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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/books/item_id/1964203-Japanese-Haiku
Rated: E · Book · Nature · #1964203
A moment in time with nature
Most haiku are untitled; a successful haiku usually speaks for itself. Instead of using a title, try revision.

Avoid periods. A haiku is one moment in a continuum; a period often destroys that illusion (so may beginning with a capital letter). The average haiku has one break in thought or continuity, usually at the end of line 1 or 2 (sometimes, the middle of line 2). If punctuated at all, it is usually with a colon, dash or ellipsis. An occasional dash or ellipsis may provide emphasis either before of after the final word (or phrase). In general, shy away from punctuation unless you are sure of its benefit.

Compress your haiku, but be sure the omission of words (especially the articles a, an & the) doesn’t chop it into ungainly pieces.

The is & have families result in picture-less & action-less verses. Use action verbs instead.

Haiku usually happen now. Past & future tenses remove us from the action & often use more words — weak ones like has, have, will.

Use adverbs and adjectives sparingly. Look for ones made from noun or verb roots. Avoid very, much, any, many, few, & all-inclusive words like every, all, always, never, everyone.

Overuse of 1st person pronouns — It’s more risky in haiku than in senryu because senryu deals with humans. Put emphasis on the image, not the person.

Don’t throw in words just to conform to a 5-7-5 or other imagined pattern. Either revise to find 17 strong, useful syllables or go for a shorter verse.

Kigo is a word or phrase associated with a particular season. It is nature unbridled. One season word is enough, let strong words do their job: “pavement wet with rain” is redundant.

Not Supported by Concrete Imagery? Let imagery suggest the point; don’t state it baldly. Proverbs masquerading as haiku are likely to run into trouble.

Because I do not speak both English and Japanese fluently, I only write the 5-7-5 syllable count. Many of these listed are only the first draft and may seem a little boring until completed.


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