The haiku is a wonderful poetic form that is Japanese in origin. Haiku were originally created to reflect the beauty of nature, but today, we can write about any topic within this poetic structure.
Haiku are comprised of just three lines of poetry. This means that you will use only a small amount of words to convey your thoughts and feelings. Every word counts in all types of writing, but in the haiku, this matters more than ever!
Each line consists of a specific number of syllables (NOT words). The structure is often referred to as a 5-7-5 form. This means:
As you can see, this totals 17 syllables in all!
Each line can make an impact on its own--it can be independent of other lines. Or you can decide to make each line continue onto the next line, and even into the third line, creating what would be considered a sentence, if it were not poetry! This is know as enjambment.
PLEASE NOTE: There are free-style haiku that contain three lines but do not follow the structure of traditional haiku syllables. This type of haiku is called a lune. We will not be doing them in this particular class, but you can feel free to try them out on your own!
PLEASE ALSO NOTE: The plural of haiku......is haiku! Just as the word sheep does not change whether it is singular or plural, the same is true for haiku! Whether you write one haiku or a thousand haiku, the word remains the same!
Now it's your turn!
Think of a topic, feeling, memory, or dream that you would like to express in haiku form, and brainstorm words you could use that are important to the meaning you will convey. Think carefully about the effective verbs you will use, since these will be important components of your poem. Then, write a draft without thinking about syllable structure the first time through. You will later go back and count each line, eliminating extra words or changing one word for another until you reach the correct structure.
Enjoy the process! I know you will achieve a beautiful haiku and want to write many more!