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


Haiku is 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 version 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.” 

This short poem is an incredible 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.

Example Haiku:

These example poems our from our article “Cat Haiku

Spring rains—
A child teaches the cat
A dance

Evening glories—
The cat chewing the flower
Has its mind elsewhere

In the shimmering haze
The cat mumbled something
In its sleep

See also: Senryu

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10 responses to “Haiku”

  1. […] first glance, the Korean sijo closely resembles the traditional Japanese haiku. Like a haiku, the sijo follows a 3 line structure, but its form is more complicated, less rigid, […]

  2. […] is a Japanese form of short poetry. The form is very similar to haiku with minor variations.  Essentially the form is an elongated haiku, maintaining the 5-7-5 […]

  3. […] Haiku. It was created originally to better suit the syllabic counts of Hebrew, hence the Israeli Haiku moniker. It is a poem of three lines that follows a syllable structure of 10 – 7 –  […]

  4. […] totally up to you. The syllable count is relatively easy to compose as well. If you can compose a haiku you can easily compose a shadorma. 26 syllables is a relatively generous […]

  5. […] you read traditional haiku, many of the same characters and themes begin to emerge. You read a lot of verses about dragonflies […]

  6. […] 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. […]

  7. […] and odes but perhaps his best contribution to poetry was his invention of the American or Western haiku. Kerouac has said, “Haiku was invented and developed over hundreds of years in Japan to be a […]

  8. […] The term Piaku is a portmanteau of the legendary number Pi and the traditional Japanese haiku. This … Mike Rollins. Piaku can be as small as 3 lines or go on for as long as you’d like. The only stipulation is that each line’s syllable count must map on to the corresponding number of Pi. The first line must be three syllables, the second line must be one syllable, and the third line must be four syllables and so forth. The poem has no set meter and has no rhyme scheme. It’s a very free form other than syllable count. Here are some example of various piaku lengths: […]

  9. […] form is a great tool for short poems. It’s essentially a cousin to the haiku and tanka. It is a great medium to express imagery and beauty, but unlike haiku, is not typically […]


Sam and Corey started Poetry is Pretentious to demystify poetry. More importantly, their 5th grade teacher told them they couldn’t go through life as a team. 18 years later they’re here to prove her wrong.


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