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Urban Haiku

Updated on June 25, 2013
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Justin W. Price, AKA PDXKaraokeGuy, is a freelance writer, blogger, and award-nominated author based out of Juneau, Alaska.

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Haiku is an ancient form of poetry that originated with Buddhist monks in Japan. They are generally 17 syllables and 2-4 lines in length. The subjects are primarily around nature with images that contradict or juxtapose one another. The traditional format for the poem is this:

5 syllables

7 syllables

5 syllables

Some American poets, including the late Allen Ginsberg, have written haiku in seventeen syllable, single line sentences. Others have written haiku that doesn't follow the traditional 5-7-5 syllabic format. The main concern with haiku is to capture a concrete image, not to ponder abstract thought. Some argue that the brief nature of the poems reflect the brevity of earth, but, that thought seems much too abstract to fit with the essence of haiku.

In fact, one of the most famous Haiku poems, by Basho, does not follow this 5-7-5 format but, rather, the somewhat less common, and harder to master, 3-5-3:

old pond...

a frog leaps in

water's sound


Another famous haiku by Basho does follow this format:


the first cold shower

even the monkey seems to want

a little coat of straw


(source, wikipedia)


The Haiku that follow are not naturalistic. They are based on urban life, which I find much more interesting to write about. Haiku is also very deceptive. It's a simple form that is complicated to write well. Are the Haiku that follow good? I'll let you decide. I wrote most of them in just a few minutes. I hope you enjoy and, if you decide to experiment with urban Haiku, send me a link and I'll post it below!

Also, most haiku is untitled, but I've chosen to title these ones.



Basho
Basho | Source

Urban Haiku



Falling


shoe laces untied

upstairs precariously

then bloody pavement.


Nuisance


out the window birds

sing and intrude my slumber

a pellet gun retrieved.


Onomatopoeia


crunch, crunch go the leaves

under my jaunty sneakers

autumn has arrived,


Forced


asked to write haiku

he’s counting the syllables

and completing the task.


Jungle Gym


jabberwocky Screams

terrifying creatures play

children orphaned here.


Owing


the debt collector

calling me at dinnertime

fails in his job.



all rights reserved. Justin W. Price, copyright March 7th, 2012.


My Poetry Collection

Thanks for Reading.

A FREELANCE WRITER, HONORS STUDENT AND GOVER PRIZE FINALIST, JUSTIN W. PRICE (AKA, PDXKARAOKEGUY)IS A POET, SHORT STORY, BIOGRAPHY AND HUMOR WRITER. HIS POETRY COLLECTION, DIGGING TO CHINA, WAS RELEASED FEBRUARY 2ND, 2013 BY SWEATSHOPPE PUBLICATIONS AND IS AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.COM, BARNES AND NOBLE AND THROUGH YOUR LOCAL BOOKSELLER.

HIS WORK WILL ALSO BE FEATURED IN BEST NEW FICTION (2014 EDITION), AND HAS APPEARED PREVIOUSLY IN THE RUSTY NAIL, EFICTION, THE CRISIS CHRONICLES, THE HELLROARING REVIEW, BURNINGWORD, THE WHISTLING FIRE, SEE SPOT RUN ANDTHE BELLWETHER REVIEW.

HE WORKS AS A FREELANCE WRITER, EDITOR, AND GHOSTWRITER, AND IS WORKING TOWARDS HIS PH.D. HE LIVES IN A SUBURB OF PORTLAND, OREGON WITH HIS WIFE, ANDREA, THEIR LABRADOODLE, BELLA, SCHNOODLE, SAUVEE AND BLACK MOOR GOLDFISH, HOWARD WOLOWITZ.

PLEASE VISIT HIS PROFILE PAGE FOR MORE INFORMATION. THANKS!

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    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin W Price 

      5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Thank you, Audrey. So pleased that you stopped by!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      5 years ago from California

      Always a joy to read your work Justin!

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin W Price 

      5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Thanks Rajan. I appreciate the kind words :")

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Justin, a very interesting explanation of what haiku is and some beautiful haikus that follow. Keep penning them my friend.

      Voting this up and beautiful.

    • sujithbeta profile image

      Sreejith k 

      5 years ago from Kerala, India

      Nice article. You are writing very well. Looking forward for your next haiku's

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin W Price 

      6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      thanks fester sporling

    • festersporling1 profile image

      Daniel Christian 

      6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      It's so very interesting hub about haiku a short form of Japanese Poetry.Great hub!

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin W Price 

      6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      i liked yours, Theresa... and I'm glad you liked mine :=)

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Hi Justin - Good Hub. I like that you included some background and description, examples of an ancient master, as well as your own Haiku. My favorite is Forced. :) Let's see what I can do. :)

      March, April, and May

      longing for mist, cool breezes

      resenting the heat

      I live in Georgia and this winter, we had no winter weather to speak of, and began to have summer heat in early spring. I am a very unhappy camper. :)

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin W Price 

      6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      LOL. Thanks Linda... that was the first one I wrote for this series! Nice to see you!

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin W Price 

      6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Thanks so much Michael

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      My favorite is:

      shoe laces untied

      upstairs precariously

      then bloody pavement.

      OUCH!!! lol

    • molometer profile image

      molometer 

      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Well written Justin,

      very inventive and innovative.

      Sharing.

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin W Price 

      6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Thanks so much Audrey... and i am in no way ever labelled as traditional!

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin W Price 

      6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Thanks so much Frank. I appreciate that!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      6 years ago from California

      Ah Justin--Loved these!! I know they are not traditional, but cleverly done!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      6 years ago from Shelton

      I liked these PDX actually they were pretty damn good :)

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin W Price 

      6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Thanks, Raci. I'm please you enjoyed this!

    • raciniwa profile image

      raciniwa 

      6 years ago from Naga City, Cebu

      i like the variations of haiku you have here Justin and educational too...

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin W Price 

      6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      ardie... that's not the worst thing it could be loaded with!

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 

      6 years ago from Neverland

      Hahah I will try! My Hub will be loaded wih haiku :)

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin W Price 

      6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Thanks, Caroline. I'm glad you enjoyed this!

    • carolinemd21 profile image

      Caroline Marie 

      6 years ago

      Hi Justin great hub! Voted up.

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin W Price 

      6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      IMKarn.. it's an interesting form, and it's hard to write, at least for me, because of the strict adherence to form. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin W Price 

      6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      missolive... I hope the reason you can't pick a fave is because you like them all, not because you don't like any of them :-) Thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate your feedback

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin W Price 

      6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin W Price 

      6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Thanks Alastar. I appreciate the votes!

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for this great lesson! a friend of mine writes nothing but haiku, and at first - i was mystified...I now, however,have a great respect for the art form!

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 

      6 years ago from Texas

      PDX - Great lesson and collection! You did a very nice job and I enjoyed the variations and resources you listed. I have to be honest - It's hard to pick a fav on this hub. Keep em' coming.

      Voted up and share

    • profile image

      Sueswan 

      6 years ago

      Hi Justin,

      ER? What happened?

      Take care

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      Very good Justin! Faves: Ono and Owing. Vote er up!

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin W Price 

      6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Aurelio, i liked that i was able to do that too. Although, Jabberwocky itself was originally a poem.

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin W Price 

      6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Thanks Savanah. Me too... or, if I'm feeling silly, a good limerick does the trick

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin W Price 

      6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Sue... most of the ancient Haiku are untitled, but many modern haiku writers do title them. I generally do not title mine. Thanks for reading!

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin W Price 

      6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      You're welcome, Pickles. I'm glad you enjoyed these!

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin W Price 

      6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Hey Teylina. Hyphen Bird is really good at everything she writes. she's one of my faves. I've tried different forms of Haiku, ut my favorite is the 5-7-5. Thanks for reading. I'm glad you enjoyed these!

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin W Price 

      6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      sorry y'all for not getting back to you sooner. I spent last night in the ER. Good times! (but at least I have a fancy new bracelet and a future hub)

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 

      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I did not know there were all these types. My favorite is the Jungle Gym one because you managed to work-in jabberwocky. Voting this Up and Beautiful.

    • savanahl profile image

      savanahl 

      6 years ago

      Very nice writing. Haiku has become on of my favorite poetry forms to write. You write them so beautifully. Voting up.

    • Teylina profile image

      Teylina 

      6 years ago

      Love your comment, Ardie --soul sisters unknown?

    • profile image

      Sueswan 

      6 years ago

      Hi Justin.

      I tried to pick my favourite but I couldn't because they are all great.

      I did not know that most haiku is untitled.

      Voted up up and away!

      Take Care

    • picklesandrufus profile image

      picklesandrufus 

      6 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

      thanks for explaining the haiku and giving us some great examples. I liked Owing the best. Vote up!

    • Teylina profile image

      Teylina 

      6 years ago

      Very informative and interesting. I like "Nuisance" and "owing" stabs me; however, I find the shorter haikus such as Hyphenbird has offered more difficult to execute, and the intensity of "less said" grabs me more. In either case, I think it can be nature or urban--like both takes.

    • Teylina profile image

      Teylina 

      6 years ago

      I like "Nuisance" and "Owing" but believe it's tougher to write Haikus such as Hyphenbirds. Some natural, some urban, but she's got it nailed.

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin W Price 

      6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Thanks Lady_e.... practice makes perfect, they say!

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin W Price 

      6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Thanks Gypsy. I actually wrote that one in class when the professor wanted us to write haiku :-)

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 

      6 years ago from London, UK

      Interesting read - I enjoy writing poems but still haven't got the hang of Haiku's.

      I learnt a few things in your Hub though, like the syllables etc.

      Cheers.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      6 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up! Great way of demonstrating Haiku. The Falling one really got to me. Yikes! And being inept at anything like a Haiku I'd fall in the category of Forced. Thanks for another great hub.

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin W Price 

      6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Thank you, Susan, I appreciate that!

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin W Price 

      6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      ardie... you should give it a try! I'm quite the talker myself.... you could just write a lot of haiku :=)

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I love writing and reading haiku's. These are great!

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 

      6 years ago from Neverland

      Hi PDX, I love the shorts you wrote to make a point about urban haiku - I don't think I could ever write a haiku - I talk to much. I even failed my business letter writing course because I didn't understand how to keep brief and to the point...wait what were we talking about again? Oh, well. My favorite was the ononomomonopeea. :)

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