How to: Haiku

 Haikus can be amazing. A haiku is a Japanese form that has been fairly popular for it’s short lines and syllable structure.

The only problem
with Haiku is that you just
get started and then
~Roger McGough

The most common way to write a haiku is to use three lines of 5-7-5 syllables respectively. This is the typical “English” haiku though there have been a number of debates about that. The 5-7-5 configuration is the most widely accepted format when writing a haiku in English.

Haiku #1
It was a loud cry
when I was brought to this world
Been loud ever since
~Jill Scott

English style haikus can be written about any subject. But traditional Japanese haiku were about serious issues and contained a word (usually a seasonal reference known as a “kigo”) that represented the topic as well as what is called a “kirejii” or a cutting word at the end of one of the three metrical verses. It is hard to describe what exactly a kirejii does, as it has no english equivalent. It is usually explained as the word that gives the verse a structure. Or depending on which kigo is chosen, is used to provide closure to the haiku.

the wind of Mt. Fuji
I’ve brought on my fan!
a gift from Edo
~Matsuo Basho


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