Japanese Poetry Workshop at Gables


Jake Paz

Creative Writing students wrote authentic Japanese haikus with professor Omar Figueras.

Jake Paz, Staff Writer

Omar Figueras, an English professor at Miami-Dade College, visited Creative Writing students on Feb. 20  and taught them the meaning and origins of various Japanese poetry styles. The workshop took place in Ms. Zaldivar’s room during eighth period.

Figueras focused his presentation on the Haiku style of poetry, which follows a very strict and formulaic structure of three lines; the first and last consisting of five syllables and the middle consisting of seven. Variations of the haiku include the Japanese Haiku, American Haiku and (class favorite) the Hialeah Haiku.


Figueras began by showing the class a series of famous Japanese haikus, along with supplementary images that convey what the poem is trying to depict. The students were in awe of how poets were able to convey strong emotions and images with very few words.

Students were also shown photographs taken at the tumult in Ferguson, the Je Suis Charlie solidarity marches and other protests from around the world. By doing so, Figueras inspired students to write haikus relating to protests and ideas worth fighting for.

The truth buried deep, Escapes to lightning in mouths, Burns first then brightens.

— sophomore Amy Ransom

At the end of the workshop, Figueras gave the students copies of the novel When the Emperor was Divine as a reward for being such an outstanding audience.