Tips on Writing a Haiku

Haiku poetry is a very short form of Japanese poetry. Haiku is like a picture or photo that catches the essence of and idea or what’s happening, often connecting two seemingly unrelated things.

Snow melting
Suddenly vibrant village
Alive with children.

traditional haiku convey emotion and call attention to an observation as if saying: “Look at this” or, “Think about this.”

Haiku has a total of seventeen syllables divided into three lines:

5 – 7 – 5


five syllables
seven syllables
five syllables

The essence of haiku is the way it describes and idea, feeling, place, or thing in the fewest number of words.
However, the artistic effect of the Haiku is much more important than the number of syllables, so if your Haiku is different from 5 – 7 – 5 that is perfectly OK.

A good way to think about writing your Haiku is to follow this formula:

Line one: Write about the “What”
Line two: Write about “Where”
Line three: Write about “When”

So: something like this:

Yellow Daffodil (What)
Sprigs of colour, woodland meadow (Where)
Winter’s end. (When)

Start by writing your thoughts, ideas, words down on a piece of paper. Once you have some thoughts written down, chose ones you like best and form into a Haiku. You can slim down your Haiku without losing meaning and inspiration by following these steps:

1. Remove “extra” words that are not necessary, words like a, an, and, at, in, on under, over, the, by, I, through.
2. Read your newly edited poem aloud to hear the new rhythm and structure.
3. See if there are any other words you can remove or replace to slim down the poem even more.
4. Try rearranging the lines to see if you can give the poem more impact at the end.
5. Put the final touches on the edited poem and write the new poem.

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