Wednesday, 2 April 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014 day 2

With so many people murdering haiku, I figured I might jump in. True haiku is rare and most people are writing pseudoku, flipping it off gaily! Some silly radio stations do contests, further murdering the style. I claim no real skills in this. It takes a master.
Visit Napowrimo for all of the (optional) prompts. They are very forgiving and accept all poems, prompted or not!

True haiku has many specific rules (see below), and this makes it hard work, much more difficult than simple, and requires some research to find the true form. Haiku is terrible difficult to translate into English. There are lots of variations on Haiku, such as Senru.
Japanese haiku is specifically 5-7-5, but this isn't translated into English syllables. I think it is better to be as succinct as possible, with that traditional kireji in the final line. It has no title, either.

sun shines in forest
faces towards its warmth
snow storm on horizon


English-language haiku consist of "three content categories":
  • Nature haiku / Human haiku (senryu) / Human plus nature haiku (hybrids).
(see: E. St Jacques for more examples)in construction:
  • three lines with 17, or fewer, "on" (not syllables) in total.
  • tend to be about nature
  • include a kigo, or season word
  • serious
  • written in the present tense
  • relates a moment of discovery/surprise (the "aha!" moment):
  • includes a kireji (cutting word*)
*Kireji (切れ字 cutting word) is the term for words used in Japanese traditional poetry. It is regarded as a requirement in traditional haiku.

I have been introduced to another haiku family:


Japanese form of short poetry with the same structure as haiku.
  • include only references to some aspect of human nature (physical or psychological)
  • or to human artifacts
  • possesses no references to the natural world
  • has no season words
  • subject: foibles
  • darkly humorous
  • often cynical
Senryū Karai (柄井川柳, 1718-1790) (see Haiku)
A typical example from the collection:
泥棒を dorobō wo
捕えてみれば toraete mireba
我が子なり wagako nari
The robber,
when I catch,
my own son


Reader Wil said...

I think the haiku is a very complicated form of poetry.

William Kendall said...

I can't do it- I have no problem at all writing narrative, but poetry is something completely beyond me.

Pooky said...

Wow - I had no idea how complicated this was! I had an idea that Haiku were more complex than most people write them which is a reason I've shied away from them in the past. The lune idea (which seemed simply to be a word count thing) seemed simple.

I read some of your links but still feel none the wiser as to how I could / would write a proper haiku! Thank you though.