I think a few days ago, the suggested topic for blogging on WordPress was “sharing something you’ve learned” or something along those lines.
I learnt Haiku in high school, but never really used it until recently. I was so excited to write poetry in Haiku form. It goes especially well with photos. I got this idea from a friend who uploads a photo everyday and writes a haiku poem to go with it. So thanks to her, I am trying it out now. It’s not as hard as you might think. Here’s a little introduction to Haiku. At the bottom you’ll find a couple of helpful links to read more on Haiku, its history and how to write one. Enjoy! 🙂 BTW, if you have written poetry in Haiku or write after reading this post, please do share in the comments section. I’d love to read ’em.
What is Haiku?
Haiku is one of the most important form of traditional Japanese poetry. Haiku is, today, a 17-syllable verse form consisting of three metrical units of 5, 7, and 5 syllables. Since early days, there has been confusion between the three related terms Haiku, Hokku and Haikai. The term hokku literally means “starting verse”, and was the first starting link of a much longer chain of verses known as haika. Because the hokku set the tone for the rest of the poetic chain, it enjoyed a privileged position in haikai poetry, and it was not uncommon for a poet to compose a hokku by itself without following up with the rest of the chain.
The history of the modern haiku dates from Masaoka Shiki’s reform, begun in 1892, which established haiku as a new independent poetic form. Shiki’s reform did not change two traditional elements of haiku: the division of 17 syllables into three groups of 5, 7, and 5 syllables and the inclusion of a seasonal theme.
What to write about?
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.
The metrical pattern of Haiku
Haiku-poems consist of respectively 5, 7 and 5 syllables in three units. In japanese, this convention is a must, but in english, which has variation in the length of syllables, this can sometimes be difficult.
The technique of cutting.
The 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.
The seasonal theme.
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.
Please notice that Haiku-poems are written under different rules and in many languages. For translated Haiku-poems, the translator must decide whether he should obey the rules strictly, or if he should present the exact essence of the Haiku. For Haiku-poems originally written in english, the poet should be more careful. These are the difficulties, and the pleasure of Haiku.