shining out to sea-
the wedding I never got to have
one cloud in a clear blue sky
this moment of joy
Lessons in Haiku – by Michele Rule
Hello and welcome to my ramblings on haiku and other subjects! Hope you enjoy wandering through my garden of thoughts. I’m no expert, and I welcome any comments you have or even contradictions 😊Sally asked me to do this and I can never say no to her, so here we are!
Three-line poems! When else are poets challenged as much to say something profound in as few lines. Well, in one- line poems, but that’s another story.
A three-line poem is technically called at tercet, no matter what other category they fall under. A tercet has no restrictions, write what you want! Try a few – they are fun.
Senryu is a Japanese form of tercet. Also fun and three lines but that’s where the comparison stops. Senryu have three lines with less than a total of 17 syllables, generally in a short/long/short pattern. They focus on the human condition.
Haiku also have three lines and less than 17 syllables. But their focus is more on nature and in fact there are lists of specific season words (more on this next time) that can be used in haiku. Usually, a haiku only has two elements – a fragment and a phrase with the cut in-between.
Both senryu and haiku make use of what the Japanese call kireji, a cutting word. We don’t have cutting words in English. Often, we show a cut in our senryu and haiku with an m-dash or simply a line break. It’s the place where the poem turns. An “aha” moment, a surprise, or a deeper understanding. This takes a lot of practice and even the great masters said they didn’t get it right every time and rarely on the first draft.
That’s a lot to think about and I’ll stop for today. Let me know what you think!
Monthly Haiku Competitions
The following links will hook you up with some monthly haiku competitions.
And finally, Tricycle. Be aware that for this one, you must follow the traditional 5-7-5 format, and include the season word.
Rules of Critique
- Only offer a critique if it is requested
- Be kind
- Only offer suggestions to improve a piece according to the rules of haiku
- Never try to rewrite someone else’s haiku
The best way to learn how to write good haiku is to read good haiku. The following suggestions are two of my personal favourites and one I really want to read but haven’t yet.
The Haiku Anthology – edited by Cor Van Den Heuvel
Haiku Moment, An Anthology of Contemporary North American Haiku – edited by Bruce Ross
This last one is a link to Charlotte Digregorio’s website, where she lists her book, Haiku and Senryu – A Simple Guide for All. I have not read this yet, but I want a copy! Charlotte has a lengthy resume in the art of haiku.
Let us know if you have any haiku titles you’d like to recommend!
This Week’s Prompt
This week’s haiku prompt is a spring season word or kigo: butterfly.
Send me your haiku to be included in next week’s newsletter!
“To a clear eye the smallest fact is a window through which the infinite may be seen.”–Thomas Henry Huxley