Haiku Revisited

Author:
Publish date:

Michael Dylan Welch, who wrote on haiku for the 2005 Poet's Market, stopped by and offered some great advice in the comments to my "Haiku: Easy or Hard?" post from earlier this week. While it's probably best to read the comments first-hand, I figured I'd make it easy on people since the advice is very useful.

Some highlights:

  • "My sense of things is that practically no current literary haiku writers believe the 5-7-5 pattern of syllables is applicable in English (in Japanese they count sounds, not syllables, which is why a one-syllable word like 'scarf,' in English, is counted as FOUR sounds when said in Japan, something like 'su-ka-ar-fu'), so I'm not sure I'd call 5-7-5 a 'traditional' viewpoint in English. More like a traditional misunderstanding."
  • "Rather, what matters most in the tradition of haiku is kigo (season word) and kireji (cutting word), as well as objective sensory imagery (thus one wouldn't say that rain 'stampedes' the mud, because, as interesting as that is, it shows your interpretation and lacks the objectivity that lets readers have their own reaction to a carefully crafted image)."
  • "At any rate, I always like to quote philosopher Roland Barthes on haiku. He said that 'The haiku has this rather fantasmagorical property: that we always suppose we ourselves can write such things easily.' Paradoxically, haiku is both easy and hard."

Welch also provided to links to check out:

  1. His essay "Becoming a Haiku Poet" at http://www.haikuworld.org/begin/mdwelch.apr2003.html
  2. Keiko Imaoka's essay "Forms in English Haiku" at http://asgp.org/agd-poems/keiko-essay.html

I would like to thank Welch, who is an expert in his field, for sharing so much great information with everyone. This is what having a community of poets is all about as far as I'm concerned.

FightWrite_12:04

FightWrite™: Crime Fiction and Violence

Author and trained fighter Carla Hoch answers a writer's question about writing from the perspective of criminals and when best to utilize a fight.

Poetic Forms

Sedoka: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the sedoka, a 6-line question and answer Japanese form.

plot_twist_story_prompts_dream_sequence_robert_lee_brewer

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Dream Sequence

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let your characters dream a little dream.

WD Vintage_Armour 12:03

Vintage WD: Don't Hide Your Light Verse Under a Bushel

In this article from 1960, poet and author Richard Armour explores the importance of light verse and gives helpful hints to the hopeful poet.

Arlen_12:1

Tessa Arlen: On Polite Editorial Tussles and Unraveling Mysteries

In this article, author Tessa Arlen explains how to navigate the differences between American and English audiences and create a realistic historical mystery.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 547

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a lazy poem.

Williams_12:1

Denise Williams: Romance, Healing, and Learning to Love Revisions

Author Denise Williams recounts her experience with writing her first book while learning about the publishing industry and the biggest surprise about novel revisions.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2020 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Next Steps

Here are the final steps for the 13th annual November PAD Chapbook Challenge! Use December and the beginning of January to revise and collect your poems into a chapbook manuscript. Here are some tips and guidelines.