~haiku key~

For more on haiku specifically visit:GRACEGUTS  a haiku checklist  here also is a collaborative haiku form called the Tan-Renga in addition to these there’s much more information presented about other Japanese forms, including one of my favorites the haibun. 

Most importantly experiment and have fun. You’ll be surprised where your muse will take you!

For haiku inspiration, look closely at everything around you in nature, at home, at school, and at work. Write your haiku first, letting yourself be free and creative. Then ask the following questions about your haiku to help you improve them.

  1. How long is your haiku? It’s usually good to write in three lines of about 10 to 17 syllables. In English, haiku don’t have to be in the pattern of 5-7-5 syllables—the following questions are much more important.
  2. Does your haiku name or suggest one of the seasons—springsummerfall, or winter? In Japanese, akigo or “season word” tells readers when the poem happens, such as saying “tulips” for spring or “snow” for winter. This is one of the most important things to do in haiku.
  3. Does your poem make a “leap,” by having two parts? In Japanese, a kireji or “cutting word” usually cuts the poem into two parts. Giving your poem two fragmentary parts is also one of the most important things to do in haiku.
  4. Is your haiku about common, everyday events in nature or human life? To help you do this, describe what you experience through your five senses.
  5. Does your poem give readers a feeling? It can do this by presenting what caused your feeling rather than the feeling itself. So others can feel what you felt, don’t explain or judge what you describe.
  6. Is your poem in the present tense? To make your haiku feel like it’s happening right now, use the present tense.
  7. Did you write from your own personal experience? When you write other kinds of poetry, you can make things up, but try not to do that with haiku. Memories are okay, though.
  8. How did you capitalize or punctuate your poem? Haiku are usually not sentences (they’re usually fragments), so they don’t need to start with a capital, or end with a period.
  9. Does your haiku avoid a title and rhyme? Haiku are not like other poems, which may have these things. Haiku don’t have titles and rarely rhyme.
  10. What can you do with your haiku? Can you illustrate them, collect them in a notebook, or display them? You could write haiku in your journal every day, enter them in a contest, publish them, or share them at a poetry reading.
With practice, you won’t need to ask yourself these questions about your haiku. Japanese haiku master Bashō said to “learn the rules and then forget them.” What I believe he meant was that it’s good to internalize the rules (or targets, as I like to call them) so thoroughly that you no longer have to think about them, the way a chess grandmaster no longer thinks of making bad moves. Have fun with your haiku and enjoy noticing life more closely through your five senses!
This information courtesy of Michael Dylan Welch. @ GRACEGUTS

online saijiki:

 Also enlightening, Gabi’s Page on season words.

26 thoughts on “~haiku key~

  1. Thank you so very much for this post. I have been wanting to access the defining aspects of Haiku since I started my blog. I am a visual artist who often use poetry or prose with my work. I enjoy writing short, fragmented “poetry”. But I need to embrace a definitive technique. I will be studying your points posted here for direction. Please stop by my blog and the poetry “tag” and let me know what you think. I am subscribing to your blog and will explore your work in depth.


    • I am so grateful for the interest you’ve shown in my work and am so happy that this post could be of help to you. I look forward to visiting you and enjoying your work, Walter. Thank you, so much for following my blog!!🙂 ‘s to you!


  2. Pingback: featured poets ~ Hannah Gosselin | my heart's love songs

  3. Pingback: encore presentation: 2012 featured poets ~ Hannah Gosselin | my heart's love songs

    • Oh, thank you!! I’m so glad you found it…I haven’t visited it in a while…I feel like it could probably use some updating…some day… maybe a slow winter day I’ll work on it.🙂

      Thank you, for the invitation to the challenge, CB…I wrote to you on your post @ your blog…I wish I could join but I know I shouldn’t right now. I’m having trouble getting online these days.🙂


  4. Pingback: day in haiku… | Metaphors and Smiles

I'm so grateful for your visit and I really enjoy reading your thoughts. :)'s

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