Haiku: A beginner’s guide 

The haiku refers to a type of Japanese poetry. Haiku has several elements that you can develop in the poetries of other cultures and languages, though not by slavish imitation. You can get haiku into other languages by getting into the heart of haiku. 

This is something that relates to Zen practice as well as practiced observation. You should note that free verse, which is a poetic form, exists for several reasons. This includes the desire for simplicity and minimalism in poetry in the face of iambic pentameter, structured poems, and rigid stanza lengths. This article is a beginner’s guide to haiku.  

Understanding a haiku poem

The question is what is a haiku? Haiku is simply a traditional art form that originated in Japan and focuses on simplicity. There are a lot of limitations that are put on haiku poems, ensuring that there is simplicity.

You need three lines that have a rigid syllable count to create this minimalist poetic form. Remember that there is no room for anything else apart from the direct aim of the haiku itself. Modern haiku as well as traditional haiku in translation don’t usually meet the strict syllable count which is closely related to haiku. Instead, the poetic form tends to depend on the removal of ego and the parsing of the self from your poem as a whole. 

Take note that a traditional Japanese haiku poem has 17 syllables that are spread over three lines, in a 5-7-5 pattern. This is a quite rigid and simple way designed to get rid of many elements from the poem so that there is enough space for the concept shown in the poem. 

This is the reason why nature poems are quite good in the haiku form as they have few words and just seventeen syllables. Therefore, you need to use these to convey an image, a scene, and a sense of depth. 

As explained above, haiku poems rely on natural images, but there is no limit to the haiku form that you can use to express them. The haiku poetry form tends to match the natural scenes. You should note that traditional Japanese poems usually have the feeling of tranquility and peace found in nature. But you can find other haiku that are written about everyday life or even which upend any idea of the haiku in a poetic form to celebrate stillness. 

This means that you can decide to write a haiku poem about anything. But it can be hard to extricate a form that is related to the concept of nature poetry for you to cover any topic. If you are not writing about nature’s tranquility or how the tranquility may easily be fractured, you may find it a huge challenge to utilize the haiku to its fullest. This shouldn’t put you off. 

Keep in mind that many schools of haiku don’t accept that it should be utilized for nature poetry. Instead, they believe that you should use haiku to reflect observations about the globe as a whole.

Also, you can write haiku about love. They are commonly known as nature poems, but haiku may also cover just about any topic. The crucial thing you should remember is that while writing haiku poetry, you must make the image simple. This means that you should create a universe in a couple of words and leave space in your poetry for your readers to infer or discover themselves. 

You can also write haiku poems about death. In Japan, death poetry is traditionally written in a tanka rather than as a haiku. Tanka has five lines with 31 syllables and takes the 5-7-5-7-7 pattern. This type tends to have at least half of surviving death poems in Japan, though this doesn’t mean that a haiku is not suitable for dealing with the death concept.

It’s worth mentioning that haiku is not a blank verse. It can have a rigid syllable structure, but it doesn’t fit the iambic pentameter structure, which is crucial for writing blank verse. It does depend on the counting of syllables, though not necessarily to match the standard 5-7-5 pattern. Instead, you can utilize the haiku type to explore and present a few words. 

How to get started writing haiku poetry

Writing a haiku is a certain form of art, and you can use it to improve your other forms of writing. The main thing in writing great haiku is to remove your ego from the work. And, you need to write a three-line poem or any form that your modern haiku can take. But you should focus on looking at a single image or a single moment as well as rely on the strength of the minimalist image to discover larger concepts or themes.

You can decide to title haiku poems, though traditionally, most poems didn’t have a title. Today, many writers, especially those who usually write many haiku poems, find it convenient to title their poems. The title of a poem can usually be utilized to change the poem’s reading, either by motivating the readers to look at a certain image, filling in the missing pieces of the puzzle, or explaining an image that may not be clear right away. 

You can choose to use punctuation in haiku, but it’s a good idea to avoid punctuation while writing poems. This means that you should also avoid using capital letters. You should always aim at complexity in a simple form. Therefore, anything which can make your haiku poetry look more complex needs to be avoided. This is because it can be hard for people to relate to haiku poems.  

Besides this, haiku can rhyme, but it doesn’t have to. Many haiku poems don’t rhyme for some good reason. The precision needed when writing haiku usually means that any type of rhyme scheme can just get in the way. Worse still, rhyming can sometimes ruin the good pace of your poem, leading your readers through the 3 line poem too fast. As a result, this can cause your readers to lose on several benefits of the imagery that a haiku poem is known to offer.