#scicommchall in October: Writing a sky-ku #scipoem with Sam Illingworth!

For this month’s #scicommchall, Dr Sam Illingworth (Senior Lecturer in Science Communication at Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK) would like you to write a sky-ku – this is a short poem inspired by the traditional Japanese haiku and which celebrates the sky.

If possible these sky-ku should also include how your work relates to the sky; it might be that you are an atmospheric scientist working on clouds (easy!), or that you are a marine biologist who spends many months at sea looking at seemingly endless horizons (slightly harder!).

You can read a selection of them here (http://skydayproject.com/sky-ku/), and also find out more about the SkyDayProject which inspired their creation. And if writing a poem in this particular style is too hard, then just abandon the form and write something you feel more comfortable with. 🙂

As always, please do share your ideas with us at #scicommchall!

Find a guide to creating Sky-kus after the cut:

This is a brief guide to creating a Sky-ku for The Sky Day project. Sky-kus are inspired by haikus, and this short guide is written to help you create your own. However, feel free to ignore any of this, and just create a sky-ku of your own! The most important thing is that you convey the brilliance of the sky and that you have fun in the process. 🙂

Here’s a five-step guide to creating your own sky-ku:

  1. Pick a fact about the sky. The Sky Day project has a fantastic collection of these that have been provided by professor Don Wuebblesif you need inspiration.
  2. The sky-ku should have three lines. Don’t get overly worried about the number of syllables in your sky-ku. There is a great article herewhich tells you why you don’t need to worry about syllables.
  3. If you are still worried about syllables then use this basic formula: line 1 has 5 syllables; line 2 has 7 syllables; line 3 has 5 syllables.
  4. Break the poem down into two parts – a setting (on line 1) and a subject and action (on lines 2 and 3).
  5. A sky-ku must always make reference to the sky (either literally or metaphorically).

Here’s a couple of examples to get you started. All facts courtesy of Professor Wuebbles.

Fact
Heat waves have become more frequent globally since 1900 and in the United States since the 1960s, while extreme cold temperatures have become less frequent.

Sky-ku
An asphalt puddle –
The reflected frozen pearls
Melted in the heat.

Fact
The incidence of large forest fires in the western United States has increased since the early 1980s and is projected to further increase in those regions as the climate warms, with profound changes to regional ecosystems.

Sky-ku
A veil of lightning;
Guarding vessels of the storm
Cannot quench its flame.

If you have any questions or just want to share your sky-kus with someone else then please feel free to email Dr Sam Illingworth (s.illingworth@mmu.ac.uk) or connect with him on Twitter (@samillingworth) at any time!

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