Strengthen Your Thinking - Haiku - Creative Writing

What are Haiku?


Haiku - Summer (Photo - Tamzin Forster)


You may have heard of Haiku. They are very popular, short poems which originated in Japan. 


Haiku are usually three lines long and are syllabic which means their form is made by counting syllables (a unit of pronunciation). In Japanese, Haiku have five syllables in the first and last lines and seven syllables in the middle line. When translated into English, Haiku don’t always have the same syllable count. For this reason, Western writers of Haiku don’t always keep to the 5-7-5 pattern.


Traditionally, Haiku are concerned with nature, with a sensation of time, the weather and the seasons. They are not about the self but about the external world, particularly moments when the world lights up, when through looking at small things the world is revealed. We might call these “haiku moments”.


Haiku language is clear and simple. It generally avoids complex linguistic tools like simile and metaphor. Traditionally, it contains a “nature word” (kigo) and a “cutting word” (kireji) which introduces a minute pause for thought.


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