What is haiku?
Haiku (hi-koo) is a form of poetry that originated in Japan, but has now spread worldwide.
The practise of writing haiku is enormously popular in New Zealand, which is internationally recognised for the outstanding number of haijin (masters of haiku) presently living and working here.
Over the years and with so many successful practioners in other countries, haiku have moved away from the original strict 17 syllables arranged in three lines of 5, 7 & 5 syllables each.
Haiku do not tell a story they capture a moment in time.
When writing your own haiku work to the following guideleines that are universally accepted.
When in doubt simplify.
Haiku are between one and four lines long.
A haiku could contain around twenty syllables in all so you can recite it in a single breath.
Write you haiku in the present tense about what is happening now.
Refer to at least one of the five senses; sight, sound, taste, touch and smell.
Haiku should be real and are usually about nature or the external world.
Haiku are not rhymed.
You can contrast two images in a haiku.
Don't imply similie or metaphore in your haiku.
Keep adjectives and adverbs to a minimum or better still don't use them at all.
Prefer every day language and find the extraordinary in the ordinary.
Don't use capitals or punctuation.
write your haiku to capture a moment on the wing.
Kaiku knows when enough has been said.
It has been said that there is no symbolism or egotism in haiku that haiku shows us how to see into the life of things and gain a glimpse of enlightenment.
Learning to write haiku is an ongoing process and it is not as easy as the simplicity of the form would seem to suggest.
However it is excellent training for the writing of poetry in general, as it helps you to avoid over-writing.
This information about haiku is based on an excellent handout produced by Sandra Simpson Sandra has made this freely available to students of haiku and is an acknowledged expert, prize winning writer and is featured on the Katikati Haiku Pathway.