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Poetry Exercise: Simple Haiku

Updated on January 20, 2020
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Veronica's poetry and short stories have been published in several literary journals. She has an MA in Literature from American University.

"Cherry Blossoms" by Arnob Alam
"Cherry Blossoms" by Arnob Alam | Source


It's no secret that writing poetry can be challenging. Successful poets put a lot of thought, time, and effort behind their seemingly effortless poems.

But don't let that scare or frustrate you. Anyone can write poetry! And writing poetry is actually a lot of fun. Whether you're a seasoned poet, or someone just getting their feet wet, practicing different forms of poetry and experiencing different ways to create poems make writing a fun journey of discovery.

The following exercise is part of a series of prompts. These prompts are made to help get your creative juices flowing, and push you out of your comfort zone.

You can find other poetry exercises from this series here:

Poetry Exercise #3: Write a Simple Haiku Poem

Haiku, simply defined, is a famous, compact Japanese poetic form that is traditionally 3 lines long, consisting of a total of 17 syllables.

If you look up "haiku" you will quickly learn that writing good haiku is an art. There are a lot of subtleties that go into perfecting this form. However, for the purposes of this exercise, you are not going to stress about writing the perfect poem, but rather enjoy and experiment with the form and learn to create concrete images in a few short lines.

There are a few guidelines to writing haiku:

  • The number of syllables in each line are 5 syllables - 7 syllables - 5 syllables.
  • Use these lines to create a picture, mood, or atmosphere. Try to create a concrete image.
  • Haiku typically evokes something natural or seasonal.
  • It is typically written in present tense.

Here are a couple of examples of Haiku:

On a withered branch
A crow has alighted;
Nightfall in autumn
-Bashō Matsuo

Everything I touch
with tenderness, alas,
pricks like a bramble.
-Kobayashi Issa

Have fun with it. And if you don't follow all the guidelines, don't beat yourself up. The purpose is for experimentation.

Post Your Poem

If you followed this exercise to create a haiku poem, post your poem or an excerpt in the comments. I would love to see what you come up with.

© 2020 Veronica McDonald


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