Before we jump into the main body of how beginners can write a haiku. Let’s first take a quick query. How would you like it to be able to summarize all the emotions in that poem of yours into just three lines?
Trust me; it’s kinda weird at first but eventually it gets better. This is the power of haiku.
Now let’s go into defining this un-English word and poetry form.
Jump on it!
- What is Haiku:
- History of Haiku poetry
- Misconceptions about Haiku Poetry
- How to write a haiku poem
- More resources you'd enjoy
What is Haiku:
Dictionaries define the Haiku as an epigrammatic Japanese poetry form of three short lines.
Haiku; just as a kelogb uses fewer words to pass messages to the reader. It is a poem that consists of 17-syllables (NOTE: 17 syllables and not words) in all.
Five syllables are present on the first line,
Seven syllables are present on the second base and;
Five syllables cover the third as well as final line of a haiku.
To simply put it short and into perspective, a haiku is short verse form of three short lines with the syllabic format of 5 – 7 – 5 (on each proceeding line.)
Describing seasons and nature was the original intent of writing haiku. Poets nowadays tend to focus more on this original reason for writing haiku (nature and its current transition) when writing haiku so much that it has created a misconception about the poetry form.
This minute poetry style is renowned for its small size; precise, deliberate punctuations and intentional syllables which fill up all three lines of the poem.
History of Haiku poetry
The haiku first emerged in the history of literature as a Japanese poetry styles during the 17th century. The poetry from was a means to elaborate poetic traditions and cultures, although the name ‘haiku’ was not generally known until the 19th century according.
Modern day haiku originated form the rengu. This was a popular poetry form within the Japanese sphere over the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.
This poetry style however was a longer one, collaborated to by more than one poet.
The unique structure of the poem made it outstanding and the hokku; its opening verse – with three short lines (containing short phrases with 5-7-5 syllables) is the herald of the modern 5, 7, 5, syllabic structure of today’s popular haiku.
The word haiku is said to emerge a “first verse” called hokku in Japanese language.
Another report claims that the word haiku was created and originally called ‘haikai no ku’ which translates to ‘light verse’; and this was eventually simplified to its modern day translation, the haiku.
Misconceptions about Haiku Poetry
- Words are focused on in place of syllables: Haiku are defined by the total tally of syllables in them and not the words.
- Haiku have to be centered around nature: It is true that haiku were originally focused on nature and edifying it.
This however doesn’t mean haiku can’t be written on other darker and tragic topics. Haiku just as every other poetry style is only a styles, the definition of the topic to be discussed is totally up to the poet to decide. So don’t feel weird the next time you get a call-for-submissions on haiku talking on death.
- The question of whether or not haiku have to be just three lines?
Haiku can exceed three lines, however for longer poem to be consider haiku, it must follow the traditional pattern of writing haiku (the 5-7-5 syllabic structuring) on each of its verse.
- Must a haiku have a title?
Most haiku do not have a title so it is absolutely not necessary
- Do haiku rhyme?
It is up to the poet or writer to construct an haiku that includes rhyme or not. Rhyming is not necessary to haiku.
- What is the plural of haiku?
The plural of a haiku is haiku. There is no such thing as haikus.
How to write a haiku poem
1. Find a topic to write on
- Since haiku are originally centered around nature, you can find a topic on nature, its beauty, its processes. You can also decide to write about seasons or natural events such as earthquakes, rainfall, land slide, flooding or even the abundance of mangos under the tree near your building.
- Just as every other writing that require creative thinking, you can decide to take a stroll or just observe the surroundings in a bid to source inspirations to create an haiku on. Stay aware of the events transpiring near you and even far away.
- You can decide also to drive your focus on an object or a person. Haiku do not have to be all natural and glossy. Poets can derive inspiration from disastrous experiences in order to produce an haiku.
2. Take a draft
For most, writing a haiku or any other syllabic-structured form of poetry seems to be the hardest to do so writing (at first) without following the syllabic patterns are a great idea for beginners in haiku.
Note: It’s better you keep the whole draft within three lines so you don’t spill too much (you know!)
3. Follow the patterns of the haiku
What makes any haiku an haiku is really the syllables and the lines. Now that you’ve created your first draft, it’s time to cut off loose ends.
Remember that a haiku only allows 5 syllables on the first line, then 7 on the next and 5 on the last as well.
No matter how long your drafts are, you have to trim them down to follow the 5-7-5 rule. This aggregates to 17 syllables in total. To ensure you’re right on track, (I think) it’s best to read your work aloud and stay aware of the syllables as you read the work.
You can swap longer words for shorter synonyms and convert longer sentences into shorter phrases.
4. Sensitize the haiku
The beauty of a haiku is usually in the image it creates in the mind of the reader. To pass an effective message using the haiku, it helps greatly to progress to making a haiku that is rich in visual imagery.
Try as much as you can to appeal to your reader’s senses. Deliver words that evoke these senses. Stay intentional about how you describe events in your poem.
Write words that jump off the page and romances your reader’s senses.
Try as much as you can to avoid writing with beffudling words.
Haiku are meant to be easy to understand, I see no reason why you should create an haiku that we need to check the dictionary for every word included.
Try to be as elaborate as you can be with your simple words and lines.
5. Include some juxtaposition
“The act of positioning close together”
Most haikus have some element of clustering in them. This means authors intentionally run over a line by continuing it in the next line.
This is called run-on-line in poetry.
A good structure for beginning haiku poets is:
subject and action (on two lines) – juxtaposition.
6. Be in the now
Haiku is not written in past tense. They are written in present tense.
It really is about turning normal moments into memorable events.
7. Revise that haiku
We both can agree that you’ve scaled through the most difficult stage of writing any haiku.
Which is actually the writing it, now it’s time for you to go re-check that haiku of your for corrections on either grammar or wordings.
Of course, there is a tool for this but I still prefer to read the whole work aloud (for the enjoyment of it!)
8. Publish that beauty
It’s not enough to create an amazing haiku, you gotta publish it.
There are haiku anthologies and websites you can share them on. Social media too is an option.
Here are some haiku for sighting sake
Slowly, graceful wings
Lift skyward; as you lift me
Friends always, grateful
Birds among the leaves —
I want to take a pic but
I forgot my phone
a cyclist pedals
against the wind
There is an electronic tool that actually aids writing haiku. The product is called write-a-haiku, and can be visited via website writeahaiku.com.
This haiku generating tool helps with all the guidelines involved in writing a haiku even for beginners. It also helps with word provisions for those who require them,
If this exercise helped you out, do well to drop your new haiku in the comment section and share with your fellow creative writers.
If you are fan of the haiku, I’ll suggest you check out the kelogb
Find other resources on writing on the blog.
More resources you'd enjoy
Join our list of mail recipients.
We'd love to have you in our inner circle.