Today, at the CCCC in St. Louis, I had the opportunity to learn about dekaaz from the inventor, Rachel Bagby. Simply put, dekaaz is a poetic form similar to haiku. The basic format of a dekaaz is ten syllables on three lines. The first line has two syllables, the second has three syllables, and the third and final line has five syllables. After you write your dekaaz, you are supposed to speak it to someone.
According to Rachel's own website, Dekaaz is…
a new poetic form
a wisdom-capturing channel
a game of wordplay + impromptu oration
a brainstorming trigger for divine inspiration
a portal to proverbs, power, or simply the Truth
you new favorite tool in the quest for expression
What I like about dekaaz is its function in invention. Part of composition studies' focus is on how we come up with ideas, what in this field is called invention. Writers often refer to this invention process as the "Eureka" experience. However, as anyone who struggles to come up with an idea knows, this "out of nowhere" process isn't very reliable. So, I like methods that allow for coming up with ideas in a more predictable fashion, such as in brainstorming, free-writing, or in starting with a topic. Dekaaz is another method that provides sparks for new ideas...
The nice thing about dekaaz is that it opens up the idea channel in our mind in a way that merges reason and emotion. You have to think poetically and succinctly at the same time. Haiku also does this, but the form itself is so part of common thought, I believe its form in itself doesn't generate as much surprise as the newer poetic form of dekaaz.
Okay, after all this, what does a dekaaz look like?
Here's an example with the syllables made apparant...
op-ens ma-ny minds
The neat thing about dekaaz is that the possibilities are endless--here's another example of a dekaaz...
moves her now
living beyond time
Again, each Dekaaz has ten syllables in three lines:5 syllables in the third
If you want to learn more, Rachel has a facebook page for dekaaz where you can see other people experimenting with the form and add your own dekaaz. I would love for people to leave their own dekaaz on my page or tweet it to @fatdaddysfarm with the hashtag #dekaaz