I love writing haiku.
Contrary to what many people believe, it is much more than a short poem written in three lines of 5 - 7 - 5 syllables. In fact, many English language poets have moved away from this misinterpreted rule. Contemporary poets even write one-line haiku.
For me, however, the true essence of haiku has nothing to do with the syllable count, or how many lines it is comprised of. It is more about the intrinsically calming effect of the process.
Writing haiku urges the poet to slow down and shift their awareness to the present moment. It fosters an appreciation for nature and of simple everyday moments. While for the reader, a well-crafted haiku can linger in the heart and mind like the soothing warmth of a cup of tea.
It is poetry for the soul and can sketch joyous, funny, as well as melancholy moments, such as Bashõ's popular autumn dusk haiku:
on a bare branch
a crow has settled
Another wonderful thing about penning haiku is that it’s an ideal way to hone writing skills since strong word choice is essential when dealing with such a short form. There is no room to use two words if one will suffice.
I also find deep satisfaction in being able to sit down for an hour and end up with two, or maybe three or four completed poems. Now, some haiku take time to perfect, but sometimes they come through you like lightning bolts, so fast that you feel like they came through a direct, divine connection.
Those moments are wonderful.
The process of creating and submitting haiku is also short compared to most other forms of writing and is an excellent way to add a little balance and variety to your writing routine. It is also a perfect way to gain experience and confidence in the submission process.
So, why not try your hand at writing a haiku or two? There are many wonderful resources out there to get you started. And I’m sure once you do, you will be captivated by this wonderful form.
To learn more about writing haiku, I strongly recommend the following resources:
Jane Reichhold’s Bare Bones School of Haiku
Writing and Enjoying Haiku, by Jane Reichold
Essays by Michael Dylan Welch
You can also check out these online magazines for inspiration:
A Hundred Gourds
The Heron’s Nest
Or check out the #haiku or #3line hashtags on Twitter and join the fun!