Haiku Notes

Kanji_Haiku1)      Haiku should be written in three lines of 10-17 syllables total (5-7-5).  While Japanese haiku contains 17 stops/syllables, the translation from Japanese to English is difficult and incomplete sometimes.  Haibun should contain five lines of roughly 31 syllables (5-7-5-7-7)

2)      A reference to seasons or kigo should be included.  Some write with the traditional Japanese kigo while others find seasonal words and images for their own country/region.

a)      Line 1=When (short line)

b)      Line 2=Where (long line)

c)      Line 3=What (short line)

3)      To make the haiku more immediate, try to write in the present tense.

4)      Commonly haiku are about everyday events in nature or human life.  Try to choose events that are moments of clarity or understanding.  Haibun should be more formalized events or images of politics/religion/morality.

5)      Share the events or imagery that caused the emotion within yourself and not the emotion you felt.

6)      Images should be balanced for either contrast or harmony to give the effect wanted.  Reduce the number of images or imagery to the absolute minimum for full effect.  Dividing the haiku into 2 lines/1 line from an imagery point of view is helpful.

7)      While titles and rhyme are usually avoided in haiku along with metaphor, simile and most other rhetorical devices, using them sparingly can often add to the effect.

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