Colin Stewart Jones
Is it possible to write authentically when writing in response to prompt?
Yes, just as it’s possible to write inauthentically without prompts.
The prompt is just a trigger. The answer is YES! I always write authentically. And it comes to me easy. After all, we all have some associations with a given word, and we have the present as well! It’s simple—just look around and VOILA!
I think, like Freddy said, the prompt is/can be a trigger. Something about it resonates within us from the prompt (sometimes). . . . However, I do think it’s more difficult to be authentic if one sticks strictly to the prompt.
A prompt, is just another source of ideas. Why does it matter where the inspiration comes from? It’s what you do with it.
Define “authentic.” If the prompt is of a nature you have no connection with, an item you are unfamiliar with, you have to research it. Read about it, look at it, then construct a response based wholly on your new found knowledge. You have no choice.
It is not possible to write inauthentically. Just because the language you use doesn’t resonate with me, doesn’t mean that it didn’t resonate with you. Just because my ear has been trained and boot-camped, doesn’t mean the active expression of an untrained mind is somehow false! What could be more honest, more actual, more authentic, than being a beginner? What does the amateur have to teach the expert? It is still your mind, your mind your mind your mind, and whatever comes out of you is true true true.
Yes, is “authentic.” in the moment or in memory . . . However, often I just make up a scene for the prompt, also I am inspired by other poets’ post and i write my response.
Heart will strip naked. The language is a prompt to the real prompt. Not a question about authenticity, just about being trigger-happy. Go ahead. Make My Day.
Yes, but sometimes I think prompts make my writing forced. I’ve written some good haiku in response to prompts, but I’ve also written some crap.
Edgar W. Hopper
Yes, of course. For those of us urban dwellers who don’t always have a nature or otherwise natural experience that acts as a trigger the prompt can serve as a stimulus that allows for authenticity. I don’t pretend to know what is meant by authenticity in haiku, I just feel that, for me, crafting an acceptable haiku is difficult no matter the source of inspiration.
I agree with Hi-Young: a prompt to the real prompt.
B Fay Wiese
Something always “prompts” one’s writing, whether it is a word that we go to a site to retrieve, or a walk outside, or a rainstorm we watch, or a friend or loved one dying, or a massive disaster, or any other experience. The quality of our thought determines the authenticity of our writing, not where the idea for the writing came from.
I find a way to make the prompts dredge up an organic thought or observation. The authenticity of the moment may be in question (as in, did I really see that sunset?) but the image itself can be authentic. As in most poetic forms (or indeed in literature in general) fictional details do not necessarily negate authenticity, nor does being faithful to life observation make an event ring of truth. It is less about authentic being real and more about authentic driving a reaction in the audience.
Yes. I try to let the unfamiliar prompt take me to a new way of interpreting what I see/observe. If I can’t bring my own experience to it somehow, I usually skip it.
Q: Is it possible to write authentically when writing in response to prompts? Answer + 2 cents: Of course, with varying degrees of success, absolutely. In much the same way as I can feel a completely real/authentic emotion in response to an actor’s portrayal of a character or a singer’s song of joy/pain etc. I don’t require Adele to be dumped by her boyfriend before every concert, nor does Disney have to really shoot Bambi’s mom ;) for me to “really” feel that emotion of loss. I think some (left-brained haiku supremacists who only watch documentaries, hate popular culture and anyone born after the Edo period !?!) have a hard time with subjectivity, while others have a better ability, and are more willing, to put themselves into the moment and see/believe(suspend disbelief) what(ever) they are shown, told . . . A balance between the two would be ideal, but you can’t, and surely shouldn’t please all the people all the time . . . hence sub-genres and all the wonderful diversity.
Basically, yes, it is possible to write authentically when writing in response to prompts, because they (the prompts) would, to my understanding, represent authentic writing only when you yourself as a writer would like to see your masterpiece written or done, and in it there’s an authentic feeling, felt by the reader, whether it is with reference to a personal life experience or not. Sometimes for me the only way to get my aging brain to work productively is through the given prompts, just like here at NaHaiWriMo, but of course I never forced myself, nor let my fingers bleed writing to prompts, because I already know the outcome- poor quality and often formulaic. Prompted or non-prompted, I think, to get a quality result depends on ones’ writing approach. Well, hope you enjoy my haiku below, wink!
just this red sunset
Yup . . . the same way you respond to the prompts life scripts for you each day . . . ya do what ya gotta do . . .
Terri Hale French
Sure, one can be authentic or inauthentic with or without a prompt.
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”
Something I’ll say about “authenticity” is that it’s a matter of process and product. Good process can help make good product, so writing out of genuine personal experience rather than pure imagination is often reliable, although that doesn’t mean that imagination can’t also come across to the reader authentically. As novelists will tell you, fiction is often truer than fact. Also, the point that something “really happened” does not mean the poem is authentic—one can still write inauthentically about authentic experience. What really matters, ultimately, is the product—does the poem itself come across to the reader as being believable, regardless of how it came to be inspired? If you write about a new moon rising in the sky, that’s simply not possible, so such a poem would be inauthentic (in this case, factually false). But if you’ve never seen or experienced the rock formation known as talus (one of our prompts last month), it is entirely possible to research and project yourself empathetically into such an experience and write a poem that could indeed come across as authentic to readers. Remember that Buson’s wife was alive when he wrote about stepping on his dead wife’s comb.
There are many yet connected ideas of authentic arising here. There is authentic viewed from the point of inspiration, from the process of creation, from the judgement of quality, and from approval by a reader. I don’t see them as the same, but I do see them as connected. Rather like the poem itself is parts gathered and woven into a whole. I suppose each of these could be measured for authenticity. There is also a factor of time. Given some amount of time, there will be a reader, experienced or not, who will appreciate a piece of writing, authentic or not. Quite the hornet’s nest, this question. ;)
Yes. The subconscious is infinitely obliging, and throws up just the right memories, or directs the consciousness to the perfect item in the present environment
Yes. Good haiku are not always about having a haiku moment but are always about nailing a truth or a true moment. Our memory contains a wealth of such moments, we just have to make connections.
Paul David Mena
The best haiku are authentic responses to external stimuli. That the prompts are not of the poet’s choosing is—in my opinion, anyway—irrelevant.