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How to Write Haiku Poetry to Help Learning: Explanation of Poem Structure, Advantages, Have a Go & Examples

Updated on July 29, 2017
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Ann is a retired teacher of literacy and EFL (English as a Foreign Language) to multi-national & dyslexic students, having a DipSpLD

Haiku form explained

For those of you who are not familiar with Haiku, it is a Japanese poetry form with

only 3 lines:

  • 5 syllables
  • 7 syllables
  • 5 syllables,

should contain an indication of ‘time of year

and should have a ‘cutting’ word (change of view/surprise), usually in the second line.

It should also make you think!

Have a go at composing your own; think of a subject, describe it as simply as possible but use colourful, unexpected words, maybe juxtaposed, maybe contrasting in different ways. Put together the unusual, like settees and rivers or dogs and skis! It's great fun and you'll be surprised what effective poetry you can create.

Read over each one and see if you can make it crisper, more succinct, play with alternative words. I find that one haiku often gives me an idea for another.

I suppose the trick is to say as much as possible in as few words as possible, whilst creating as much effect as possible. Not that I always manage to do that but it's great fun trying!


Warm Thoughts for a Winter's Day

The sun is ablaze

burning off the mist - bluebells

bask; I smile, captured.

Soothing Sand

My feet too constrained,

the shoes come off. Hot, beaded

grains of sand massage.

Working Waves

The water rushes

into shore, he runs shrieking,

pure joy in his eyes.

Natural Sustenance

Dappled shade it gives,

the full canopy - dripping

drinks of fresh growth rain.

In his Eyes

Trees rustle, sway

and swoop above, his eyes wide

in baby wonder.

Swallow on the wire
Swallow on the wire | Source

Swallows & Starlings

The swallows dart in

magnetic blue twilight - grab

their unwary prey.

Starlings on the wire,

‘Move up, move up, fall in line!

Gossip tweet on air!’

Advantages over other Poetry

Traditional poetry is beautiful and has structure too, of course. However, to appreciate it properly, we need time to read it, quietly, without distraction. It takes even longer to write it; to include all the emotions and descriptions that one wants to convey, to do justice to the poetry and to oneself.

Haiku can be done in an instant; it's so much fun and you can include just as much emotion. It's brilliant for concentrating thoughts during the day, to catch an idea and encapsulate it, to record ideas in almost memo form! It's a good discipline to practise and it's a brilliant way for children to start writing poetry - they don't have to find a rhyme but they still have to conform to some rules.

Part of an Anthology

Use in Teaching

I have used this form of poetry to encourage and help a dyslexic student who, though he had a good vocabulary, had difficulty recognising syllables as well as being able to organise information in his head to put to paper. His general knowledge and his varied vocabulary was channelled so that he had to choose his words carefully to convey exactly what he meant; the results were amazing. He was over the moon - a person who often struggled at school. We put together an anthology which was circulated in school and used for fund-raising.

The key to writing Haiku (or anything else for that matter!) is not to be afraid, to let your imagination go and see what happens. You'll probably be surprised at the result! Good Luck!!

Are you Haiku Happy?

Did you already know about Haiku?

See results

© 2012 Ann Carr


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    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 5 years ago from SW England

      Thanks RandyM. I'm glad you found it useful and I look forward to reading some of your haikus!

    • Randy M. profile image

      Randy McLaughlin 5 years ago from Liberia, Costa Rica

      I enjoyed the article. I have been thinking of doing this art form. Thanks for the technical info. I will attempt this. Voted useful!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 5 years ago from SW England

      Thanks for dropping by, Perspycacious. Have read some of your excellent examples and look forward to reading more.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 5 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Oh, my! How I love to write within the format and confines of the Haiku.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 5 years ago from SW England

      Thank you cherriquinn. I hope you have a go now and maybe we'll read the results! Hope so. You'll find it's a good discipline which can help with any other writing. Thanks for the vote.

    • cherriquinn profile image

      cherriquinn 5 years ago from UK. England. Newcastle upon Tyne

      Great hub! Ive wanted to try haiku but didn't know its discipline.I may try it now, you explained it very well and it is also interesting to learn how it has helped your student with dyslexia. voted up.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 5 years ago from SW England

      Thank you so much for your comment dragonbear. Sorry for the delay in reply; I'm still in France and getting online here is intermittent to say the least (out in the stix!). Back in UK soon. I'm glad I inspired you - look forward to reading some perhaps?! I appreciate your follow. Enjoy your day!

    • dragonbear profile image

      dragonbear 6 years ago from Essex UK

      Great Hub - I've often seen Haiku but never really read about their background. You've inspired me to write a couple of my own - first attempts! Thanks annart.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 6 years ago from SW England

      Hello again Hyphenbird! Thank you for your kind comments. I like your description 'crisp, clean, brief'; it makes one think carefully about word choices! Looking forward to meeting you more in the future and I'll look out for your haiku too!

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      This is a lovely Hub. I love Haiku, even mine. lol I have been guilty of taking liberties with seasons. But I adore the crisp, clean, brief words in a Haiku poem. I can see how it helped your student. That was very wise of you to use it. Your won Haiku are very good also.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 6 years ago from SW England

      Glad I've inspired you alocsin! Let me know how you get on - a sample even? Good luck and thanks for the votes.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Your hub gives me enough info to try this form. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 6 years ago from SW England

      Thank you RTalloni. Good haiku - try doing one with a change of mood at the end of the 7 syllables! It's all good fun :)

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Very nice! I recently took a closer look at haiku via another hubber and actually enjoyed giving it a go. Here's one for you. :)

      mysterious bloom

      bright white with heady fragrance

      lighting the night gloom

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 6 years ago from SW England

      Thanks knottlena, it's good to know I've jogged your memory. Bet you can do plenty of good ones yourself now.

      Great haiku, Winsome! Go to New Zealand and you'll be able to do just that - don't know if they exist anywhere else, must look it up. Interesting to read about that other flower - no wonder it only blooms after 75 years! Keep writing!

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Moonflower I wait

      Breathing the night breezes in

      To catch your first scent

      What a fun flower. It beats the Titan Arum which blooms after 75 years and you don't want to smell it. =:)

    • knottlena profile image

      knottlena 6 years ago from Connecticut

      Thank you. I often wondered what a Haiku was. I was of course told years ago in an English class, but a teenager I tended to not listen well.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 6 years ago from SW England

      Thank you for your kind comment Vinaya Ghimire. It's good to know which ones people especially like, if any! I'll keep going

      Thanks also NightFlower. Kind comment.

    • NightFlower profile image

      NightFlower 6 years ago

      I love it in it's want to come in and stay.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 6 years ago from Nepal

      I love haiku, I have even published a few on hubpages. I enjoyed reading your haiku. They are beautiful.

      This is my favorite one:

      Trees rustle, sway

      and swoop above, his eyes wide

      in baby wonder.