ARTS: How to Haiku 1: what is not a haiku

Collapse
X
 
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts
  • Kokuu
    Treeleaf Priest
    • Nov 2012
    • 6750

    ARTS: How to Haiku 1: what is not a haiku

    I can’t speak for other languages, but haiku poetry taught at school in English is almost universally bad. The basic instruction that my thirteen year-old daughter recently received, was that a haiku is a three line Japanese poem comprising seventeen syllables in lines of five, seven and five syllables respectively.

    If you are lucky you might get told that it is usually about nature and our relationship with the natural world.

    Is this incorrect? Well, not totally but it focusses the attention in completely the wrong direction and misses out several important factors.

    It is true that in Japanese, a count of seventeen sound units (morae) are employed in a three-line sequence. However, an English syllable tends to be longer than a Japanese sound unit so English Language Haiku (ELH) written in seventeen syllables often to feel baggy and too long compared to their Japanese equivalents. Moreover, most people writing haiku with the 5-7-5 structure in mind pay far more attention to getting the right number of syllables than forming a good poem. Few modern day ELH poets write in 5-7-5. Some do. Most bad haiku on the internet are written in 5-7-5. The syllable count is often achieved by adding adjectives until the magic seventeen is reached.

    The three line structure is also not a good way to think about haiku. It is better understood as a poem of two parts – a phrase (two lines usually containing a verb) and a fragment (one line). This can either be fragment-phrase or phrase-fragment. More about this later.

    A haiku also isn’t a bunch of ideas and concepts. It is essentially a form based on images, often coming from nature. You can include concepts as well as images but just concepts is too heady and not visual enough.

    Important note- the plural of haiku is haiku!
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-24-2021, 02:35 AM.
  • Shinshi
    Treeleaf Unsui
    • Jul 2010
    • 3492

    #2


    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
    I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.
    E84I - JAJ

    Comment

    • Washin
      Treeleaf Unsui
      • Dec 2014
      • 3750

      #3


      Washin
      sattoday
      Kaidō (皆道) Every Way
      Washin (和信) Harmony Trust
      ----
      I am a novice priest-in-training. Anything that I say must not be considered as teaching
      and should be taken with a 'grain of salt'.

      Comment

      • Hoseki
        Member
        • Jun 2015
        • 649

        #4


        Hoseki
        Sattoday

        Comment

        • Tai Do
          Member
          • Jan 2019
          • 1357

          #5
          Originally posted by Kokuu
          I can’t speak for other languages, but haiku poetry taught at school in English is almost universally bad. The basic instruction that my thirteen year-old daughter recently received, was that a haiku is a three line Japanese poem comprising seventeen syllables in lines of five, seven and five syllables respectively.
          I'm really glad that people in the US are learning about Japanese Literature in school. Here in Brazil we only learn Brazilian literature, not even Shakespeare or Goethe. So Japanese Literature are for Japanese culture lovers or descendants.


          Thank you for bringing up this Haiku Club!



          Mateus
          Sat/LAH
          怠努 (Tai Do) - Lazy Effort
          (also known as Mateus )

          禅戒一如 (Zen Kai Ichi Nyo) - Zazen and the Precepts are One!

          Comment

          • Onka
            Member
            • May 2019
            • 1575

            #6
            After my dismal attempt at Haiku, doing exactly what a poor ELH focuses on, I decided that I should actually learn something haha.
            Thank you Kokuu for this.
            Gassho
            Onka
            Sat today
            穏 On (Calm)
            火 Ka (Fires)
            They/She.

            Comment

            • Seikan
              Member
              • Apr 2020
              • 712

              #7
              Originally posted by Onka
              After my dismal attempt at Haiku, doing exactly what a poor ELH focuses on, I decided that I should actually learn something haha.
              Thank you Kokuu for this.
              Gassho
              Onka
              Sat today
              Onka,

              Kokuu's description above is spot on and wonderfully succinct (like a good Haiku!). If you decide to let yourself become further pulled into the world of Haiku, you may also want to check out Lee Gurga's "Haiku: A Poet's Guide".


              It's available via most booksellers (used copies are fairly plentiful as well). There are many great books on Haiku technique out there, but this was one of the first books I read when trying to wrap my head around modern English Language Haiku, and I still feel that it is one of the best for learning about all of the techniques, variations, etc.

              Writing Haiku has been a key element of my own practice as I also have a tendency toward being overly verbose (as this post shows). As I like to joke, I did my undergrad and graduate work in Philosophy; I can write a 40-page paper about absolutely nothing without breaking a sweat. On the other hand, keeping my writing and speech short and to the point is exceptionally difficult for me. The practice of Haiku has helped immensely.

              I'm looking forward to reading some of your Haiku if/when you're ready to share. No pressure.


              Gassho,
              Rob

              SatToday
              聖簡 Seikan (Sacred Simplicity)

              Comment

              • Onka
                Member
                • May 2019
                • 1575

                #8
                Thank you.
                Gassho
                Onka
                ST
                穏 On (Calm)
                火 Ka (Fires)
                They/She.

                Comment

                • Juki
                  Member
                  • Dec 2012
                  • 771

                  #9
                  birdsong from treetops
                  tweet, twitter, chirp, cheep, caw
                  but not a high coo


                  (sorry, a haiku pun was too much fun to pass up)

                  Gassho,
                  Juki

                  sat today and lah
                  Last edited by Juki; 06-10-2020, 07:27 PM.
                  "First you have to give up." Tyler Durden

                  Comment

                  • Kokuu
                    Treeleaf Priest
                    • Nov 2012
                    • 6750

                    #10
                    birdsong from treetops
                    tweet, twitter, chirp, cheep, caw
                    but not a high coo

                    Comment

                    • Onkai
                      Treeleaf Unsui
                      • Aug 2015
                      • 2833

                      #11
                      Thank you, Kokkuu, for this thread and subforum, and thank you to all who contributed in this discussion. I'm excited about learning about Haiku.

                      Gassho,
                      Onkai
                      Sat/lah
                      美道 Bidou Beautiful Way
                      恩海 Onkai Merciful/Kind Ocean

                      I have a lot to learn; take anything I say that sounds like teaching with a grain of salt.

                      Comment

                      • Tai Shi
                        Member
                        • Oct 2014
                        • 3307

                        #12
                        RobD I bought the book you recommended-- now will wait for it in our mail-- very excited and happy. Every poet might learn much from the study of Haiku. I think the terse compact lines lent themselves from Modern to Contmpory poetry. I see the influence in the work of Keneth Koch and perhaps I remember translations he made of such poems, and perhaps Rexroth, not sure-- my memory fails me-- thats been 32 years ago or more. I was at one time publishing, and I totaled more than 60 published poems in small publications, and one academic publication, The Conetticut Review. They published two of my poems from my MFA thesis, and two of my lines were stolen (borrowed) by Mary Crow, fairly well known in Colorado. I knew her, and have kept contact with Bill Tremblay, Poofessor Emeritus, CSU. I know Jundo doesn't like a litiny, or long posts. Perhaps he will forgive me.
                        Gassho
                        sat/ lah
                        Tai Shi
                        Last edited by Tai Shi; 09-20-2020, 04:33 PM. Reason: spelling
                        Peaceful, Tai Shi. Ubasoku; calm, supportive, for positive poetry 優婆塞 台 婆

                        Comment

                        • Seikan
                          Member
                          • Apr 2020
                          • 712

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Tai Shi
                          RobD I bought the book you recommended-- now will wait for it in our mail-- very excited and happy. Every poet might learn much from the study of Haiku. I think the terse compact lines lent themselves from Modern to Contmpory poetry. I see the influence in the work of Keneth Koch and perhaps I remember translations he made of such poems, and perhaps Rexroth, not sure-- my memory fails me-- thats been 32 years ago or more. I was at one time publishing, and I totaled more than 60 published poems in small publications, and one academic publication, The Conetticut Review. They published two of my poems from my MFA thesis, and two of my lines were stolen (borrowed) by Mary Crow, fairly well known in Colorado. I knew her, and have kept contact with Bill Tremblay, Poofessor Emeritus, CSU. I know Jundo doesn't like a litiny, or long posts. Perhaps he will forgive me.
                          Gassho
                          sat/ lah
                          Tai Shi
                          Tai Shi,

                          That's great! Please share your thoughts on the book when it arrives. I hope you get as much from it as I have.

                          And I agree that even if Haiku is not our primary writing form, there is much that we can learn from it. While I love Haiku myself, I only write it sporadically. I'll write a couple dozen Haiku in a short time and then not write another for a couple of months. That said, my time studying and writing Haiku has led me to a more economical use of language in my longer poems as well.

                          Happy Haiku-ing!

                          Gassho,
                          Rob

                          -stlah-
                          聖簡 Seikan (Sacred Simplicity)

                          Comment

                          • Tai Shi
                            Member
                            • Oct 2014
                            • 3307

                            #14
                            Originally posted by RobD
                            Tai Shi,

                            That's great! Please share your thoughts on the book when it arrives. I hope you get as much from it as I have.

                            And I agree that even if Haiku is not our primary writing form, there is much that we can learn from it. While I love Haiku myself, I only write it sporadically. I'll write a couple dozen Haiku in a short time and then not write another for a couple of months. That said, my time studying and writing Haiku has led me to a more economical use of language in my longer poems as well.

                            Happy Haiku-ing!

                            Gassho,
                            Rob

                            -stlah-
                            If I knew enough,
                            I did buy book,
                            Books in spacious
                            Time.
                            Gassho
                            Tai
                            Shi
                            sat
                            lah



                            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
                            Peaceful, Tai Shi. Ubasoku; calm, supportive, for positive poetry 優婆塞 台 婆

                            Comment

                            • Tai Shi
                              Member
                              • Oct 2014
                              • 3307

                              #15
                              How to Haiku 1: what is not a haiku

                              With Christmas and New Years and the first hope we’ve had in months, I’d almost forgotten about this wonderful edition to my library. You must understand that going on 70 I’ve given away many treasures from my past. What remains are several Norton Anthologies, and 100 beloved books take of not to give away just yet. I love my books and some I only now am beginning to understand after being away from college since 1974. I hope to open the pages of this wonderful book again soon.
                              Gsssho
                              sat/ lah
                              Tai Shi


                              Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
                              Last edited by Tai Shi; 01-04-2021, 03:28 AM.
                              Peaceful, Tai Shi. Ubasoku; calm, supportive, for positive poetry 優婆塞 台 婆

                              Comment

                              Working...