How to haiku

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Lesson Four

Hello and welcome to all our new subscribers! So glad to have you here with us in this haiku journey.

For those of you who are new, we are figuring out a way to give you easy access to the earlier newsletters and lessons. Hope to have it sorted by next newsletter. But even if this is your first lesson, I think you will find it helpful.

One of the key components of a haiku or a senryu is a turning point – the jump from one image to the next that makes you say “aha”, even if it doesn’t hit you right away. This is the part that is the trickiest to master, at least for me. Sometimes I stumble on it quite accidentally – other times I keep missing the mark no matter how much editing.

It doesn’t have to be something momentous. But it should be there.

In Japanese, that turning point has a little hint called a cutting word, or kireji. It lets you know the aha is coming. We don’t have cutting words per SE in English. You might see the m-dash used, or just the change between lines in the haiku.

There are many ways to create an aha moment. Some of these are comparison, contrast, association and mystery. You can be straigh-face serious or even humourous. Try your hand at different methods and see what works for you!

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