A Japanese verse form most often composed, in English versions, of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables.

Traditional Japanese haiku (hokku) take seasons and nature as their themes.  As Western poets began using the form, first with the Imagists like Ezra Pound and T.E. Hulme and later, Jack Kerouac the Western haiku began to change form from strict syllable counts, to more liberal standards. Jack Kerouac defined the Western haiku as, “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.” 

Haiku is an incredible poetic form to become familiar with. They are so expressive and are flexible. Their short structure also allows for easy creation which is helpful if you ever experience writer’s block. Choose to stick to the more traditional 5,7,5 structure, or attempt to say a lot in a little space.

See also: Senryu


7 responses to “Haiku”

  1. […] closely related to haiku. It consists of three lines with a syllable pattern of 5-7-5, just like haiku. This is simply a suggestion, ultimately the poem should simply say a lot in three short lines. […]

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