What is haiku?
Haiku is a Japanese poetry form. A haiku uses just a few words to capture a moment and create a picture in the reader’s mind. It is like a tiny window into a scene much larger than itself.
Traditionally, haiku is written in three lines, with five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second line, and five syllables in the third line.
Here’s a haiku poem written by a poetry student:
The last winter leaves
Clinging to the black branches
Explode into birds.
Characteristics of haiku
The following are typical of haiku:
- A focus on nature.
- A “season word” such as “snow” which tells the reader what time of year it is.
- A division somewhere in the poem, which focuses first on one thing, than on another. The relationship between these two parts is sometimes surprising.
- Instead of saying how a scene makes him or her feel, the poet shows the details that caused that emotion. If the sight of an empty winter sky made the poet feel lonely, describing that sky can give the same feeling to the reader.
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