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Old Pond Comics

Haiku lessons

Kaeru receives his first lesson from Master Kawazu and learns the rules of English haiku.

Comics | How to write a haiku | 7 stages of writing a haiku


What's a haiku?

A haiku is a short poem from Japan that describes, in only three lines, what's happening at a certain time and a certain place.

Most traditional Japanese haiku are written in a pattern of 5-7-5 syllables, but when you write haiku in English you don't have to count syllables.


Instead, you should try to write your haiku following a "short-long-short" pattern, meaning: the first line is short, the second line is longer, and the third line is short. Example: 

line 1 is short

line 2 is much longer

line 3 is short



One breath poetry

Haiku is often called "one breath poetry" because the whole poem is so short that it can be said in one breath.

Old Pond Comics: haiku is a one breath poetry.



Short-long-short pattern

Traditional Japanese haiku is written in a strict 5-7-5 syllables pattern but since the number of syllables doesn't matter as much in English haiku, your haiku should simply follow a "short-long-short" pattern where the line in the middle is the longest.


Old Pond Comics: Haiku is a short long short pattern.



Season word (kigo)

Most haiku will contain a word indicating the season where the haiku takes place. This season word is called a kigo. This doesn't mean you have to name the season as in "autumn evening" or "summer rain". Certain words will evocke a particular season. For example, the word "pumpkin" implies the haiku is taking place in autumn, "snowflakes" means it's winter. so you can set the season in your poem by using a single word.




Juxtaposition of two images (kireji)

A good haiku will feature a juxtaposition of two images. The kireji is a traditional Japanese cutting word that was placed after the first image before moving on to the next. In English this pause or "cutting word" (kireji) is often indicated by a hyphen.



An element of surprise

The juxtaposition of two images are the key to creating an element of surprise (the ah-ah! moment) that is the essence of haiku. A good haiku helps us see the world in a different view.

Old Pond Comics: Add an element of surprise to your haiku.


Take the plunge

Take a walk to the park. Observe the nature around you. What is happening now? Is there a dog running in the park? What color is he? What is he doing? Is he barking? Why? What do you see, feel, taste, hear, feel? Write it down.comic

Remember: A haiku is a short poem that describes, in only three lines, what's happening at a certain time and a certain place (Basho).

*Use very few words

*Write in the present tense

* Try to keep a "short-long-short" pattern

* Don't count syllables


How to write a haiku


comic how to write a haiku

7 stages of writing a haiku






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