Haiku Sonnet: Poetic Form

We’re getting close to open submissions season for many college-affiliated literary journals. I haven’t submitted much since early spring, but I did receive a few nice and personalized rejections–the kind that let me know I was super close…just not close enough. And so, it’s time to get back to sending my work out, but first…

Haiku Sonnets

The basic premise of the haiku sonnet is simple: 4 3-liner haiku plus a couplet of either 5 or 7 syllables adds up to 14 lines, the same number of lines found in a sonnet. The only mention of this form that I’ve been able to find is a poet named David Marshall.

So to write a haiku sonnet, you really have to know how to write haiku. Here are two posts from Poetic Asides on the topic:

And if you want a refresher on sonnets, check out Poetic Form: Sonnet from January 14, 2011.

Note: For haiku poets who believe in writing one-liners, this same concept could be applied to the haiku sonnet by combining 14 one-line haiku.

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Here’s my attempt at a Haiku Sonnet:

patience, by Robert Lee Brewer

adults gather next
to a STOP sign & wait for
children to escape

from my rocking chair
i examine them all &
hold the weight of clouds

on a yellow bus
the driver makes many stops–
the children must wait

the front lawn needs mowed
though not as bad as the back–
it will have to wait

time waits only for those who
know to hold the weight of time

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Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

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18 thoughts on “Haiku Sonnet: Poetic Form

  1. riversidepoet

    Life and Death (haiku sonnet)

    Four o’clocks have died
    October is upon us
    Morning glories come

    Just to say good-bye
    To comfort me I suppose
    Standing at their grave

    Leaves softly fallen
    Make a bed for them to sleep
    Left only with memories

    Soon ground will turn cold
    Bitter snow will cover up
    This friend I’ve known

    All that’s left, to wait for spring
    When by faith they’ll rise again

    Kent Phalen

  2. RuthieShev

    So I am still fiddling with this Haiku Sonnet. I kind of like it but here is a similar poem to the last but a slight difference.
    The Facts of Life
    By Ruth Crowell Shevock

    Pretty little one
    Jumping so high as you run
    Having lots of fun

    You give a wee sigh
    Cause you can’t imagine why
    You can’t reach the sky

    But as you grow up
    You become a wounded pup
    Life’s a half-filled cup

    You are retired
    Looking back you acquired
    Your life desired

    But remember as a child
    When you could jump and run wild

  3. RuthieShev

    Life Goes On
    Ruth Crowell Shevock

    When I was a child
    I was not naughty or wild
    Just quiet and mild

    Father and Mother
    My five sisters and brother
    Close with each other

    One day I met you
    From the very first I knew
    That my love was true

    With God as a base
    Children’s laughter joined our place
    Put a smile on my face

    Now Senior moments a part
    Of life I have a full heart

  4. taylor graham

    cold pan

    ice cracks the boulders,
    river runs between banks –
    rabbits in winter

    an old man drives blind –
    snowflakes furring the windshield
    under starless sky

    one-lane twists up ridge
    down canyon till its ending
    at the river’s edge

    no matter how cold
    he wades with pan and shovel
    for the chance to hold

    what time and river carry
    away in gravel, in gold

  5. taylor graham

    providence

    sky’s a swirl of cloud
    white to gray on blue as if
    a storm is moving

    the way white horses
    move one hoof then another
    drawing the wagon

    over rock, small round rocks –
    white ball-bearings on the ground –
    to set wheels spinning

    as wheels do a bit
    off kilter and protesting
    the fate that turns them

    a family with all their thoughts
    moving toward what they know not

  6. tripoet

    Flying Lessons

    grasping for air time
    unsure how to spread their wings
    booted chicks leave nest.

    it’s a frantic flight
    starts on a roof top gutter
    anywhere that’s up

    So this is the end
    a mother whose had enough
    good-bye comfy nest

    small birds have big dreams
    they hatched up in the pale shell
    they hope will come true.

    searches for a branch
    needs a soft landing

  7. taylor graham

    california poppies

    golder than the sun
    these poppies each one reaching
    higher into sky

    a quest of golden
    poppies under sun faded
    by a summer’s heat

    the eight-pointed star
    of a sun reaches down
    to touch these poppies’ gold

    dizzy with summer
    a hill where poppies are the
    only flaming shade

    as we climb toward sky
    minds ablaze – poppies

  8. Nurit Israeli

    Waiting

    Waiting for answer:
    Will he say yes? Will he come?
    Power of maybe.

    Waiting for labor,
    she savors her four boys and
    dreams of pink flowers.

    Waiting for results −
    on x-ray small spot looms large:
    So much on the line.

    Waiting for the muse,
    empty page filled with promise:
    Sweet uncertainty.

    Possibilities linger:
    Hope permeates waiting for.

    Nurit Israeli

  9. taylor graham

    el dorado gold

    over the mountains
    they rode their tired horses –
    maybe for the gold

    gold are the hillsides
    in summer burned dead and dry
    as the rivers flow

    flowers gold as sun
    open for morning, and close
    to a night of stars

    star-thistle and brome
    green on spring hillsides as dreams
    glimpsed once from afar

    far, high mountains glisten with
    crystal distance, sun on snow

  10. PressOn

    For me, writing haiku is akin to pinning water to the wall, so a string of them seems impossible. The examples so far indicate that the feeling isn’t universal, however.

    1. Sarah Metzler

      Hey PressOn,
      For what its worth, I am also a little baffled how to pull this off, especially how to string haiku together…but why not give it a go anyway. With your imagery, succinct delivery, diction, and poetic mind, I bet you will come up with something wonderful.

    2. Julieann

      I haven’t tried this yet, but I have to agree with Sarah. I am sure you can pull this off, and pull it off with a flair. Give it a try, please, I look forward to reading (and enjoying) the results!!!

  11. taylor graham

    day hike

    hiking stick in hand
    we’d set out on the long trail
    lose ourselves in sky

    that doe, silent as
    a barren stick – watching us
    then three quick leaps gone

    someone scratched a sign
    in the trail that disappears
    in rocks and birdsong

    we call them stick-tights –
    forget-me-not seeds in socks
    a hike’s mementos

    these dry sticks that bloom again
    between snowmelt rock and sun

  12. IrisD

    Wind blowing through trees
    Too hot for a summer breeze
    Wind winding down now

    Heat dissipated
    rain is anticipated
    August has arrived

    Grass is turning brown
    Sun wearing all of us down
    Praying for the rain

    Soon the heat will blow away
    Then winter will too long stay

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