The Ingredients of Good Haiku

Cooking up a Haiku

I've done a fair bit of haiku writing over the years, even recently having had a series of designer art pieces built around 30 of my haiku. Even so, I know that I have a long way to go before I can say I am an expert in this form that, on its surface, seems so simple.

At the launch of dark 'til dawn , the collectible art pieces that arose from my haiku, I was asked a number of times to give a rationale for using this particular form on the lamps. There is the easy answer, which is that it is a short form that fits well on the surface of a lamp. But that isn't really the reason I opted to go for haiku on this project. Instead, I feel that there are several things about haiku as a form that suit the type of expression that seemed appropriate for the series.

Many people have the mistaken idea that a haiku is simply a poem of three lines, the first made up of 5 syllables, the second of 7, and the third of 5. This is not only not the most important aspect of haiku, it is not even a requirement at all. While it is true that traditional Japanese haiku follows this structure, that is not always true in English haiku, and is actually not preferred by many of the more accomplished haijin writing in English. The syllable count form just doesn't adapt well to English language, and it can end up losing the essence of what Japanese haiku has always been about in the first place.

So what goes into making a good haiku? For me, there are a few main points that really make or break a haiku:

• the moment

• the image

• the turn

• the season

The Moment

Haiku is a brief form of poetry, and it generally captures a brief moment in time. Ideally, it is akin to a "Zen moment," in which one experiences a sense of enlightenment. In the haiku, the techniques that foster this sense include contrasts, parallels, and associations. It is probably most easily expressed as an "aha" moment.

The Image

Good haiku should paint a picture. It is, like many forms of East Asian paintings, a minimalist image. It gives an outline, casts some light and shadows, and then leaves the reader to fill in the blank spaces through the associations in her or his own mind. It is an image that jumps into the mind rather clearly, but also leaves a lot of space for the reader's own associations.

The Turn

Haiku always needs a turn, or a "cutting" word. This word serves to separate ideas in the stanza. Because of this, it is often the word on which "the moment" hinges, as it sets up the contrast, parallel, or association that is at work in the poem. It functions in such a way as to cause the reader to pause (which is generally a good thing in any reading of poetry). In English haiku, some form of punctuation often plays the function of the cutting word.

The Season

There is some debate over whether a seasonal reference is necessary to good haiku. Generally, I prefer to see the season in the poem. There are, however, some cases in which I can see good reason to allow for the "kigo" (or season word) to be left out. For instance, the word "dawn" often functions in a way similar to a kigo, in that it indicates a passage of time, a setting for the situation of the poem. While it may not be or suggest a particular season, it functions in a way that sets up a similar effect to a more traditional seasonal reference. For me, the effect is sufficient, even if it is not accomplished by the traditional use of a season-specific term.


These four things form the main ingredients for making a good haiku. It is possible to make haiku that follow a 5-7-5 syllable count structure, and it is equally possible to divert from that path. In both instances, if the above 4 ingredients are effectively employed, the haiku will be a success.

The Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Share, and Teach Haiku
The Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Share, and Teach Haiku

a must-read for anyone who wants to write or appreciate good haiku

 

More by this Author

  • Edwin Morgan
    0

    Edwin Morgan occupies a rather elite spot on my list of favourites. He is one of my 3 favourite poets of all time, alongside John Donne and W. H. Auden. While each of the three is quite different, they have in common...

  • Hebrew Poetry in the Old Testament
    10

    I was recently asked to offer a little background of the forms of poetry found in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. Below is a summary of some information that should be useful for anyone looking for an...

  • When Two Worlds Collide:  Poetry and the Visual Arts
    16

    The history of the interaction between poetry and the visual arts is both long and broad, stretching not only far back into history, but also to all parts of the globe we inhabit. In almost every culture, poetry has...


Comments 40 comments

Hmrjmr1 profile image

Hmrjmr1 7 years ago from Georgia, USA

Great Advice for us Haiku wannabes thanks!


Shelly Bryant profile image

Shelly Bryant 7 years ago from Singapore and/or Shanghai Author

Thanks Hmrjmr1!


Sheila Wilson profile image

Sheila Wilson 7 years ago from Pennsylvania

Very well done! I appreciate your mention of my HubPage. I'm glad that you mention the turn. You've done an excellent job of breaking down the crucial elements of haiku.


poetlorraine 7 years ago

great hub bookmarking this


Shelly Bryant profile image

Shelly Bryant 7 years ago from Singapore and/or Shanghai Author

Thanks, Sheila and poetlorraine.

Sheila, I really like your hub on haiku too. It was nice to find it. I only came across it after having written this, but went back to add in the link because I thought it very much worth drawing attention to.


sherrylou57 profile image

sherrylou57 6 years ago from Riverside

I have written a few pieces on Haiku. I love to write poetry. Thank you for the great hub.


Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 6 years ago

Hi Shelly. This has been a very educational hub for me. I've written many haiku poems and have always kept to the rhythm of the 3 lines. To imagine it does not have to follow this guideline, but has 4 other rules changes my view of haiku. Did that rhyme? Is that a haiku?


Shelly Bryant profile image

Shelly Bryant 6 years ago from Singapore and/or Shanghai Author

Hi sherrylou and Debby, and thanks both for stopping in and commenting.

Sherrylou, I'd love to read your haiku. I'll pop by to see if you have any posted here. Did you see my other hub on an experimental form, the 3x3x3? You might like to try it — and I'd love to see the results if you do!

Debby, I think everyone has a similar impression due to the way haiku is taught in our schools in English. The syllable count is actually something that is not really preferred, though, in the most serious English haiku circles today, so it's interesting that this is the thing most people associate with haiku. There are actually many more elements and nuances than I have included here, but this gets a basic picture together. It's amazing to me how this deceptively simple form can do so much in such a short space.


haikutec profile image

haikutec 5 years ago from Bradford-on-Avon

It is possible to write a 575 haiku in English but it's not advisable, and bears no relation to the Japanese 575 haiku which is the duration of 3-5 seconds. English haiku are often around 12 syllables, but I prefer to say they are a six second poem to avoid confusion over syllables, and haiku are never number crunching poems. ;-)

I did receive an honourable mention in one of the big Japanese haiku competitions, in the International Section, for this 575 haiku:

another hot day

a leaking water pipe stopped

by the jackdaw’s beak

Alan Summers

But this is rare, and I'd normally do shorter haiku which retain the shortness of a Japanese haiku e.g.

harvesting moon

the death of a friend’s sister

a lost jigsaw piece

Alan Summers

Asahi Shimbun, Japan (Japan).

A haiku that has proved beneficial to people is this one:

the rain

almost a friend

this funeral

Alan Summers

Azami haiku magazine, Japan No.28 (1995)

all my best,

Alan, With Words

http://www.withwords.org.uk

http://area17.blogspot.com


Shelly Bryant profile image

Shelly Bryant 5 years ago from Singapore and/or Shanghai Author

Thanks, Alan. You've shared some really nice haiku there.

I often use 5-7-5 for my own haiku, even though it is not "required" the way many people assume. In fact, the majority of the poems in my "dark 'til dawn" series (http://hubpages.com/hub/dark-til-dawn) follow the 5-7-5 pattern because that is what most people are used to seeing.

Your poetry shows the importance of the other elements of haiku. That last one is especially beautiful. The kireji is used well, a moment captured, and the poignancy is created by withholding too much "commentary." Very nice.

Thanks for posting those here.


haikutec profile image

haikutec 5 years ago from Bradford-on-Avon

Hi Shelley,

I couldn't locate the haiku you write in seventeen English-language syllables.

I'm not able to comment for the moment because I can't see them, so apologies for that.

I would be interested in seeing your haiku and how you tackle seventeen syllables in an English haiku. In Japan it's a common rhythm so they use 5/7/5 for everything, not just haiku, including jingles, traffic signs, and advertising.

Most people using seventeen English language syllables often pad the poem out, adding redundent words, and often using hanging participles, or a hanging "and" or "the" etc... in order to force a pattern in regards number crunching the syllable count but completely overlooking the syntax, diction, and poetry of the poem.

I was really pleased I happened by accident to do a 575er, but I can achieve the same haiku in fewer syllables and still avoid it being choppy.

Even 575ers can be choppy because a definite or indefinite article or a pronoun have been sliced off to achieve a number target.

Two poems that are really popular with the public, regardless if they know about number crunching a syllable count or not, is the one you mentioned, and another one which is:

lime quarter

an ice cube collapses

over jazz

It's three syllables followed by six, followed by three syllables, but in moraic theory, heavy syllables are analyzed as containing two moras.

Sometimes in the race to achieve a number crunching target of syllables as more important than good poetry or prose, mistakes are made, and confusion is made over phonemes or mora.

For example, is the word "fire" one or two syllables? ;-)

Even Basho broke what was perceived as a rule of 17 'on' (the Japanese language systems don't contain alphabets or syllables), and gendai haiku with no kigo or 'on' sound unit counting are on the increase.

But yes, you picked up on a major point, and that is avoiding "commentary" or too much commentary.

Many attempts at haiku are simply statements, either personal statements that an author forces on their reader, or repeating an aphorism or other common type of catechism.

Alan, With Words

http://www.withwords.org.uk/what.html


Shelly Bryant profile image

Shelly Bryant 5 years ago from Singapore and/or Shanghai Author

Thanks for the insightful comment, Alan. You are a wealth of good, solid thought on the haiku.

You can find a PDF catalog of the dark 'til dawn project here:

http://web.me.com/shellybryant/Site/Home_files/dar...

and a photo gallery of the finished art pieces here:

http://www.slothjockey.com/articles/orourke_rw/dtd...

I have found, in experimenting with English-language haiku, that all of the pitfalls you mention are difficult to avoid at different times. It is hard to make a 'ku flow in terms of language and idea, and to avoid too much commentary, AND to give it that little twist or "aha" moment... all in a short space. It is a form that looks so simple, and yet is so difficult. I think it is more difficult for the reader than most people realize too, as there is (ideally) something to be teased out or pondered over in good haiku.

I love your "jazz" example above too. Very nice work.


haikutec profile image

haikutec 5 years ago from Bradford-on-Avon

Thanks Shelly! ;-)

I'm not convinced by English-language haiku being attempted in English-language patterns of 5/7/5 even though I just received an Honourable Mention from Mainichi Shimbun.

It just happened naturally, and since then I've seen I could make it just as good with fewer syllables.

It's just an urban myth about syllables, the best is to go for a six second long length. Female haiku writers often read a haiku in six seconds, and many male haiku writers read them out in three seconds flat.

It's just not possible to write a seventeen English-language syllabic pattern that reads out within 3-6 six seconds flat.

But thanks for liking the jazz haiku.

I'd love to see some non-575ers at some time from you. ;-)

Alan

p.s. the snow seems to be over for us in Southern England, but pretty bad in parts of the States.

.

virgin snow

a fox makes prints

for the morning

.

Alan Summers

Publication Credits:

1. Icebox, Hailstone Haiku Circle Japan (Christmas/New Year 2010/2011)

2. a little help from my friends (Scribd ePamphlet 12th January 2011)


Shelly Bryant profile image

Shelly Bryant 5 years ago from Singapore and/or Shanghai Author

"Urban myth" is a good description for the syllable count thing. It seems to be a pretty stubborn one. I actually remember being taught as a 4th or 5th grader that haiku is a 5-7-5 poem, with our homework assignment being to write several "haiku" (with 5-7-5 being the ONLY requirement).

I've got several non-5-7-5 'ku coming out soon. I'll link them here when they are published. For now, I need to respect the publishing agreements and not put them online until they've appeared in their respective places. For now, you might like to see one of my haibun in the current issue of Contemporary Haibun Online. The 'ku portion is not 5-7-5:

http://contemporaryhaibunonline.com/pages63/Bryant...


haikutec profile image

haikutec 5 years ago from Bradford-on-Avon

George Swede had haiku of his children refused at school years ago because it didn't fit a number pattern. It was published by top U.S. haiku magazine Modern Haiku a few weeks later.

The teacher then did a sudden turnaround and decided it could be printed in the school year book, or similar, but the child diplomatically turned down the opportunity.

How craxy is it that a child writes a proper poem (which is word based, as most poems are) and that a fine piece of writing was turned down because of something to do with numbers that the teacher was caught up with stopped the poem being published in a school publication? How bizarre.

Maybe two times three isn't 6 or even six, but organophosphates, because only a word can be a number. ;-)

Re your haibun, it reminds me of the evil queen in Snow White, or do I mean another pale femme fatale who's fond of tea. ;-)

Alan


maven101 profile image

maven101 5 years ago from Northern Arizona

Thank you for this penetrating and informative Hub on your personal take on haiku...

I prefer the challenge of the 5-7-5 syllabic meter as it appeals to my sense of discipline and clarity...I've even done 1-2-3 haiku with good result...

The essence of haiku for me is when the first two lines express a divergence that is brought together with the third line...such as:

Caterpillar creeps...

Black Raven waits patiently...

A leisurely lunch...

This taken from my " Winter haiku: Five haiku from my backyard " Hub...

Much of Issa's and Moritake's haiku does not reflect a season at all...simply word pictures of nature and its interactions...

Rated up and useful...Thank you, Larry


Shelly Bryant profile image

Shelly Bryant 5 years ago from Singapore and/or Shanghai Author

Thanks, Larry, for engaging on the topic of haiku. I always love reading the views of different types of poets on any aspect of poetry, whether it be in the reading or the writing of it.

I am not actually opposed to the use of 5-7-5, and I have even confined myself to that form for a whole project in the past (the dark 'til dawn project linked above), mostly because I didn't want the form to distract from other aspects of the project. I don't that that 5-7-5 makes a haiku, though, and that's probably the biggest reason I think it needs mention at all. Most of us learn at a very young age that "haiku is a poem written in three lines, with a syllable pattern of 5-7-5," as if that is the main — or even the only — feature of a haiku.

I suppose that if I had to say what makes the essence of a haiku, the syllable count would not matter, other than to say that it is very brief (17 syllables max). For me, the real key lies in the moment and the turn — which includes what you describe as "a divergence that is brought together with the third line." For me, this diverging/converging pattern is one option for utilizing the concept of the turn. I think there are other uses, such as moving from apparent harmony to a defamiliarization. Either way, for me, the turn and the moment are what really make a haiku. I've heard many people sum these two aspects up by saying that every haiku creates/captures an "aha" moment.

So, though I see the syllable count and the season as important parts of the tradition, neither is really what makes the essence of any single 'ku, in my mind. I know that in the numerous pieces I've written that experiment with the form, I've come up with countless examples that conform to a 5-7-5 syllable count and contain a season reference, and yet still flop. When the "aha" moment is captured, though, it doesn't matter whether there is a seasonal reference or whether the syllables fall precisely into 5-7-5. That's just been my experience.

There are numerous "spin-off" forms from the haiku in English, and I also love experimenting with those. I've even dabbled with creating a form myself that takes the haiku as a starting point, which I introduced in this hub:

http://hubpages.com/literature/The-Threesome

I am all for more experimentation in English haiku, whether it be "bending" the form, or expanding what it might do for us, or even taking off from it into entirely new directions. That's the fun of poetry.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 5 years ago from UK

I have dabbled in haiku and was planning to do some for Valentine's day as inspiration struck me- this was a great refresher on the moment,the image, the turn, the season - you have made it so elegantly simple and understandable. voted up and useful! good luck with your art pieces.


Shelly Bryant profile image

Shelly Bryant 5 years ago from Singapore and/or Shanghai Author

Thanks Docmo! I'll look forward to reading your Valentine's haiku.


haikutec profile image

haikutec 5 years ago from Bradford-on-Avon

Here's a couple of specific verses, one haiku, one senryu, about Valentine's Day:

Valentine’s Day

my wife reads up

on Henry VIII

Publications credits: Blithe Spirit vol.20 no.3 (2010)

Valentine’s Day

a lone christmas star

over the table

Publications credits: Presence #27 (2005)

There's been experimentation with haiku, and pre-haiku aka hokku, since, and even before Basho.

And nowadays gendai haiku is gathering pace, and ground, and is becoming more and more popular in Japan.

Hi Larry, if you haven't read Santoka and Hosai Ozaki, I recommend them. Santoka is even more popular than Issa and Basho who rarely broke the "rules".

There is no official definition of haiku in Japan:

http://www.withwords.org.uk/what.html

I have done the occasional English-language 575er e.g.

another hot day

a leaking water pipe stopped

by the jackdaw’s beak

Award credits:

Honourable Mention, 14th Mainichi Haiku Contest (2010)

But it was more from accident, and as you notice, the syntax is natural: there has been no need to pad out, or make bad line breaks in order to force a 575 construct.

Issa does use both kigo and kidai: "Issa regards kidai as language arising from daily life." and "exemplifies futari-gokoro in his use of kidai.” (Tohta Kaneko)

We have to remember that Issa and Basho (and Buson and Chiyo-ni) were writing hokku (pre-haiku) way before any industrialisation. That didn't happen until the mid-late 1860s when the West demanded oil from Japan (whale oil).

The Japanese language when it became fully developed away from the Chinese language (just like English moved away from French) naturally veered towards 5s and 7s and quite often in groupings of 575 sound units.

The sound units are fairly regularly in length unlike EL syllables, and the sound units are measured by "on". The word haiku is at least three "on" but only two English-language (EL) syllables. Also the Japanese language system(s) don't carry alphabets and syllables, whereas the Japanese use phrase-words, and also use words instead of symbols for their haiku.

So a 575 haiku isn't exactly 575 if you take out the punctuation words. So take for example your haiku:

Caterpillar creeps...

Black Raven waits patiently...

A leisurely lunch...

If you counted your punctuation, even as one EL syllable and not three EL syllables (as ellipsis is), it would be a 6/8/6 construct.

I don't know if you've read Michael's piece on "why not 575" but it's worth reading: http://sites.google.com/site/nahaiwrimo/home/why-n...

Also when I go into schools in particular, it is liberating when children can get away from the number crunching concept of 575, which is mathematical, and get into the creative writing aspect, and learning about good grammar, syntax and natural language. Some incredibly fine pieces have been written away from the urban myth about number focused haiku. My last project, which involved renga verses from Hull in the North of England, had over 3000 contributions of good quality from the public. I know if they were told/instructed it had to be 575ers and 77ers I would not have received so many well written pieces.

I don't have any raven haiku so here's a few crow ones instead. ;-)

Monet’s Haystacks

a group of crows tug

at twilight

Publications credits: Asahi Shimbun, Japan (2010)

floating snowflakes -

the triple caw of a crow

within the tree

Publications credits: Snapshots six (1999); Watermark: a poet's notebook (2004); Mainichi Shimbun, Japan (2008)

powdered snow -

a crow’s eyes above

the no parking sign

Publications credits: The Mie Times, Japan (1999); Haiku International magazine (Japan 1999)

Award credit: Joint Winner, Haiku International Association 10th Anniversary Haiku Contest (Japan 1999)

disturbed crow-

maybe we both invoke a god

in the small hours

Publications credits: Haiku Friends 2 ed. Masaharu Hirata, (Japan 2007)

all my very best,

Alan, With Words

Japan Times awards for haiku and renku


Shelly Bryant profile image

Shelly Bryant 5 years ago from Singapore and/or Shanghai Author

Wow, Alan! That's some great haiku you've shared with us. Thanks for posting those pieces here.

I love the first one, the Henry VIII piece. Nice one!

Thanks also for linking to the "why not 5-7-5" article. I had not come across that one before.


haikutec profile image

haikutec 5 years ago from Bradford-on-Avon

Yes, it's the Henry VIII which is the senryu in fact. Just a fun piece, and a great incident as I do like actual experiences in my haiku (and senryu).

Michael Dylan Welch (Washington State) and myself have often debated why people stick with 575 and don't want to move on. I think it's comforting and safe, because haiku is really a very deep well and you are forever challenged to keep up with the fast developments of which is really a very modern poetry genre.

No one says the ancient art of novels do they? ;-)

MDW has offered hokku in the past to my 1000 verse renga projects, and it was great for English kids to have an American offer them starting verses, and hail from Washington State. They would equate Washington State with Washington DC and the election of Barack Obama, but understood immediately when I said they were two different places. ;-)

Another project MDW and myself were involved with is this anthology: http://area17.blogspot.com/2010/11/fifty-seven-dam...

Good writers from America; Britain; Japan; and Africa.

Ages from 21 years to 101 years old! All proper haiku writers, and 21 year old Caleb from the slum areas of Nairobi, Kenya, Africa, is amazing. He's at college now, and still helps run several haiku clubs for the poor kids. Haiku is a great literacy which is why With Words is so keen to do literacy events.

Alan, With Words

p.s.

As you like the funny ones, here's another senryu:

sci fi film

my partner's belches

interrupt the laser fire

Raku Teapot: Haiku

Book and CD pub. Raku Teapot Press

in association with White Owl Publishing

Book: ISBN 1-891691-03-1 CD: ISBN 1-891691-04-X (2003)


sfrentz06 profile image

sfrentz06 5 years ago from Sterling Heights, MI, USA

Thanks for writing this hub, I haven't written much haiku and would love to practice it much more. Thanks for the tips.


Shelly Bryant profile image

Shelly Bryant 5 years ago from Singapore and/or Shanghai Author

haikutec, thanks for sharing more senryu. You do a great job of bringing out the fun aspect of 'ku. Thanks also for the link to the blog. I have been perusing it as I got time to do so over the past couple of weeks.

sfrentz06, thanks for popping by and dropping a note. I'd love to see how your work on haiku shapes up in the months/years to come!


haikutec profile image

haikutec 5 years ago from Bradford-on-Avon

If anyone would like to know more about how haiku and other Japanese short forms are being written today, go no further than taking advantage of the Snapshot Press sale. ;-)

Snapshot Press has a world-wide reputation for being the best publisher of quality haiku, alongside the best production values superior to bigger publishers: http://www.snapshotpress.co.uk/mailing_list_offers...

Alan


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 5 years ago from Los Angeles

Thank you for the great tips. I am always looking to improve my haiku.


Shelly Bryant profile image

Shelly Bryant 5 years ago from Singapore and/or Shanghai Author

Thanks for the pointer to Snapshot Press, Alan!

Thanks for the comment too, cat on a soapbox. I appreciate it!


maven101 profile image

maven101 5 years ago from Northern Arizona

Shelly...The poet Shelly has writ " Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar."...This is what I search for in my haiku...Alan decries the 5-7-5 meter with the notion that it is too " mathematical ", and limiting in its scope...The discipline I seek in the form is not " comforting " at all...rather, it forces me to focus intensely on the subject at hand in ways that would be unknown were I to simply free-form, without stipulated parameters. This is not " number-crunching ", it is a mind-expanding search for provocative articulation with-in a simple 3 line, 17 sylabic discipline...

The challenge of providing those aspects of the haiku you have mentioned, the moment, the image, the turn, the season, is diminished when anything goes...I do not think that literary relativism applies to haiku...If others must insist that it does, then let them call it something else...Larry


Shelly Bryant profile image

Shelly Bryant 5 years ago from Singapore and/or Shanghai Author

Thanks for coming by again to add to the thoughts exchanged here, Larry.

One of the things I love about the haiku — the whole tradition surrounding it — is the level of experimentation it allows, both in its native language and around the world. I suppose when so much experimentation is going on, there are bound to be countless views regarding what is the most important feature of the form. That, to me, just goes to show how rich this seemingly simple bit of poetry really is.

I do agree, though, that syllable count — whether for the haiku or other forms — is not about number crunching. It can provide a discipline of its own that, when used properly, contributes to the art of the poem. The fact that it often becomes mechanical is more due to a misunderstanding of this aspect of poetry, I think, rather than a fault of the device itself. The same can be true of nearly any device. It becomes mechanical when it is inexpertly handled.


ubanichijioke profile image

ubanichijioke 5 years ago from Lagos

Am truly benefitted. A great work you ve done. Be blessed


Shelly Bryant profile image

Shelly Bryant 5 years ago from Singapore and/or Shanghai Author

Thanks!


how-to-make profile image

how-to-make 4 years ago from India

Thanks for the great tips and the ideas you shared about haiku in this hub.


Shelly Bryant profile image

Shelly Bryant 4 years ago from Singapore and/or Shanghai Author

Thanks how-to-make. I'm glad you stopped in to read and left a comment.


MADMAZAL 4 years ago

HOW DO YOU WRITE A HAIKU


Shelly Bryant profile image

Shelly Bryant 4 years ago from Singapore and/or Shanghai Author

HI Madmazal. I am sure everyone has a process that works best fro him/her, and I suspect that varies from one person to another. I can let you in on my process, and hopefully there will be others who will have something to add.

For me, the beginning of a haiku is usually an image, or more likely a pair of contrasting images. When the picture is in my head of that image (or pair of images), I start trying to find the words that will best bring the same image to the reader's mind. I do not worry about line breaks or any such thing until I have the words that seem to express the image. When I start trying to arrange them in a form that is more recognizably haiku, there will be numerous changes to the words, usually including a fair bit of stripping it down to its barest form.

After that, I put it aside for a while, then revisit it later to see if it still works as well as I thought it did when I first wrote it. Very often, this involves a fair bit of reshuffling too, sometimes a whole rewrite.


Preeshale 3 years ago

My spouse and i helpful to get on top of lifestyle nevertheless recently I've truly piled up a new opposition.


KrisL profile image

KrisL 3 years ago from S. Florida

Hi Shelly, I just realized that I had not commented on this haiku yet, although I believe I link to it. Alan is on Twitter as @haikutec and you might enjoy following him there, if you tweet.


Shelly Bryant profile image

Shelly Bryant 3 years ago from Singapore and/or Shanghai Author

Hi KrisL. Thanks for pointing me to that. I don't tweet, but I do follow Alan's work through other media streams. He's a vibrant part of the haiku community, and I really appreciate his work.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

I have a longing to try my hand at haiku. It sits on my heart begging me to try. Then my mind interrupts " you are afraid you will fail."


Shelly Bryant profile image

Shelly Bryant 3 years ago from Singapore and/or Shanghai Author

I'll be happy to look at anything you come up with, vocalcoach. Just give it a try. You won't fail, but you will get better at it as you go along!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working