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Summarizing life in 5-7-5 syllable patterns can be addictive. Were you at the NWPPA Communications and Energy Innovations Conference when every session was introduced with a haiku? It was amazing. Let’s face it: many communicators have a thing for short, sweet, and punchy poetry.

To celebrate #NationalHaikuPoetryDay, here’s a haiku just for you!

Stuck? Try a poem.
Haikus can be addictive.
Writers’ block beware.

Kathy Ursprung

Northern Wasco County PUD freelance writer Kathy Ursprung knows the creative power of haikus. When Kathy finds herself feeling pressure, she has an unconventional way to calm her nerves and focus her writing. She writes poetry.

“I write a haiku when I’m blocked, when I’m trying to reduce anxiety, or if I’m overthinking things,” shares Kathy.

“Writing poems takes me into a different mindset. I’m less stressed about the content of the story and focus instead on the structure of the story. I relax. Then I start writing my feature again.”

Haikus are Japanese poems in lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables, often juxtaposing 2 ideas. Kathy began using the poetry style for journal entries.

“I’d summarize my day in verse, or a random thought might lead to a poem,” she says. “Eventually it carried over to my freelance writing.”

Kathy’s used the tactic for 4 or 5 stories to date. Here’s a haiku Kathy wrote for her October 2018 feature, A Need for Speed.

FUNNY CARS
Five-second quarter
Burning rubber, red-hot flames
Riding a rocket.

“It’s fun to use poetry to summarize a story,” says Kathy. “It helps me quit overanalyzing things. If I really like the story and the people I interviewed, I want to do a great job for them. Poetry simplifies everything.” 

For eight years, Kathy tightened copy as managing editor at The Dalles Chronicle in The Dalles, Oregon, then joined the Port of The Dalles as a marketing and communications specialist. She’s been a Ruralite writer since 2015. 

To get poetry tips from Kathy or ask her about writing availability, you can reach her by email.