Haiku Definitions


Trying to define HAIKU ...

Haiku is a kind of formal Japanese poetry, defined by the use of the Japanese language.
The situation for haiku in other languages is rather different, as you will see reading along. ...

Traditional Japanese haiku are about the many changes during the seasons (not simply about nature ! but about the seasonal changes of nature), the changes in the life of plants and animals, heaven and earth, but also the changes in the daily life of humans within the society, like festivals and food.

Traditional Japanese haiku are defined by their form,
whereas ELH are not defined by any form and therefore mostly explained via the opinion of an author/editor and these explanations differ quite a lot. This can be quite confusing for a beginner.

Here I collect definitions of HAIKU, in no particular order, as I find them.
They do not all correspond to my own opinions about HAIKU. It might even be questioned if "Definitions of Haiku" are really good for the genre ...

Once you have defined HAIKU for your convenience, you can try and find the "RULES", guidelines (yakusokugoto) that you want to follow in your composition of haiku.

Send your definition please !
Gabi Greve

HAI 俳 : something humorous, witty, funny, joking : こっけいなこと。おどけ。 as in haikai「俳諧(はいかい)」

KU : part of a text or poem : 文中の言葉のひと区切り。

CLICK for more


Japanese traditional haiku can be defined by form (5-7-5, kigo, kireji)

The simple definition of
three lines (short / long / short)
one season word and
a cut marker
write from personal experience ...
this is where everyone should begin.

But there is more to it once you are well on your way.


If you want to write about personal feelings and interpretations of a situation, or use overly poetic language, better make it a waka or tanka.


No-Definition of Haiku, my Way

If you call a tail a leg, how many legs has a dog?
Five? No, four.
Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg!

Abraham Lincoln

Before reading the parable of Lincoln, I had phrased my question in this way (and that was way before the birth of my kitten Haiku-Kun).

If you take a cat (or dog to keep in the parable),
cut off his head (kigo),
cut off his four legs (5-7-5),
cut off his tail (kire-ji) and
present this creature to the world,
what would it be called?

Maybe a very badly damaged cat/dog, unable to live up to his nameing.

Or maybe reborn as something completely different, vaguely ressembling his former self?

AAAA, what are we to make of this ?
How to name the new creature ?

 © Gabi Greve, 2006

(One of my latest findings is:
The haiku patient has a right to informed consent!)


Mercedes Benz is a German car.
Not all cars in this world are Mercedes.

Other people produce cars "in the spirit of the car",
but give it a different name, like Toyota or ...

I am all for experimenting !

Take off the wheel of kigo
Take off the wheel of cutting word
Take off the wheel of 5 7 5

Drive your "car" safely! You only got one wheel left ...


haimi 俳味 the flavor of haiku

What does this mean in each country where haiku poets live?
In Japan it is a kind of gentle humour ユーモア.
(the HAI of haiku)

In senruy this humour is more open and obvious ユーモアたっぷり.


Basic Conditions of Japanese Language Haiku
Inahata Teiko 稲畑汀子
President of the Japan Traditional Haiku Association

It is very important that you feel free to write a haiku your way.
But there are certain basic conditions which you as a haiku poet are supposed to observe.

In Japan and the world perhaps, there may not be such a short yet profound form of poetry as a haiku. The short poem, namely haiku, consists of 5-7-5 syllables.
This is the first condition.

Picture an iceberg floating on a cold sea. It shows only a small part above the sea while the majority is hidden beneath the water. Like an iceberg haiku shows a very small part in the 5-7-5 syllables while it leaves the poet's sentiment and unspoken messages hidden under the water. If you try to cram too much in a haiku that affords only a snail number of words, your messages will be spread too thin to be meaningful. So it is better, like an iceberg, to reveal a part only and omit or leave hidden as much as possible under the water for the reader's imagination.

Haiku is a poem born from a "season word." Haiku appreciates nature and our daily life by means of season words. From the time you wake up till you say "good night" and retire in bed, your daily life at home and at school is filled with pleasant and unpleasant events, things you want to do, affairs with your friends or family members. Your life further includes a comfortable night, or sleepless hours as it is too cold or too hot. Have you ever stopped to think that all these routine affairs keep you closely related to all the vicissitudes on earth that follow the change of seasons?

Have you ever been aware of what nature has in store for your unbiased eyes and heart? Season words symbolize the nature-man relations.
Haiku is a poetry that expresses itself through season words:
this is the second condition of haiku.

Each person is unique in his or her way of viewing or feeling things.A haiku that reflects your unique viewpoint or feelings belongs to your personality.

Anything can be a good subject for haiku.
This is what I learned through years of haiku practice. I want you, my readers to be always alert for little things around you and appreciate them. I may dare say that haiku poems are not haiku in the true sense of the world which you cannot make unless you visit some scenic spots.

Haiku practice helps discover and grow your sensitiveness which, in turn, enriches your heart and enlightens your observation.
We all live a busy life in a busy world, but haste is not all there is to it. From time to tine we need to stop and look about us. That gives us a moment of quietude of mind, when a haiku is born.

My advice to you. dear readers, is that the first step of haiku practice is for you to describe the scene you see as it is.
To describe or sketch a scene means first to capture a scene with your own eyes, second reflect it on your mind, and third describe what you feel by means of the reflected scene.

Like so many different faces and bodies, Personality determines what is reflected on your heart and how it is reflected. Personality, when expressed in haiku, presents itself in unique feeling and viewpoint, rendering haiku all the more interesting.

A haiku which is stuffed too much has little left in there to impress you.
Omission is the soul of haiku. It contains the whole universe in 17 syllables.
An implied message born from omission is vitally indispensable to haiku. An implied message or, yo-in 余韻, is what you infer from what is expressed in words.

"Ya", "kana", "keri", or "nari" and other kire-ji effectively add to the author's feeling in a short haiku or speak for omitted words. Kire-ji, in this respect, provides a structural support for haiku.
Examples are such works of haiku as are noted for refined sharpness. Haiku that values omission alway seeks perfection by use of Kire-ji or its concept, I think.

Please note an established rule that kire-ji is used just once in a haiku. Two kire-ji might blur the message of a short poem of 17 syllables.

A haiku that fails to make itself clearly understood is one that lacks consideration for the reader, thus failing to convey the writer's poetic sentiment to the recipient.
Always try to make haiku which anyone can understand.

Read the full article HERE
Invitation to Haiku
© Inahata Teiko


A good piece of advise from my Japanese haiku sensei

"Find your own voice within the limits!
Express yourself within the promises (yakusokugoto) of haiku!
And if you can not or do not want to do that,
write free short poetry (tanshi). "

. Freedom and the Haiku Rules .

Gabi Greve


When you think the word HAIKU -
do you think of Japanese haiku first or of English (or your language) haiku first?

The word HAIKU used outside of Japan has taken on so many shades for different poets, it is necessary to define the genre further by using various adjective.

Adjectives are used to define types of Japanese haiku
in ABC order

Association of Japanese Classical Haiku -
Nihon Dentoo Haiku Kyookai 日本伝統俳句協会
Traditional, Classical Haiku - Dento Haiku 伝統俳句

Essential Haiku - Kongen Haiku 根源俳句

Experimental Haiku - Jikkensei Haiku 実験性俳句

Free Autonomous Haiku - Jiritsu Haiku 自律俳句
free form haiku

Modern Haiku - Gendai Haiku 現代俳句

Muki Haiku - Haiku without a season word 無季俳句

Neo-classical Haiku

New Style Haiku - Shintai Haiku 新体俳句

New Trend Haiku - Shin Keiko Haiku 新傾向俳句

Objective sketching from life - Kyakkan Shasei 客観写生

Parody Haiku - Kokkei Haiku 滑稽俳句

Vanguard Haiku - Zenei Haiku 前衛俳句

Young and New Haiku 新興俳句 shinkoo haiku, Shinko Haiku
New Style Haiku

. WKD : More about Haiku .

muki haiku 無季俳句 haiku without a season word
. Muki haiku and Kaneko Tohta .

eigo HA.I.KU 英語ハイク English Haiku
(spelled with katakana to show they differ from 俳句)

Japanese hokku 発句
English language hokku - Hokku

Anglo-Western haiku-ike poems

ELH - English Language Haiku
WLH - Western Language Haiku
HHE - Hybrid Haiku English

desk ku, desku, desk haiku
kitsch ku, キッチュ句 Kitschi-Ku

one-line haiku, monostitch
one-word haiku

free-range haiku
free-style haiku
new ku

haiku-like short poetry
haiku-like free verse
haiku noir

twaiku (on twitter)

sangyooshi 三行詩 Sangyoshi, poem with three lines
gogyooshi 五行詩 Gogyoshi, poem with five lines
Gogyōshi - invented by Taro Aizu in May 2011
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

You find more if you google!

ex-ku = experimental haiku in English

winter's end -
his ex-wife writes
an ex-ku

More TBA as they come up.


Discussion on Facebook in August 2012

Don Baird wrote
Haiku is on the brink of destruction as an art form, drifting farther and farther away from Basho/Buson/Issa/ (even Shiki) poetics, it's almost not recognizable any more. The "last frog" (Basho's ways) is on the edge of being destroyed for ever.
It's so sad.
Folks do not understand that, as Kala mentions, the "river banks are the form and the water is the poetry" (rough quote).
There is so much freedom within form, there is no reason to destroy the form, the aesthetics to create something so new it is beyond recognition.

Gabi wrote to conclude :

I like the image of a river, that whirls and swhirls ...
but in the end, if it looses its "banks",
ends up in the ocean of "short form poetry".
Linda wrote
"I do not understand writers who want to throw out everything
but the name "haiku"."
Same here, Linda.
Why not just give the baby a new name and be done with the endless and often so heated discussions about the "haiku form" and "haiku format" ?
Long live Haiku, Senryu, Zappai . . . and Short Form Poetry.

source : Facebook - Joys of Japan

. Senryu Zappai 川柳, 雑俳 .  


Haiku Society of America
September 2004
Official Definitions of Haiku and Related Terms

A haiku is a short poem that uses imagistic language to convey the essence of an experience of nature or the season intuitively linked to the human condition.

Most haiku in English consist of three unrhymed lines of seventeen or fewer syllables, with the middle line longest, though today's poets use a variety of line lengths and arrangements. In Japanese a typical haiku has seventeen "sounds" (on) arranged five, seven, and five. (Some translators of Japanese poetry have noted that about twelve syllables in English approximates the duration of seventeen Japanese on.)

Traditional Japanese haiku include a "season word" (kigo), a word or phrase that helps identify the season of the experience recorded in the poem, and a "cutting word" (kireji), a sort of spoken punctuation that marks a pause or gives emphasis to one part of the poem.

In English, season words are sometimes omitted, but the original focus on experience captured in clear images continues. The most common technique is juxtaposing two images or ideas (Japanese rensô). Punctuation, space, a line-break, or a grammatical break may substitute for a cutting word.

Most haiku have no titles, and metaphors and similes are commonly avoided. (Haiku do sometimes have brief prefatory notes, usually specifying the setting or similar facts; metaphors and similes in the simple sense of these terms do sometimes occur, but not frequently. A discussion of what might be called "deep metaphor" or symbolism in haiku is beyond the range of a definition.

Various kinds of "pseudohaiku" have also arisen in recent years; see the Notes to "senryu", below, for a brief discussion.)


First Thoughts –
A Haiku Primer by Jim Kacian

The Poetry of the Real

Haiku is the poetry of the real.
That is, it is the poetry which seeks to convey as clearly as possible the actual events of an experience so that the reader may come to find the same experience in himself, and therefore share the insight which the experience prompted. Anything which diverts the reader from that moment works against the purpose of the poem. So it follows that the language in haiku should be chosen with an eye toward making the expression of the experience, the haiku moment, as clear as it possibly can be.

source : blogs.law.harvard.edu

Jim Kacien once said
that a haiku is a haiku
if the poet says it is.

Now it is up to the reader to see this as a haiku, a senryu, a zappai, a short poem, a sentence, or anything else . . .


Haiku and Haiku
by Martin Lucas

What Is Haiku?

Haiku is not haiku. Our ‘haiku' are not haiku. Haiku - here identified by italics - is a very short form of Japanese verse. It would not be quite true to say that it can be written only by a Japanese, but it can be written only in Japanese, and it would require the same level of fluency in Japanese culture, history and literary tradition as in language. If you want to get to know haiku, you need to get to know Japan; the country, the people, the language. That's a huge project, a lifetime's project, but there's no point in minimising the scale of it and pretending that you can somehow get to know haiku without it.

source : http://www.poetrysociety.org.nz/node/460

- Backup Copy


English-language haiku is an altogether different beast from that of the Japanese tradition —
most closely resembling gendai senryu, not haiku.

The Morning After: Haiku Faces a New Century
by Richard Gilbert

source : THF 2nd POSITION



One thing I learned is that any definition of haiku can and will be debated.
This convinced me that a set definition is impossible. Yet among the multitude of contemporary haiku we find poems that really touch us. Certainly the poets who wrote them must have a notion of what really makes a haiku a haiku.

 © Max Verhart, Modern Haiku, 2007



Haiku (俳句) is a mode of Japanese poetry, the late 19th century revision by Masaoka Shiki of the older hokku (発句, hokku).

Hokku once were the opening verses of a linked verse form, haikai no renga. The traditional haiku consisted of a pattern of 5, 7, 5 on. The Japanese word on, meaning "sound", corresponds to a mora, a phonetic unit similar but not identical to the syllable of a language such as English. (The words onji ("sound symbol") or moji (character symbol) are also sometimes used.)
A haiku contains a special season word (the kigo) representative of the season in which the renga is set, or a reference to the natural world.

Haiku usually combines three different lines, with a distinct grammatical break, called kireji, usually placed at the end of either the first five or second seven morae. In Japanese, there are actual kireji words. In English, kireji is often replaced with commas, hyphens, elipses, or implied breaks in the haiku. These elements of the older haiku are considered by many to be essential to haiku as well, although they are not always included by modern writers of Japanese "free-form haiku" and of non-Japanese haiku.

Japanese haiku are typically written as a single line, while English language haiku are traditionally separated into three lines.

In Japanese, nouns do not have different singular and plural forms, so 'haiku' and 'kigo" are usually used as both a singular and plural noun in English as well.

Senryu is a similar poetry form that emphasizes humor and human foibles instead of seasons, and which may not have kigo or kireji.


Defining the haiku form
 © Michael Rehling, Haiku Hut

What is the proper form for haiku in English? Well, a simple definition might be a poem that captures a ‘moment in time’, usually involving nature, and as perceived or experienced by the poet. It is recorded in less than seventeen syllables, usually in three lines, and usually with the center line longer than the others, sometimes with a seasonal reference, or ‘kigo’. Although many times a 5-7-5 pattern is prescribed as a ‘firm’ rule in rudimentary definitions of haiku this is not supported by research, translation, or history, even in Japanese haiku.

One component that does appear critical is a ‘break’, 'cutting word' , or 'turn', which usually occurs between the second and third lines, but can occur also in the second line, but a ‘break’ or shift of perspective that juxtaposes the other images in the poem is considered by many as an important aspect of haiku. There are many ‘schools’ of haiku, both in Japanese and the English, and there always have been. In fact Basho, considered by most scholars to be the Father of the modern haiku, told his students to: “Learn the rules, so that you can break the rules”. Today three lines, two lines, single line, and ‘Zip’ poems all offer the sincere student of this poetic form realistic options to pursue in finding their personal approach to haiku.

Haiku has long been associated with Zen Buddhism, but it has always stood apart from any religious or philosophical bent, and so maintains its universality. Perhaps the association with Zen can best be explained by the fact that both place high value on the ‘present moment’, and human interactions with nature. In any case a knowledge of, or practice of Zen is unnecessary to understanding or creating fine haiku.


This is the poetic art form known as haiku
© Becky Alexander, February 10, 2007

There are many definitions of haiku. I find some of these definitions to be too simple, too complicated, too limiting, too vague. Basically, haiku is a form of short image poetry, about nature, historically from Japan, which has been accepted and become profuse in the Western World. It is most often written in a three-line form, in the present tense.

Historically, in Japan, haiku was based on a strict 17-syllable structure of those three lines: five syllables for the first line, seven for the second, and a repeat of five syllables for the last line. This structure had to do with the vowel sounds in the Japanese language.
But modern haiku, in any language, does not need to follow that regimentation.

A Haiku is:

• a poem that is Japanese in tradition. The art of haiku has moved from Japan into the mainstream literary world and is studied and written around the globe.

• a poem of immediacy; snap your fingers: that nanosecond is the length of a haiku;

• a poem written in the present tense to emphasize its immediate nature;

• a poem that must be authentic: meaning that it must be obvious to the reader that the poet actually and truly experienced what is shown in the haiku.

• a poem honouring nature, which may include human nature.

• a poem that has a sense of loneliness or Sabi (the Japanese word for solitude or loneliness).

Becky gives a lot more • points.
I have only selected a few at random. Please read her full article.


Jane Reichhold

Jane Reichhold, 2000

In my early years of haiku writing, I easily accepted the prevalent credo being espoused on how to write haiku. This was, sometimes implied and occasionally expressed, as being: if the author's mind/heart was correctly aligned in the "proper" attitude, while experiencing a so-called "haiku moment", one merely had to report on the experience to have a darn-good haiku.

Haiku How-to

Take Your Pick

Haiku, which seem so light, free and spontaneous, are built on discipline. If you've a desire to write haiku, you are manifesting a desire for a few more rules in your life. And rules aren't bad as long as they are your rules for your work.

You've heard Robert Frost's saying poetry without rules is like a tennis match without a net and it is true also for haiku. And Basho had his motto: "Learn the rules; and then forget them."

But first he said, "Learn the rules." If you are at that stage of the game (we are all, at all times, students), here are some old and new rules. You can't physically follow all of these, because they conflict, but among them I would hope you'd pick a set just for you. Then write down your thoughts, impressions, and feelings while following your own rules.

As soon as you get proficient (you will notice your haiku all sound alike) it's time to raise the tennis net by picking a new rule or so, either from this list or one you've made up from reading and admiring other haiku, or, and this is possible and not treason, from other poetry genre.

Here we go:
Haiku Rules That Have Come and Gone


The Isn'ts of Haiku

Haiku ISN'T easy to write, but when you get "hooked" you'll be glad you tried it. The study & discipline sharpen the perception & improve all other fields of writing, as well as adding zest to living.
Haiku IS what IS!

Read the full essay HERE:
© Lorraine Ellis Harr, 1976


Do Something Different
by Peter Yovu

Buddhists describe a simple practice: when you find yourself falling into some habitual pattern, acknowledge it, and then step out by doing something different. The idea, of course, is that anything we do by habit we do half-awake at best, and the goal is to wake up.
..... Many writers have decried a sense of "sameness" in much of what appears in the journals today.
..... So what's the problem?
source : poetrysociety.org.nz


I'll omit historical notes for brevity and will talk about the haiku form only. There are some levels in this art; I'll go from the simplest "external" to the most difficult "internal" level gradually. ... snip ...

7. Philosophy
a) Experience.
b) Unity and Harmony.

8. Humor in Haiku

The Definition of Haiku
Alexey Andreyev, 1996

Text 01 / Text 02


Beyond the Haiku Moment
Haruo Shirane

What would Basho and Buson say if they were alive today and could read English and could read haiku done by North American poets?

I think that they would be delighted to find that haiku had managed to cross the Pacific and thrive so far from its place of origin. They would be impressed with the wide variety of haiku composed by North American haiku poets and find their work most innovative. At the same time, however, they would also be struck, as I have been, by the narrow definitions of haiku found in haiku handbooks, magazines, and anthologies.


An Analysis of Haiku in 12-dimensional Space
Charles Trumbull
A.C. Missias : ... Thus, Missias points our attention to the haiku “norm,” while acknowledging the existence and even importance of non-normative haiku, while Platt concentrates on developing and proving subjective criteria for the definition of “normal.”
source : Simply Haiku 2004


In a Sea of Indeterminacy:
Fourteen Ways of Looking at Haiku

Peter Harris

Haiku as Koan
Haiku as Global Phenomenon
Haiku as Tip of a Pyramid
Haiku as an Adapted Japanese Form
Haiku as a Paradigm for Modernism
Haiku as Beat Phenomenon
Pioneering Specialist: Cor van den Heuvel
Roberta Beary
The Generalist and the Specialist: Billy Collins and Scott Metz
Robert Hass
Chase Twichell
Ted Kooser and Jim Harrison
Ian Marshall
Haiku's Current Future
References and Further Reading

source : books.google.ca



Collection of further links by HAIKUPOET

in 17 syllables from Cricket
A.C. Missias from Perihelion magazine.
Alexey Andreyev from the Shiki Internet Haiku Salon.
John Barlow from Snapshots magazine
Matsuo Bashô
R. H. Blyth
a checklist from the British Haiku Society
Dan Brook
L. A. Davidson from Feelings magazine.
Allen Ginsberg
Harold G. Henderson
Forms in English Haiku by Keiko Imaoka
Jack Kerouac
Jane Reichhold from the Shiki Internet Haiku Salon.
Santôka Taneda
Beyond the Haiku Moment by Haruo Shirane
Speculations by Robert Spiess

Above all,
a Haiku must be very simple and free of all poetic trickery
and make a little picture and yet be
as airy and graceful as a Vivaldi Pastorella.
Jack Kerouac

source : haikupoet.com


genuine haiku

a term not known in Japan
maybe "traditional haiku "


ELH - English Language Haiku

Humpty-Dumpty: Through the Looking Glass

`I don’t know what you mean by “haiku,”‘ Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously.
`Of course you don’t — till I tell you . . .
When I use a word,’
Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone,
`it means just what I choose it to mean —
neither more nor less.’

`The question is,’ said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.’”

`The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master – - that’s all.’”

source : THF 11th sailing

E-L “haiku” 英語ハイク
. . . if we were being sticklers, haiku would have to remain in quotation marks.
Philip Rowland
source : THF 4th POSITION
Is Haiku Poetry? - Discussion


haiku about the environment

Enviroku is a relatively new medium for used by many environmental activists all over the world. This method seeks to implant messages in not only the minds but also the hearts of the its target audiences by combining the ancient Japanese art of haiku with important messages about today's issues.



kitsch ku, キッチュ句 Kitschi-Ku

Waka is kitsch. Haiku is kitsch.
Waka and haiku are greatest art.
All the statements are corrects although they are contradictory.

avant-garde and kitsch
source : avantgardeandkitsch.blogspot.com

an inferior, tasteless copy of an extant style of art

Two dollars
thrown in rusty bowl -
a day's meal.

source : athenatyh.blogspot.com


At I-ku Haiku you can create a haiku, then send it as an eCard and/or submit for on-site publication.
I-ku Haiku
The Haiku Gallery


haiku noir

A term not familiar in Japan.

Fire Blossoms: The Birth of Haiku Noir
Denis M. Garrison

Haiku Noir is a new variety of the ancient poetic form, haiku.
Haiku noirs exist at the farthest end of the spectrum of subject matter, dealing with that which is not generally considered to be proper subject matter for the classical haiku; for example: tragedy, loss, sorrow, depression, madness, terror, horror, anger, macabre humor, anti-heroism, crime, passion, the underworld/subcultures, squalor, eros, science fiction and fantasy.
We are developing a new kind of haiku, not in the classical form, so the rules are substantially simpler.
source : haikunoir/editorial


Deutsche Haiku Gesellschaft
Haiku - Was ist das?

Eine sehr alte japanische Tradition sind Kettengedichte. Ein Dichter schreibt einen siebzehnsilbigen ersten Teil, das so genannte Hokku und der oder die PartnerIn ergänzen vierzehn Silben. Es galt als besondere Ehre, das Hokku vorgeben zu dürfen.
Damit die Dichter, sollte ihnen diese Ehre zuteil werden, nicht mit leeren Händen da standen, wurden schon früh Sammlungen besonders gelungener Hokku veröffentlicht. Aus ihnen entwickelte sich das Haiku.

Warum zählt man in japanischen Gedichten die Silben? Das japanische kennt keine Silbenbetonung, so dass nicht, wie z.B. in europäischen Sprachen, Hebungen oder Betonungen das Versmaß bestimmen. Deutsche Silben sind in der Regel sehr viel länger als japanische und transportieren meistens mehr Inhalt. Deshalb sollten siebzehn Silben als Obergrenze für deutsche Haiku gelten.

Ein unverzichtbarer Bestandteil japanischer Dichtung ist der Bezug auf eine Jahreszeit. Seit Beginn des letzten Jahrhunderts spielen aber auch Themen wie Verstädterung und Industrialisierung eine Rolle. Neue Haiku-Schulen hinterfragen die traditionelle Form.
Wie keine andere Versform hat sich das Haiku rasant in der Welt ausgebreitet und wird in allen bedeutenden Sprachen geschrieben.
Überall probieren Menschen aus, was Haiku für sie bedeuten kann.


... still too many American haiku being written about Japanese subjects ?

... "pseudo-haiku," how you would define it ?

... haiku and senryu on issues of social concern ?

... what is "haiku sensibility" ?

Discussing Haiku
Larry Bole, Haiku Information Board, December 2007


desk ku, desku, desk haiku (no Japanese equivalent)

This naming should not be mixed with the judgement of the "quality" of a haiku.

A haiku is an experience, where the poet is leading his normal life, practising awareness and suddenly becomes aware of something special ... a haiku is born.
(genba ni tatsu, to be there on the spot) as my sensei would say. The AHA moment is not a common expression in Japan.)

The haiku comes to the poet.

A deskku is said to be one where the poet sits down with the intention :
Now I am going to write a haiku about xyz kigo or xyz keyword.
Of course (hopefully) he takes the material from memories and past experience, or uses his imagination and wit, but anywy ....
Some forums give daily prompts or use the last word of the haiku before them in line to stimulate writing.

The poet looks for a haiku.

Another version of a "desk ku" is the toriawase, joining two ideas.
Once the poet has his inspriation from an experience, usually in two lines of a haiku, he now looks for an appropriate kigo in his vocabulary.
Poetry needs finetuning and crafting like any other craft, and toriawase is one step in this direction.
Toriawase technique of writing haiku is already taught in Japanese grammar schools.

. toriawase 取り合わせ .  
literally "taking and putting together",
"a combination, an arrangement, an assortment"  

Gabi Greve


Jane Reichhold

Slowly, over the years, I found by reading the translations of the old Japanese masters and the haiku of my contemporaries whom I admired, that there were more factors than just these three on which one could build a haiku. However, there seemed a disinterest in others wanting to study these aspects which I call techniques. Perhaps this is because in the haiku scene there continues to be such a reverence for the haiku moment and such a dislike for what are called "desk haiku".
The definition of a desk haiku is one written from an idea or from simply playing around with words. If you don't experience an event with all your senses it is not valid haiku material. A ku from your mind was half-dead and unreal. An experienced writer could only smile at such naivet・ but the label of "desk haiku" was the death-knell for a ku declared as such. This fear kept people new to the scene afraid to work with techniques or even the idea that techniques were needed when it came time to write down the elusive haiku moment.
source : www.ahapoetry.com


GOOGLE for more: "definition of haiku"

GOOGLE for more: "My "definition" of haiku"

Haiku are like amaryllis: They thrive in close quarters. And with its 140-character limit, Twitter is blooming with haiku — or twaiku, as some call them.



Haiku, Senryu, Zappai (俳句, 川柳, 雑俳 )


. . . . . BACK TO
My Haiku Theory Archives  


How about this symbolic thought concerning
"Haiku without Kigo":

Instead of aruging

Our parents wore trousers and shirts, but who cares,
we are now going naked (without kigo!)

you might argue

Our parents wore a certain kind of cloths that do not really fit in our times, so let us try and design new ones that fit our climate and culture
(start our local saijiki with regional kigo!).

(With the World Kigo Database running since 2004, I think I have shown a way that it can be done, though it takes a lot of effort ... )

And there is nothing wrong with running around naked at the right place in the righ time ... !

Gabi Greve, World Kigo Database


Haiku an Art of Discovery
David G. Lanoue talks with Angelika Wienert

Angelika Wienert:
Haiku is traditionally a genre with a strong seasonal reference. How do you qualify haiku without kigo? Do you agree with Kacian and others that kigo and / or keywords work in haiku?

David G. Lanoue:
When I'm writing haiku in a traditional mode, I include a seasonal reference. When I'm not writing in a traditional mode, I don't include a season word.

I see no reason to muddy the waters with a new category: the so-called "keywords" that poets like Ban'ya Natsuishi are putting forth. Instead of inventing a new, Byzantine system of keywords, and thus inviting the inevitable, endless argument over which words to include and which to leave out; why don't we just keep it simple and say:

(1) traditional haiku has a season word;
(2) non-traditional haiku has no season word?

My definition of haiku embraces both its traditional and non-traditional forms, so long as the haiku is a quest of discovery into the truth of the universe where the conscious mind collaborates with an "Other Power" of imagination and deep feeling.

 © Interview with Angelika Wienert


Haiku in the US

Some thoughts by Jim Wilson

I want to suggest that there are two haiku worlds in the U.S.
The first is a kind of 'official' haiku world. It is the world of the HSA and Northern California Haiku Poets, and other local Haiku organizations. They tend to be small but dedicated.

With the significant exception of Yuki Teiki, they all tend to advocate for free verse haiku. It is in this sense that I meant that American Haiku has become a type of free verse; that is to say that official, or organizational, American Haiku has become a type of free verse.

Outside of the context of official haiku organizations there is another type of haiku. It is not organized; that is to say it doesn't have any official organization advocating for its point of view.

Read more here please :
. WKD : Haiku in the US  
February 2011


Jari Sutinen:

Debate on
Is Western Haiku a Second Rate Art?

“If we judge haiku with this statement it leads to following.
Only thing we end taking from Japanese haiku is its name.
We neglect its long traditions. We are not even trying to understand differences between Western and Japanese culture. In 1930′s an article was published about Japanese poetry by G.J. Ramstedt. In it there was a short passage about Yone Noguchi analysing a “Western poem”.

According to Noguchi after taking out all the unnecessary tautology and unmeaningful words from four stanzas there was not enough left for a tanka. See the difference between two approaches. If we take something from others we could at least try to understand their culture, even a little.
What’s the point of judging something with standards of your own culture if that something does not originate from it?”

. WHC Academia Discussion  
WHC, May 2001


Tsukinami Haiku 月並み俳句

"monthly haiku", a term for haiku written at the monthly or bimonthly haiku meetings at the end of the Edo period. They often wrote trite and hackneyed, clichee and mediocre haiku. Often written by poets to make a living by haiku writing and catering to the (often low) taste of their patrons.

Shiki often used the word tsukinami .
Mediocre haiku poets blindly following traditional conventions in a superficial way. Low-quality haiku. Clichee-poems.

Some modern haiku poets think writing haiku to get a special intellectual effect or impress the editors of magazines is a form of tsukinami.

tooyama ni hi no ataritaru kareno kana

In the distant hills
A patch where sunlight touches
The withered meadows.

Tr. Donald Keene

Written on November 25, 1900 at Kyoshi-An

Stepping out of his home, he could see the Shikoku mountains behind Dogo Hot Spring in Matsuyama Town. When the last sunshine hit these mountains, he felt some sort of comfort and security in his life. This is all he wanted to express in this haiku.
He did not want interpret this haiku as a talk about the change of seasons, the change of the human heart or anything personalized in this haiku, as his son tried to interpret it.

"No need to interpret it in the lines of "jinsei kan", an outlook of human life, or a generalization about the human condition. If you do that, it will only be "tsukinami", a mediocre haiku.
I only wrote about what was in front of my eyes!"

Read more here:
Withered fields (kareno)Discussion


cultural snobbery ???
Let's expand the "boundaries" of haiku-production to include areas outside of Japan.
The American minipoem has its roots in the Japanese short poetry form, haiku...

Chibi and Larry discussing, December 2008

Japanese and English Haiku are different, and we have to accept this as a fact.
Japanese are like a game that have "Haiku Rules" that can not be changed, unless you re-name the game and play it differently. They have a recipe for "Haiku bread" and if you change the rules, you get a different kind of cookie ... and so on with the examples.


- The Complete Works Of Chuang Tzu - Zhuangzi

Words are not just wind. Words have something to say.
But if what they have to say is not fixed,
then do they really say something?
Or do they say nothing?
People suppose that words are different from the peeps of baby birds, but is there any difference, or isn't there?
What does the Way rely upon, that we have true and false?
What do words rely upon, that we have right and wrong? How can the Way go away and not exist?
How can words exist and not be acceptable?
When the Way relies on little accomplishments and words rely on vain show, then we have the rights and wrongs of the Confucians and the Mo-ists.
What one calls right the other calls wrong;
what one calls wrong the other calls right.
But if we want to right their wrongs and wrong their rights, then the best thing to use is clarity.
What is acceptable we call acceptable;
what is unacceptable we call unacceptable.
A road is made by people walking on it; things are so because they are called so.
What makes them so?
Making them so makes them so.
What makes them not so?
Making them not so makes them not so.
Things all must have that which is so; things all must have that which is acceptable. There is nothing that is not so, nothing that is not acceptable.

source : Translated by Burton Watson




Anonymous said...



Joku > Jokes

A Call for the Complete Elimination of Joke Haiku - An urgent appeal by Paul Henry (read the signatories as well!)

Grumpy Dog by Bill Flanagan (Self-Proclaimed "Bakai") - The Farting Frog, The Thicket of Thorns, and other haiku collections

Airless Suburban Haiku by Bela P. Selendy - A cynical celebration of conspicuous consumption in haiku form

BadHaiku - "Horrible poetry for the digital age"

Spamku - Spam Haiku Archive - SPAM, that mysterious food product, has spawned a post-modern, cross-cultural literary form: SPAM-ku

Haiku Movie Reviews - Capsule film reviews compressed into 17 syllables

I pity the Haiku - Poetry devoted to Mr. T

Gangsta Haiku - Haiku from the hood

Bar Haiku - "We were out drinking one night at a local pub when we started to write haiku…"

Haikoo! - A Haikoo! Yahoo! Page

Haiku Obituaries - Heather's haiku for dead people

Haiku of Bing - Some may not be aware, but the poetry of Bing Crosby is an amazing part of our country's literary history

Iron Chef - Food haiku

Kahlo-HaiKu - Inspired by the paintings of Frida Kahlo

Kids in the Hall Haikus - Inspired by Jennifer in the chat rooms of AOL

Toast Point Haiku - Archives from Toast Point Haiku Contests

Harry Potter Haiku - Behold the Wisdom of Hogwarts

Piggy Poop Ku - Little brown pig poop. Lying on the cold wet ground. Soggy and helpless


Pet Haiku >

Doggie Ku - The name says it all

DogHaikus - Poetry for your pets


News & Politics >

EdKu - Editorial Haiku Archive

Headline Haiku - All your news in seventeen syllables

Unabomber Haiku -

Post Bush Election Haiku -


Sci-Fi Haiku >

SciFaiku.com -

SciFailku by Todd Hoff -

SciFaiku and Other Poems -

SciFaiku by James M. Palmer (1999) -

SciFaiku Review o Rama - A place to get your scifaiku reviewed

SciFaiku by Bruce Wyman -

Remote Viewing -

Sam's SciFaiku -

Oino Sakai -

Space Navy - Mike Kretsch -

JB Wocoski (1999) -

Romeo Esparrago -


Computer-Generated >

AHA!'S Haiku Writer - Computer-generated haiku

Everypoet Genuine Haiku Generator - Example: "mermaids somersault, blameless orchestra moving, leaning, bragging spear"

Haiku O'Matic - Example: I beat up a man... the b*($t"rd stole my wallet….oh, wait! Here it is!

Create your own Pseudo-Haiku Poetry - Your original haiku served up quick and easy - By Rodrigo de Almeida Siqueira


hahaha, that is about IT !

Anonymous said...

Dhugal Lindsay, Shiki Archives Mon, 5 Jun 1995


The following essay was written by EKUNI Shigeru

....HAIKUと俳句はあくまで別ものだという瘢雹のが、私の基本的な考え方である。それは もしかすると国際俳句交流協会の方針や活動の足を引っぱる考え方なのかもしれないが、本心を偽るわけにはいかない。だからといって、 HAIKU、すなわち日本語以外の言語で書かれた作品否定したり排斥したりする気は、毛頭ない。短誌型の文芸としてHAIKUが各国で盛んになるのは、大歓迎である。

  HAIKU作・・圓版亢膾遉踉市は、同じ短詩型の詩人として、話を合わせることもできるし、つき合いもできる。ただし、濃い身内という瘢雹わけにはいかない。遠い親戚という瘢雹と ころで、つかず離れずのつき合い方をするのが、陸苳殺踉市にとっていちばんかしこい態度だ と考える。


...My honest opinion is that HAIKU (in English) and Haiku (in Japanese) are separate and distinct. This may frustrate the aims and activities of the Haiku International Association, but I cannot lie to myself.

This does not mean that I think that HAIKU written in other languages should be rejected or ignored. As a form of short poem, I welcome the rising popularity of HAIKU in other countries.

The writers of HAIKU and Haiku, as writers of short poems, can of course, talk to and associate with each other. However, they are not members of the same immediate family.
They are more like distant relatives and I feel that maybe the most sensible course to take is to stay neither to close nor too remote from each other.

"Sensible" is used here in the sense of "not strained".


I also agree that AT THE MOMENT, generally speaking, HAIKU and haiku are separate and distinct BUT I do not believe, as some Japanese Haijin do, that Westerners can not understand or grasp the core of Haiku.

Several Western poets make haiku very close to the spirit of the Japanese haiku way. I think it is a problem of having different concepts on what a haiku is.

Most dictionary definitions states that "haiku" is:

a Japanese poem or verse form, consisting of 17 syllables divided
into 3 lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables, often about nature or a season.

and makes no reference to the thought processes. A haiku is often not ABOUT nature, it only INCLUDES a reference to nature as a way of indirectly stating what the poet is trying to get across.

CONTENT is important, next comes the season and last comes the form. And at that,rhythm comes before syllable count and number of lines.

Although I may have sounded like a stickler for form in a recent post, the above is the order of importance I hold for the elements of haiku. Haiku are still haiku without the form but that doesn't mean that a set form shouldn't be aimed for.

Regards, Dhugal

Anonymous said...

I think that, in the end, considering all the rules and traditions so far, one will still end up writing haiku in the manner which suits him the most, reflecting the poet's innermost nature, desires, inclinations, and, of course, style. Some of the haiku will "look like" haiku as the traditionalists have defined it, and others will appear to have branched off in new and exciting directions. It is good to know the basics, but it is better, I think, to determine first for yourself what it is exactly that YOU want, and if the rules, as you have understood them, also apply to you. Only then can your own poetry be called genuine.

That said, I also don't think that any one poet can call himself an expert on the subject. How does one know what is going on in someone else's heart?

Ella W.

Anonymous said...


Though there were earlier false starts, for example among the Imagist poets, for all practical purposes “haiku” in English really began in the middle of the 20th century.

It developed as the result of two chief resources – the writings of Reginald Horace (R. H.) Blyth, and secondarily, the lesser writings of Harold G. Henderson.

When Blyth began writing on the subject in the mid 20th century, he did so with the assumption that “hokku” was virtually dead, and though a simulacrum was still being widely written in Japan under Shiki’s term “haiku” (which Blyth thus unfortunately adopted in his books as a makeshift way to refer to both hokku and haiku, the former term having nearly faded from Japanese everyday use), for all practical purposes, Blyth was writing a memorial to hokku as a dead and gone “Camelot” of Japanese literature.

He carried the tale of its demise through the revisionism of Shiki and those who followed him in the early 20th century.

Read more here

Anonymous said...

Haiku, Hokku and Humour

Many people are puzzled to learn that humor is one of the qualities of hokku. They are quite correct in noting that there is nothing humorous about a great many hokku, and even those that are pointed out as having humor are generally nowhere near as humorous as hokku’s “evil twin,” senryû.


The subtlety of humor in hokku explains the confusion–why so many are puzzled when hearing of its humor. The word “humor” makes them think of belly laughs, of milk-from-the-nose-inducing funnyness, but the humor of hokku is not at all like that. Recognizing it can even be a matter of mood and personal experience.

Read more HERE

Anonymous said...

Hokku ...

What does fit hokku?
Not obvious emotion, not obvious thinking, but rather things presented as sensory experiences in the context of the seasons — Nature and the place of humans as a part of Nature.

No emotion is needed, no “thinking,” no attempt to be poetic or clever. It is this simple fact that evades many who attempt hokku, and they go off in the wrong direction. Hokku at its best is sensory experience — seeing, touching, hearing, tasting, and smelling. The best hokku present only this, because nothing more is required.

I repeat again and again to students that hokku is not poetry as we normally think of it. In hokku the poetry is not in the words but in the experience. That is the poverty and simplicity and selflessness of hokku.

Copyright 2007
David Coomler


Anonymous said...

Copyright 2007
David Coomler

As most readers know, haiku nearly destroyed hokku — haiku with its lack of universal standards and principles, haiku with its ease of writing that made instruction nearly obsolete and ego gratification almost instant, haiku with its application to any subject imaginable, haiku with its abandonment of normal English grammatical usage and punctuation and capitalization. It was all made so EASY — and that is the great failing of our time.

Everything must be quick, must be easy, must offer instant gratification. And so much that has proved its value over time is therefore cast aside and forgotten.

Haiku, for the most part, has changed the verse form to fit the lives of “modern” people; one of its constant slogans is that hokku, with its capitalization, its punctuation, its limitations of subject matter and its connection to season is “old fashioned,” which of course in our times means “worthless.”

Hokku is very different. In hokku we do not change the verse to fit the lives of moderns. We change the lives to meet the standards of hokku, and that means increasing depth, not the increasing shallowness of haiku.

More is here


Anonymous said...

World Haiku 2008
by Ban'ya Natsuishi

"Why are we interested in haiku writing, not as a classical short poetry peculiar to Japan, but as a contemporary short poem which may be creative in any language, in any country? Why is haiku writing still creative in our own days?
One of the most typical misunderstandings [I have encountered] is that a person inspired by a trivial moment can write a good haiku.
Everybody knows that haiku is a short poem, but the fact that a verbal universe made by an excellent haiku is boundless is not so well known. ... Basho's haiku as a basis for our haiku is written from a moving and free viewpoint, and it can build up a dynamic and vast universe including contrasting elements. These charachters are extremely suitable to contemporary art and literature and explains why haiku is always avant-garde, why it always has a feeling of freshness to it.
Free form poems may be connected with modern democracy in the West, therefore fixed form is anachronistic in the West. ... What is the difference between free form haiku and free short poem in 3 lines? ... Nobody can give a perfect reply to this problem.
Haiku is shorter in line, more suggestive, tight, and intense in expression, and it contains more concrete images. In haiku, each word is filled with more potential power. ... haiku is always the essence of poetry.
we [would] rather promote haiku writing in any language, in any country, than make up a world-wide definition of haiku to narrow its possibilities."

Anonymous said...

rules, definitions and kigo
... again and again in the KIGO HOTLINE !
September 2008 version

Anonymous said...

from Lilliput Review :

Let me let Blyth speak for himself:

----- The history of mankind, as a history of the human spirit, may be thought of as consisting of two elements: an escape from this world to another; and a return to it. Chronologically speaking, these two movements, the rise and fall, represent the whole of human history; and the two take place microcosmically many times in peoples and nations. But they may be thought of as taking place simultaneously or rather, beyond time, and then they form an ontological description of human nature.

-----There seems to me no necessity, however, to make a Spenglerian attempt to show from historical examples how there has been a movement towards ideas, ideas, abstractions; and a corresponding revulsion from them. In our own individual lives, and in the larger movements of the human spirit these two contradictory tendencies are more or less visible always, everywhere. There is a quite noticeable flow towards religion in the early world, and in the early life of almost every person,-and a later ebb from it, using the word "religion" here in the sense of a means of escape from this life.

-----The Japanese, by an accident of geography, and because of something in their national character, took part in the developments of this "return to nature," which in the Far East began (to give them a local habitation and a name) with Enô, the 6th Chinese Patriarch of Zen, 637-713 A. D. The Chinese, again because of their geography perhaps, have always had a strong tendency in poetry and philosophy towards the vast and vague, the general and sententious. It was left, therefore, to the Japanese to undertake this "return to things" in haiku, but it must be clearly understood that what we return to is never the same as what we once left, for we have ourselves changed in the meantime. So we go back to the old savage animism, and superstition, and common life of man and spirits and trees and stones,-and yet there is a difference. Things have taken on something of the tenuous nature of the abstractions they turned into. Again, spring and autumn, for example, non-existant, arbitrary distinctions, have attained a body and palpability they never before had. We also, we are the things,-and yet we are ourselves, in a perpetual limbo of heaven and hell.

-----It was necessary for us to prostrate ourselves before the Buddha, to spend nine long years wall-gazing, to be born in the Western Paradise. But now, no more. Now we have to come back from Nirvana to this world, the only one. We have to live, not with Christ in glory, but with Jesus and his mother and father and brothers and sisters. We return to the friends of our childhood, the rain on the window-pane; the long silent roads of night, the waves of the shore that never cease to fall; the moon, so near and yet so far; all the sensations of texture, timbre, weight and shape, those precious treasures and inexhaustible riches of every-day life.

-----Haiku may well seem at first sight a poor substitute for the glowing visions of Heaven and Paradise seen of pale-lipped asceties. As Arnold says:

----------Long fed on boundless hopes, O race of man,
----------How angrily thou spurn'st all simpler fare!

Haiku have a simplicity that is deceptive both with regard to their depth of content and to their origins, and it is the aim of this and succeeding volumes to show that haiku require our purest and most profound spiritual appreciation, for they represent a whole world, the Eastern World, of religious and poetic experience. Haiku is the final flower of all Eastern culture; it is also a way of living.


Anonymous said...

'Haiku is a joke played by the Japanese on Westerners, who, at
best, only think they get it.'

Carolyn Cordon (Redbanks, SA)


anonymous said...


I have also spoken often of how English-language “haiku,” once it came into existence, began very quickly to fragment into endlessly bickering and warring camps writing many different kinds of verse yet confusingly calling all of it “haiku, no matter how remote it was from the kind of haiku begun and advocated by Masaoka Shiki.


anonymous, quote from Haiku Foundation, 4th sailing said...

David Coomler:
I often say that modern haiku — particularly post-traditional haiku — is based upon a fundamental misunderstanding and misperception of the nature and aesthetics of the old hokku — a seeing of it not for what it was, but rather a projection onto it — to use your term and Jung’s — of what was already familiar from Western poetry and culture.

Discussion is here

anonymous said...

micropoetry and miniature poetry
Sometimes it’s a haiku, sometimes it’s just a short, micro poem. It almost always fits into a Twitter update or SMS message.


anonymous said...

Nick Avis on Newfoundland and Pop Culture Haiku:

Haiku gets a focus when non-haiku poets try it as an exercise,

It’s an unfortunately situation where the term is watered down to the point where publishers ask “no haiku please.” Partly, why haiku can be misunderstood as sentimental 5-7-5 verse about anything under the sun is from popular figures writing without a knowledge base of the history. Partly, within the community there is a laxness of terms, where we call a senryu without season’s kigo, a haiku.
We add to the confusion.

Haiku North America 2009

anonymous said...

Jack Galmitz on the THF BLOG

Modern English language haiku, whose antecedents can be traced to the Japanese verse forms of hokku and its late 19th century revisionist form of haiku, is a brief verse, generally written in one, two, or three lines, that presents the earth-the sensuous reality of the non-human- and sets it into the world-the historical human context.

In its function of naming, it allows the non-human ,with its quality of strangeness, to be perceived in a way it cannot do of its own accord; the haiku process of naming brings beings to words and thereby to openness, to appearance and thus into the human world. In this dual purpose of haiku, seasonal references (the original Japanese “kigo”) are sometimes retained, as is juxtaposition of two phrases comprising the form ( a facsimile of the original Japanese “kireji), a means of opening or knowing the unknown and imposing an order on and meaning to it.

In modern English-language haiku, bringing beings to words and appearance makes them shine with resplendence and sometimes this process may be likened to “epiphany,” although an epiphany of the mind, and not of a deity.


anonymous said...

Nothing can permanently please, which doesn't contain in itself the reason why it is so, and not otherwise.

Anonymous said...

haiqua : haiku quatrain
cirku : circular haiku
haipho : photo with haiku

any more ?

anonymous said...

Haiku as Poetic Spell
by Martin Lucas
New Zealand
a paper delivered at the 4th Haiku Pacific Rim Conference in Terrigal, Australia, in September
. . . the movement as a whole evolves much more slowly, and from certain angles it now looks as if it has reached something of a plateau. This plateau is a position of conformity, complacency and mere competence. And the pressures towards conformity are acute enough to make it difficult to remain true to your own original inspirations, poetic preferences and little awkwardnesses that resist hammering into shape.

To understand the context of this discussion, we need to appreciate that haiku in English developed largely using translations as models. Translations tend to concentrate on conveying content with accuracy, sacrificing any attempt to replicate formal effects such as rhythm and alliteration. The historical consequence of this has been that poets writing original haiku in English have focused on what is said and paid relatively little attention to how it is said.

The internationally accepted formula runs something like this (expressed here in 5-7-5 for my own amusement, though 5-7-5 is now outmoded as far as the arbiters of taste are concerned)
. . .
To approach the poetic spell via imagery often appears to involve nothing more than mere description.
. . .
To approach the spell via language, we need more emphasis on form as opposed to content, and on expression as opposed to information.

Read More

Anonymous said...

quote from Mainichi Japan, November 9, 2010

PARIS -- Haiku poet Madoka Mayuzumi , who has been living in Paris since April this year as a Japanese government-designated "cultural envoy," frowns on "French haiku" despite a haiku boom here.

"French people's haiku poems often fail to follow the basics," says Mayuzumi, whose mission in France is to "foster better understanding of Japanese culture through haiku."

"In haiku, there are the 'yuki-teikei' rules for expression, in which you have to include 'kigo' (seasonal words) and use a fixed 5-7-5 syllable pattern. But French people's poems often don't have kigo or the syllable pattern," the 48-year-old points out.

Needless to say, it is not easy to write a haiku poem in a 5-7-5 format in French, and kigo that originates from Japan struggles to fit into French natural features. By making a "haiku" without following these rules, it becomes nothing but a "short poem."

"The French hate to be tied to rules, but in haiku, there are rules that encourage you to be free and creative," Mayuzumi explains. She devotes considerable time to explain Japan's unique culture of "rules" at gatherings of French people.

As part of her mission, Mayuzumi wants to define unified haiku rules that suit French culture. Living in Paris has made her able to see Japan more clearly. This summer, the poet went on a journey retracing the footsteps of French poet Paul-Louis Couchoud, who introduced haiku to his country a century ago.

(By Naoki Fukuhara, Paris Bureau)


anonymous said...

By Lera Boroditsky

Humans communicate with one another using a dazzling array of languages, each differing from the next in innumerable ways. Do the languages we speak shape the way we see the world, the way we think, and the way we live our lives? Do people who speak different languages think differently simply because they speak different languages? Does learning new languages change the way you think? Do polyglots think differently when speaking different languages?

These questions touch on nearly all of the major controversies in the study of mind. They have engaged scores of philosophers, anthropologists, linguists, and psychologists, and they have important implications for politics, law, and religion. Yet despite nearly constant attention and debate, very little empirical work was done on these questions until recently. For a long time, the idea that language might shape thought was considered at best untestable and more often simply wrong. Research in my labs at Stanford University and at MIT has helped reopen this question. We have collected data around the world: from China, Greece, Chile, Indonesia, Russia, and Aboriginal Australia. What we have learned is that people who speak different languages do indeed think differently and that even flukes of grammar can profoundly affect how we see the world. Language is a uniquely human gift, central to our experience of being human. Appreciating its role in constructing our mental lives brings us one step closer to understanding the very nature of humanity.

I often start my undergraduate lectures by asking students the following question: which cognitive faculty would you most hate to lose? Most of them pick the sense of sight; a few pick hearing. Once in a while, a wisecracking student might pick her sense of humor or her fashion sense. Almost never do any of them spontaneously say that the faculty they'd most hate to lose is language. Yet if you lose (or are born without) your sight or hearing, you can still have a wonderfully rich social existence. You can have friends, you can get an education, you can hold a job, you can start a family. But what would your life be like if you had never learned a language? Could you still have friends, get an education, hold a job, start a family? Language is so fundamental to our experience, so deeply a part of being human, that it's hard to imagine life without it. But are languages merely tools for expressing our thoughts, or do they actually shape our thoughts?


Gabi Greve, Joys of Japan - Poetry said...

I like food !
yea, but what kind of food?
well, there is mother's traditional food, modern fast food, Chinese food, sushi ...
I like haiku.
yea, but what kind of haiku?
well, there is traditional Japanese haiku, there is modern haiku, there is ELH, spamku ...
Sometimes words have such a wide spectrum of meaning
they become difficult to communicate what we are really talking about.
I like food !
I like good food !

Anonymous said...

Haikus for Jews

Written by David M. Bader

Perhaps the most brilliant poet of the Jewish haiku was Sheldon
"Sashimi" Lepstein,

No fins, no flippers,
the gefilte fish swims with
some difficulty.

Unknown said...

just wanted to thank you for this. awesome collection. i'm doing a small workshop on haiku this weekend, and this overview has definitely broadened my horizon to all the lovely forms of perfection and imperfection that we can find and cfeate in haiku.