Haiku is a short unrhymed poem
strong in imagery. Basho, a master poet from seventeenth century Japan, is
considered the "father" of haiku. He refined haiku, bring
simplicity and elegance to the form. If written correctly, haiku captures
the essence of a moment and triggers a response within the reader.
English Haiku are usually written in three
lines (5 syllables in the first line, 7 syllables in the second, and 5
syllables in the third). The Japanese language is much different than
English, so Japanese syllables are shorter than their counterpart words in
other languages. This is one reason why translated haiku is found in
different lengths ... sometimes Japanese haiku translated into English is
written on one line, or several lines but not in the 5-7-5 pattern.
A haikuís words are rooted in nature and
present an observation to the reader who then interprets the meaning
according to his own experiences. Most haiku include at least one word
that relates to a season or nature. This word can be as obvious as
"spring" or "autumn" or as subtle as
"snowflake," "butterfly" or "seed". The poem
does not have to be about nature, but the word is planted within the poemís
context so the reader knows the season.
Forget simile, metaphor, personification. Write about a
specific event or observation. Haiku is a breath of wind, capturing a
momentís essence using simple, direct wording. Evoke the senses of
sight, sound, smell, taste, touch. The poetís feelings reach through the
words to the reader, awakening a sense of awareness or revelation.
WHY WRITE HAIKU
Haiku offers a window into Japanese
culture, and reading about this form reveals the influences behind the
words. On a personal note, I find writing haiku challenges my creativity.
Choosing words that convey specific meaning is an excellent exercise.
Writing haiku focuses the writer to perfect tight writing. Haiku is an
elegant yet simple form of expression, which distills a specific moment in
time ... and time is well-spent writing it.
Read some of Dawn's haiku
© 2001 Dawn L. Stewart
All rights reserved. No part of this work may be
copied or used in any way without written permission from the author.
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