Haiku Revisited

Haiku poet Michael Dylan Welch shares some thoughts on writing haiku the right way.
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.

*****

The Complete Guide of Poetic Forms

Play with poetic forms!

Poetic forms are fun poetic games, and this digital guide collects more than 100 poetic forms, including more established poetic forms (like sestinas and sonnets) and newer invented forms (like golden shovels and fibs).

Click to continue.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Seven New Courses, Writing Prompts, and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce seven new courses, our Editorial Calendar, and more!

Crystal Wilkinson: On The Vulnerability of Memoir Writing

Crystal Wilkinson: On The Vulnerability of Memoir Writing

Kentucky’s Poet Laureate Crystal Wilkinson discusses how each project has its own process and the difference between writing fiction and her new memoir, Perfect Black.

From Script

Approaching Comedy from a Personal Perspective and Tapping into Your Unique Writer’s Voice (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by ScriptMag.com, interviews with masters of comedy, screenwriter Tim Long ('The Simpsons') and writer-director Dan Mazer (Borat Subsequent Movie) about their collaboration on their film 'The Exchange', and filmmaker Trent O’Donnell on his new film 'Ride the Eagle' co-written with actor Jake Johnson ('New Girl'). Plus, tips on how to tap into your unique voice and more!

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Accepting Feedback on Your Writing

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Accepting Feedback on Your Writing

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is not accepting feedback on your writing.

Writer's Digest Best Creativity Websites 2021

Writer's Digest Best Creativity Websites 2021

Here are the top creativity websites as identified in the 23rd Annual 101 Best Websites from the May/June 2021 issue of Writer's Digest.

Poetic Forms

Englyn Proest Dalgron: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the englyn proest dalgron, a Welsh quatrain form.

What Is a Palindrome in Writing?

What Is a Palindrome in Writing?

In this post, we look at what a palindrome is when it comes to writing, including several examples of palindromes.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Set a Trap

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Set a Trap

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, it's time to set a trap.

5 Ways to Add a Refrain to Your Picture Books (and Why You Should)

5 Ways to Add a Refrain to Your Picture Books (and Why You Should)

Children's author Christine Evans shares how repetition is good for growing readers and gives you the tools to write your story's perfect refrain.