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A Xiaoshi for Xander’s eXcellent Panda Party

Today’s form is called the xiaoshi, a form from China inspired by the haiku. My book for the letter X is adorable, to say the least, and coincidentally, also related to China..

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The Xiaoshi Poetic Form

Today’s form for the letter X is the xiaoshi from 1920s China.

So What is the Xiaoshi?

The xiaoshi poem “小池” translates to little poetry (xiao meaning little and shi referring to poetry) and it was a popular form in the 1920s, so it is a pretty modern Chinese poetic form. It was inspired and influenced by the haiku, and helps present seemingly disconnected or unrelated yet vivid images together in short poems. It is normally written as a quatrain.

The Xiaoshi’s Characteristics

So the xiaoshi’s elements are that it is:

  • most often written as a quatrain
  • a poem that presents disconnected or unrelated images together

h/t and further reading

My Xiaoshi Attempt

I am not sure I succeeded in one aspect of this form – disconnected images.. since in the eyes of many Indians, a cup of chai goes hand in hand with a ParleG biscuit! But…. it is “little poetry” with each line presenting a different image, so….

Chai-ya Geetmala
That ParleG biscuit
That warm, so warm cup of chai
Sounds of nostalgia
A smile in my heart
, in my heart
~ vidya tiru @ ladyinreadwrites

NaPoWriMo’s Day 28 Challenge: Today’s (optional) prompt is to write a concrete poem. I attempted it using the xiaoshi I wrote here today.. a little off-prompt as I did use other tools to help portray some of them (especially sounds of nostalgia)

A Little Background

Parle G biscuits are a part of my childhood. It was (and still remains) that go-to snack, the one to satisfy hunger pangs, the perfect thing to dip into a cup of hot chai, filter coffee, or simply anything actually! The little girl on the pack, like Morton salt’s girl with an umbrella is an icon and instantly recognizable (at least for Indians everywhere!) And as for the sounds of nostalgia, the title also makes a reference to that – Binaca Geetmala was a radio program on All India Radio (Vividh Bharati) that I grew up listening to.. All of these items, either together, or by themselves are always sure to bring a smile to my heart…

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The Book

Xander’s Panda Party

Title: Xander’s Panda Party
Author: Linda Sue Parks  
Illustrator: Matt Phelan
Publishers: Clarion Books (September 3, 2013)
Genre:  Children’s Zoo Books/Children’s Poetry (3– 8 years, and up)
Source: Library

The zoo’s paucity of pandas doesn’t impede Xander’s party planning for long. He decides to invite all the bears. “Calling all bears” soon evolves into “Calling all creatures.”

I love Linda Sue Park’s writing, and when I saw this book, I knew I had to read it simply because of the author! Of course, the delightful cover art and the fact that this is one of the few letter ‘X’ poetry books I came across added to the factors of me reading it. But, Linda Sue Park’s name would have still made me pick it up, no matter! And she delivers a delightful, joyous romp of a read through Xander’s Panda Party!

Xander decides to throw a party, and when he realizes he is the only panda at the zoo, starts expanding the guest list (and keeps expanding it) to ensure he has guests, because a party of one, as you know, is no fun. The rhymes are delightful and Park manages to include so many animals (and rhymes for them) in this book so effortlessly. And Matt Phelan’s whimsical paintings are simply adorably emotive and expressive.

Overall, a sweet, sweet read that is a delight to read and has a wonderful message as well – that of inclusion. Don’t forget to read the Author’s Note at the end of the book.

Get it here

Check out Park’s Prairie Lotus (a heartwarming middle-grade historical novel in verse) and The One Thing You’d Save (a sweet, sweet read for all ages).

And Now, the End of This Post

Dear readers, have you read the featured book? Or any similar reads? I would love to hear your thoughts and recommendations. What do you think about the xiaoshi form? Will you attempt it yourself?

Previous posts for these challenges (the A2Z, NaPoWriMo and UBC) are in links below.

Day 0  Day 1 – A  Day 2 – B  Day 3  Day 4 – C  Day 5 – D  Day 6 – E  Day 7 – F  Day 8 – G  Day 9 – H  Day 10  Day 11 – I  Day 12 – J  Day 13 – K  Day 14 – L  Day 15 – M  Day 16 – N Day 17  Day 18 – O  Day 19 – P  Day 20 – Q  Day 21 – R  Day 22 – S  Day 23 – T  Day 24  Day 25 – U Day 26 – V Day 27 – W

Linking up to BlogChatterA2ZBlogging from A-to-Z April ChallengeNaPoWriMo, and the Ultimate Blog Challenge

12 thoughts on “A Xiaoshi for Xander’s eXcellent Panda Party

  1. Vidya, I am really enjoying your poetry and all I am learning about these forms, many of which I was completely unfamiliar with. Thank you for teaching me! Also, I haven’t read the featured book but oh my goodness does it sound adorable. I’ll take a look around at my library next time I’m there!

    1. Thank you Marysa! The poetic form itself (xiaoshi) is simple – just four lines of seemingly unrelated images.. I added on the concrete form challenge to it from NaPoWriMo’s prompt for the day ..:-)

  2. Xiaoshi is absolutely new to me. A lovely recollection of Parle G. I have a story around this from my childhood but that for another day. I loved what you did with the concrete poem. I am amazed at how you shaped up every single line. Loved the biscuit with Parle G in the centre. Cleverly done.

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