Do you haiku?

Haiku month starts tomorrow. Shortest poetry, shortest month. Nice.

Did you know it’s a myth that haiku has to be three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables? I just learned that. Apparently the 5-7-5 rule is for Japanese sounds, which may or may not translate into English syllables.

I found a few references online to using 7 accented syllables with a few others (to total about twelve) in English to approximate the size of a traditional Japanese haiku. From 17 down to 12!

But it gets harder. The most important rules to follow are the use of the season word (kigo) and the cutting word (kireji). 

KIGO. The season word alludes to nature and evokes an awareness of a particular season without being too obvious. So you might use crocus or blossom instead of spring.

KIREJI. The cutting word functions as a sort of punctuation, marking a change between the beginning of the poem and the end. Sometimes in English it is an actual punctuation mark instead of a word.

Juxtaposition, pun (human nature reflected in the natural imagery), and sensory details are also important components of the poem.

It’s a LOT to pack into 17 (or 12!) syllables.

I think I’ll give it a shot.

this Haiku Primer
from seasoned poet blogger
cuts through the crap.

yes, i stink,
but as days lengthen
skills will be honed.

Seriously, check out that Primer at The Quality of Light. TONS of info and a month’s worth of poems.


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