Do You Petku?

Lee WardlawLee Wardlaw is my guest poet poster today.
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Your tummy, soft as

warm dough. I knead and knead, then

bake it with a nap.


Haiku is…

  • pronounced HI-koo
  • a non-rhyming form of poetry that originated in Japan during the 9th century
  • the shortest form of poetry in the world!

Haiku are…

  • only three lines long, with a total of 17 syllables: 5 in the first line, 7 in the second, 5 again in the third
  • focused on a moment in nature. They also usually feature a kigo or season word
  • always written in present tense

Haiku will…

  • paint a picture in the reader’s mind
  • turn an ordinary moment into something extraordinary
  • surprise you with a feeling of a-ha! or ahhh…

So what is a Petku?
Simple! It’s a haiku poem written about your pet or favorite animal.

How to Write a Petku

1. Observe
Sit or stand quietly and watch your pet in action: sleeping, playing, eating, running, etc. Pay attention to every detail. (If your pet is not with you, close your eyes and observe a memory of it in action.)
2. Use your Senses
As you observe your pet, think about what you see, hear, smell, touch, and taste. (Think, too, about what your pet might be seeing, hearing, smelling, touching or tasting!)
3. Feel
What kind of mood are you in? Does your pet stir up any emotions within you? What are you feeling? What do you think your pet is feeling?
4. Take Notes
Jot down words to help you remember what you’ve observed and felt.
5. Write!
Describe your pet and what you observed in three short sentences. Write in the present tense, as if the moment is happening right now. Remember to use five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five again in the third line. (If you prefer, you may create a ‘What am I?’ Petku.)
6. Revise!
Read your poem aloud several times. Does it paint a picture for the reader? Do you think your reader can see, hear, smell, taste, feel the moment as you do? If not, think of words that are stronger, more vivid, expressive.
7. Repeat!
Read and revise your poem again and again until you think it’s the best it can be.
8. Illustrate
Using your best handwriting, write your poem on a sheet of beautiful paper. Then beneath it, draw a picture to illustrate your poem.
Poem above: © Lee Wardlaw, 2011, from Won Ton – A Cat Tale Told in Haiku
illustrated by Eugene Yelchin | Henry Holt BFYR

Recent Comments

  • Joanna
    April 9, 2012 - 7:29 am · Reply

    I have never petkud, but I am about to, twice, as Fudge and Marmite both deserve their moment of poetic glory. Thanks Katie and Lee for this great idea, which I am about to email to some of our primary teachers!

  • Renee LaTulippe
    April 9, 2012 - 9:34 am · Reply

    Love this writing exercise! Like Joanna, I have never “petkued,” but I think I will RIGHT NOW in honor of my former black kitty, Luca:
    She bats coins, spins dimes,
    makes them dance like her eyes, those
    glinting silver spheres.
    Thanks for the great interview, youse guys!

  • katie
    April 9, 2012 - 6:03 pm · Reply

    The first week of April I was away on vacation – I can’t wait to try all these amazing poetry styles! And especially use them at school visits!

  • Ms. Lee Wardlaw
    April 10, 2012 - 6:23 pm · Reply

    So glad to hear that some of you of petku-ing! Renee, I love your poem about Luca. I can see him! And Joanna, visit my website for a link to my teacher’s guide for Won Ton – A Cat Tale Told in Haiku, which recently won the 2012 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award. Best fishes and warmest purrs, Lee

    • katie
      April 10, 2012 - 6:29 pm · Reply

      I had a school visit today and told them about my month of poetry posters. I mentioned “Do You Pet-ku?” and the teachers gasped – and then got excited about doing it in class!

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