Learning the rules for writing haiku

Re-reading the comments that I posted on the Facebook page Haiku Now less than a year ago, (see here) it’s amazing how much I’ve learned about haiku since then.

There are so many “rules” for haiku: length, person, tense, images (kind of images and how they interact), number of images, the functions of the lines, the function of the poem, the payoff of the poem, tone, subject matter, punctuation, types of phrasing, context…and that is just off the top of my head.

How much there is to learn! It’s a bit like playing harmonica. Anyone can grab one in the right key and think they can play it. But to get to the instrument’s real potential…to play the notes that don’t seem to physically be on there…that is a different story all together! Isn’t it?

To see the original comments I posted for discussion, click here.

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About genemyers

Gene Myers is a New Jersey poet, music journalist and columnist who learned to walk twice. His weekly column is called The Joy of Life. He was awarded first place in Arts and Entertainment Writing by The New Jersey Press Association.
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One Response to Learning the rules for writing haiku

  1. Alan Summers says:

    There are a lot of guidelines for writing haiku and that’s makes for an interesting challenge for anyone serious about their writing. Thank goodness it’s not that easy to continue to write good haiku. 😉

    For anyone who likes a lifelong challenge to keep them occupied in ever fresh ways, haiku is great for improving your writing in other genres as well.

    For a short overview praised by Japanese and American writers of haiku check out:
    http://www.withwords.org.uk/what.html

    I’ve even had Japanese haiku poets learn English-language haiku off the website.

    Alan, With Words

    p.s. results of the With Words competition is currently up on Area 17 (link off With Words homepage) and will have a full report on With Words later in the New Year. The winner is John Barlow, one of the most respected English-language haiku writers in the world outside Japan.

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