Tag Archives: haiku

HOW TO HAIKU

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The Japanese haiku and the English language haiku have several critical differences. In Japanese the haiku is composed of 17 sound units divided into three parts – one with 5 units, one with 7 units and another with 5 units. Since sound units are much shorter than English syllables, it has been found that following the Japanese example results in a much longer poem often filled up to make the count with unnecessary words.

The Japanese write their haiku in one line, in order to see clearly the parts of the haiku. In English each part is given a line. This allows the reader time to form an image in the mind before the eyes go back to the left margin for more words. The line breaks also act as a type of punctuation. The kigo, or season word, is a vital part of the Japanese haiku, but in English it is often ignored and not well understood. Therefore, a great number of English haiku do not have a season word and yet are considered to be haiku. The Japanese, because of their longer history of reading haiku, understand that there are two parts to the poem. In English these are called the phrase and fragment. One line is the fragment and the other two lines combine grammatically to become the phrase. Without this combining the two lines together the haiku will sound ‘choppy’ as the voice drops at the end of each line.  (WikiHow.com)

SERENE HAIKU

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SERENE HAIKU

haiku, unrhymed Japanese poetic form consisting of 17 syllables arranged in three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables respectively. The term haiku is derived from the first element of the word haikai (a humorous form of renga, or linked-verse poem) and the second element of the word hokku (the initial stanza of a renga). The hokku, which set the tone of a renga, had to mention in its three lines such subjects as the season, time of day, and the dominant features of the landscape, making it almost an independent poem. The hokku (often interchangeably called haikai) became known as the haiku late in the 19th century, when it was entirely divested of its original function of opening a sequence of verse; today even the earlier hokku are usually called haiku.

Originally, the haiku form was restricted in subject matter to an objective description of nature suggestive of one of the seasons, evoking a definite, though unstated, emotional response. The form gained distinction in the 17th century, during the Tokugawa period, when the great master Bashō elevated the hokku, as it was then known, to a highly refined and conscious art. Haiku has since remained the most popular form in Japanese poetry.