Writing Prompt: Ginko Walk & Haiku

When I was pursuing my MFA in Writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts, one of the faculty members, Jody Gladding, gave a lecture on the practice of the ginko walk. Years later this remains one of the most inspiring and memorable writing exercises I’ve ever undertaken.

The idea is to take a walk, alone or in a group, in total silence. Bring a notebook and a writing utensil and walk for at least thirty minutes, stopping to record your observations: details of the natural world, sounds heard during the walk, the feeling of the wind or sun on your skin, etc. Try to get close to natural elements that you don’t normally pay attention to and experiment with describing them. If you live in a city, do the same with manmade elements. Get up close and personal with the asphalt, the brick wall of a warehouse, or the underside of a dumpster. Poetry can be found anywhere.

When your walk is complete, return to your writing station and create a haiku (or seven) out of your materials. The following are some good books to use for reference in the construction of a haiku. (And at least one of them is free right now!)


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