Impress Friends with Haiku

The LwC’ers among you are likely already aware of Romi’s Journal and you may also know that she put together a web site where her Japanese High School students share their Haiku written in English. I recommend visiting and taking a look at her students’ poetry. I really like the stuff about summer vacation. Oh, and make sure to sign the guestbook.

I was not completely ignorant of Haiku, or so I thought, but then I read Romi’s own poem about a rain delayed Field Day and was struck by how much It was like a color photograph in all of twelve words. I then found my way to Haiku for People. and realized there was a good bit I did not understand about Haiku. For those who, like me, are Haiku challenged, here is some basic information to bring you up to speed. Haiku is a highly structured form of poetry and there are a few fairly rigid rules. Now, of course, Haiku poets (especially english writing poets) don’t always adhere to all of them, but here is what HfP has to say:

Haiku is one of the most important forms of traditional japanese poetry. Haiku is… a 17-syllable verse form consisting of three metrical units of 5, 7, and 5 syllables.

The technique of cutting… divides the Haiku into two parts, with a certain imaginative distance between the two sections, but the two sections must remain, to a degree, independent of each other. Both sections must enrich the understanding of the other. To make this cutting in english, either the first or the second line ends normally with a colon, long dash or ellipsis.

Each Haiku must contain a kigo, a season word, which indicate in which season the Haiku is set. For example, cherry blossoms indicate spring, snow indicate winter, and mosquitoes indicate summer, but the season word isn’t always that obvious.

Haiku-poems can describe almost anything, but you seldom find themes which are too complicated for normal PEOPLE’s recognition and understanding. Some of the most thrilling Haiku-poems describe daily situations in a way that gives the reader a brand new experience of a well-known situation.

Bottom line is that I am finding Haiku to be pretty cool. Now, I just need some victims on whom to hone my Haiku skills.

Hey, where’re ya goin’?