Thursday, 28 August 2008

Haiku - how do you know

when you've mastered the form? (Or senryu, if it's about humans)

I've visited a couple of websites and blogs recently which mentin these form. The website below gives informed advice:

What makes a really strong haiku - according to you? Should we have a mini competition? Voters must explain the reasons for their votes.


Crafty Green Poet said...

when serious haiku journals start accepting your work? When you're referred to as a haijin?

For me what makes a strong haiku:

a good juxtaposition between the two elements, either a nice contrast or a comparison that makes me see things differently
a real haiku moment, a sort of indefinable sense of it working as a haiku
an understanding of nature and the passing of the seasons
humour is good in senryu (and not bad in haiku, just not as common there)

syllable count isn't important, though unless it includes a word such as 'rhododendron' I don't trust a haiku that goes over 17 syllables. A good haiku may be one, two or three lines, but really should only contain two images. I tend to stick to 5-7-5 for senryu.

I could go on. It's my favourite form to write and i don't think I'll ever master it, that's one of the joys, the feeling of an endless journey....

Mistlethrush said...

I go along with all of the Crafty Green Poet, especially the haiku 'moment' comment.

Interesting that the English versions are more flexible re syllable counts and lines - it makes the haiku moment even more important so readers recognise it as a haiku.

Ackworth Born said...

well said Juliet (aka cgp)

Carol - did you pick my Art of Haiku book up in Chester?

Elizabeth's webpage is good although very old now.

Mistlethrush said...

No I didn't Gerald, although I have a feeling I should have done...

Anonymous said...

One of my readers alerted me to the Haiku a little while ago when I started playing around with the Cinquain form, and it didn't take long for my fascination to take root. I used Jane Reichhold's Aha poetry site as my main port of call, and I still refer to it now and then.

Juliet (Crafty Green Poet) is an excellent source of info and inspiration too.

I'm not sure I will ever master the form but I do get a lot of pleasure from trying.

Mistlethrush said...

Maekitso - welcome.
I've looked at the site and added it to my favourites, I hadn't come across it before - thanks. And Juliet's site - that's one I keep visiting too.

Alan Summers said...

CGP states a lot that I agree with! ;-)

The haiku moment is a Western thing however, so don't be restricted by that too much.

Do try to obtain quality bi-lingual contemporary Japanese haiku anthologies. I'm extremely fortunate as the Modern Haiku Association of Japan send me bi-lingual anthologies.

My website is an often commented upon site for a simple overview to haiku: With Words

My Area 17 blog lists a number of quality haiku sites from around the world, although not exhaustive of course: Area 17

It has been pointed out that haiku cannot be mastered, which I love! ;-)

You can only reach a certain stage in haiku writing and then you start another, which I think is brilliant: shasei is just a starting place suggested by Shiki.

Composing haiku also exercises both sides of the brain, and takes us away, on a kind of holiday,from our intellectual/busy lifestyles.

It's why haiku is popular with diplomats, politicians, and prisoners on Death Row; as well bringing everyone to a level playing field.

Syllable count has often been a red herring because of Victorian translators. A few Japanese poets write tanka shorter than haiku, and some Japanese haijin write haiku longer than tanka! ;-)

Also, the Japanese language systems aren't Alphabet based, and their grammar aren't symbols but words, so a Japanese haiku isn't quite really 17 units (on).

all my very best,

With Words

from the field book

from the field book
An inspiring gift for anyone who enjoys watching nature.