

I don't know if it's legible, but the first Haiku (including a sneaky Simpsons reference) reads:

Mighty, gentle beast
Command the land to yield rice
You are Mister Plow

I'm not particularly big on poetry. With the exception of Bukowski's drunken rants, I find most of it incomprehensible. Maybe that's why I like Haiku. It's short, to the point and non-linear in a liberating way.

Plus Haiku manages to release the author from all literary criticism. Admit it, you read the poem with your fingers and counted out the syllables...5...7...5. In fact, the proper syllable count seems to be the only legitimate criteria for judging Haiku.

And that's the way I like my attempts at poetry, with the bar for achievement set really, really low.

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