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Old Pond Comics

What is a haiku?

by Jessica Tremblay comic - haiku definition


What is a haiku?comic

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 (Basho).




What's happening

A haiku has two parts: the first line usually says when and where the haiku takes place:comic

* when: season, day of the wek, time of the day, etc.

* where: place, environment, inside, outside, etc.

(eg. summer rain, saturday market).

The second and third line tells a story of what is happening in that place, at that moment, answering the questions:

* who is there

* what is happening

* why

* how

(What is happening in the summer rain? At the Saturday market? At the pond)  




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. comic

However, 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.

line 1 is short

line 2 is much longer

line 3 is short


In English, this pause or "cutting word" (kireji) is often indicated by a hyphen. Most of the time the pause at the end of the first sentence occurs naturally so you don't have to add an punctuation.

market crash

putting all my eggs

in the same basket

- Jessica Tremblay


Season word

Most haiku will contain a word indicating the season when the action 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 evoke a particular season. For example, the word "pumpkin" implies the haiku is taking place in autumn, so you can indicate the season in your poem by using a single word.

Most haiku are written about nature. You can write a haiku about any subject, but a good haiku will create a surprise, make the reader think and say “ah-ah!”



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




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.

Get wet!

Here are some tips for writing a good haiku:

*Use very few words.  Try to read you haiku out loud. Can you say it in one breath? If not, remove words that are not necessary.  For example, is it necessary to write that the tulip was red? That the ladybug was small?

*No punctuation. When you read the first line, there is a natural pause before you move on to the next line, so there’s no need for punctuation. It is not necessary to use a capital letter at the beginning of the poem and a period at the end. It’s clear that the poem is beginning and ending.

*A haiku is written in the present tense. 

* A haiku doesn't rhyme.


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





How to write a haiku

comic how to write a haiku









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