Saturday, September 22, 2007

Do You Want To Write A Haiku?

I've been experimenting with haiku, and I really like the form. It's simple and straight to the point in expressing a moment, although that can vary with the westernized form. But generally it's about expressing a moment; to create a clear mental picture of beauty. If this is something you are interested in then read on.

The traditional Japanese form consists of a season word, which could be any word that could be attributed to a season, if I understand it correctly, and expresses a moment, like laying out a scene. There is also a form called senryu that is directly related to haiku, almost the same except it is used to express humor and does not require a season word. Probably most haiku you encounter are closer to a senryu, even if they don't express humor.

The western adaptation doesn't seem to adhere to the strict Japanese form, but is very similar. People just describe anything and everything in a haiku. For me though, as long as there is a clear image of a moment that is expressed in a haiku; I feel qualifies as a good haiku. Like I said at the beginning of this post, it should be simple, and straight to the point. Also from what I understand so far, metaphorical language should be avoided for the sake of directness. But I feel if someone is inclined to use metaphorical language, it can't hurt. People can have their own spin on an art form if they want to.

Here is the very basic requirement of a haiku, although it varies from different individual styles, but the most common form of haiku should have a syllable count of 5-7-5. Also it should express a moment, and create a clear mental image. You will come to realize that it's not to difficult to express a clear moment with so few syllables, its actually refreshing at times. Here is a haiku I came up with on the spot as an example:

Creating a post. (5 syllables)
Correcting things as I go. (7 syllables)
This post almost done. (5 syllables)

Not the best example but I feel it's adequate in showing the basic usage of a haiku. You notice I didn't adhere to the strict Japanese form using a season word, you will find that a lot of haiku are written like this. Also I said earlier that most haiku you find are probably more similar to senryu; like the one I did is probably closer to a senryu without emphasis on humor.

I hope my readers liked this little tidbit of information on haiku. I tried to be as accurate as possible and to keep things simple. If anyone spots any errors in my description, let me know. For more information check out Wikipedia's entry for the haiku form, or find some good sources from a search engine. I would provide some links but I feel the Wikipedia page has a very good listing of links associated with the entry; so if you want some quality links check out that entry. And if you feel that you have some information that can be useful or just want to say something, feel free to comment on this post. Thanks for reading.