how to write a haiku poem
Write Haiku Poetry for Fun and Profit (mostly fun)
Haiku is a Japanese poetic style and type of poetry, which combines form, content, and language in a meaningful, yet compact form. It is extremely popular today in the English speaking world, as well as in Japan.
It is based on a rich, centuries old Japanese and Buddist culture, esteemed for it's beauty and elegance.
I find Haiku poetry writing to be extremely relaxing and therapeutic. It forces one into the beauty and impressions of the moment, utilizing the senses to capture and reflect on the importance and significance of life all around us.
Haiku poetry can be profound in it's simplicity and message, often speaking to an inner wisdom.
This lens is dedicated to helping others write and appreciate this awesome art form and to have fun doing so.
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Haiku Background Information
Today the subject matter of haiku varies greatly
Haiku are written in many languages, but currently, most poets outside of Japan are concentrated in the English-speaking countries.
Today, It is impossible to single out any current style or format, as no specific subject matter is definitive.
While traditional Japanese haiku has focused on nature and the place of humans in it, some modern haiku poets, both in Japan and the West, consider a broader range of subject matter suitable, including urban contexts.
The loosening of traditional standards has resulted in the term "haiku" being applied to brief English-language poems such as "mathemaku" and other kinds of pseudohaiku.
Example of A Classic Haiku
Come flying from elsewhere:
Autumn is ending.
Basho's attitude toward nature was humble, selfless, and deeply respectful. He said, "Go to the pine if you want to learn about the pine, or to the bamboo if you want to learn about the bamboo. In doing so, you must leave your preoccupation with yourself.
Otherwise you impose yourself on the object and do not learn. Your poetry issues of its own accord when you and the object have become one – when you have plunged deep enough into the object to see something like a hidden glimmering there."
The Basics of Writing Haiku
Haiku Writing 101
Traditional Japanese haiku have 17 syllables in 3 lines of, 5,7 and 5 syllables each. Some English writers stick to this formula - strict form haiku. Many modern poets however feel free to use any short verse, usually shorter than 17 syllables and this is called free form haiku.
Haiku often makes use of a "cut," (sometimes indicated by a punctuation mark) paralleling the Japanese use of kireji, to contrast and compare, implicitly, two events, images, or situations.
Basho, the father of haiku poetry in Japan, over 300 years ago, instructed his students on several important points. First, that the experience the haiku describes, is more important than the language used. The poet should be absorbed in nature. Most importantly, aim for simplicity with elegance, in expressing the original "haiku moment" (the truth of the original observation).
Towards the end of his life, Basho added another principle. He felt that what made the haiku especially meaningful was "karumi" (lightness). He described this as using subjects that were delicate and springy, like a blade of grass bouncing because an insect landed on it. He also used smoke rising, as an example of this.
Basho's very famous death haiku:
Ill on my journey -
Modern Haiku Example Composed in English
Autumn Haiku by James W. Hackett
This autumn grandeur!
But for an excited bird,
I might not have seen
Haiku for You - More Haiku References and Reads
Some awesome books to read if you love haiku. Very good therapy. Basho advocated, READ, write, think and reflect.
Time to Write Haiku, Reflect and Write Some More - Practice writing your haiku every day!
1). First some more examples of excellent haiku for your inspiration.
Wet with morning dew
in any direction I want
(Santoka, translated Stevens)
Under forest trees
gold globes of horse dung steaming
in the frosty air
Behind a lone tree
on the mountain ridge
immense clouds moving
The blade of grass
sits waving in the wind
with millions surrounding it
(Tony, age 12)
2). Now relax, get into the moment. What do you see, touch, hear, smell, taste? How will you "bookmark" this moment, so you will always remember it? This is a "Kodak moment" so to speak - share this moment with others. How is this moment different from any others you have experienced? There are probably already moments like these in your memory bank - go back and rexperience them.
3). Now write these down, let it flow and don't be self critical. Oh and by the way, these moments can be comical and humorous, as well as intensely personal and meaningful. Capture the spirit of haiku and let it flow. If nothing else, you will feel centered and good about yourself and will have put your current worries and cares aside for a while.
4). Set aside an hour a day to practice, or as much time as you can manage to squeeze in. You can choose to share your work or not, but I guarantee you'll have fun with this and will feel good! I believe that haiku writing, much as meditation can help you reach Zen - that is "enlightenment" through direct intuition.
5). You might also enjoy reading the work of others, as well as more about the fascinating history and development of haiku.
More of Basho's Haiku Wisdom
Cruelty, violence and sensationalism have no place in haiku poetry. The natural processes of suffering and death do- but the attitude to creatures that suffer is compassionate.
In the Japanese Tea Garden - Tea Time Reflection
What's Your Passion?
You Can Make a Lens of Your Favorite Things in Life Too!
You have some great ideas to share, or a favorite movie, book, hobby. Maybe you would like to salute a favorite person in your life or share a favorite recipe.
What are you waiting for? It won't cost you a penny and could earn you some cash, not to mention friends and possibly even fame. Don't forget your favorite cause or charity either.
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Haiku Resources and Links on the Internet - Knowledge is Zen
- KidZone Poetry - Haiku
free printable activities and directions for grade school language arts learning. (reading, writing, and alphabet)
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- Guided Meditation Insight to Your Soul
Guided meditation gives insight to your soul where you find your answers. In the stillness of meditation, you tune out the chaos of every day life and tune in to your inner-self to find your voice within.