Haiku Poetry: Definition, Writing Style, and Other Answers
Recently, there has been quite a bit of buzz about haiku poetry. It is a favorite amongst teens and young adults; however, it is often used as just a favorite word instead of a favorite writing style.
This page is strictly to answer common questions about the literature genre known as haiku.
- Haiku definition
- Haiku is, as defined by dictionary.com and others, a poem with three lines containing 5, 7, 5 morae (not syllables).
- How come none of the haiku I have read are in 5,7,5?
- Classical haiku poetry is not written in 5,7,5 because the poem was originally written in Japanese and then translated into English, therefor changing the morae within the poem.
Most non-English written Haiku aren't in 5,7,5 due to language constrictions. Normally, the authors try to keep the poems around six seconds long (or said without taking a breath).
- What is the difference between hokku, haiku and haikai?
- Hokku was originally a one line poem, sometimes used as an opening verse to haikai, a chain of verses made into a poem; however, many classical Japanese poets used hokku by itself, leaving it much like modern haiku. The only difference is that hokku was left as one line and haiku is written in three. Due to this, many hokku writers are now looked at as classical haiku poets.
- Ok, I understand that haiku must be a specific length. Is there anything else I need to know before getting started?
- Yes and no. Haiku is generally thought of as a way of life. The themes also vary from many aspects but all stay within the norms of nature.
- What are some of the more famous haiku poets out there?
- Some of the most famous haiku poets are Japanese, so the form will be slightly different due to translation issues; however, they are: Matsuo Basho, Yosa Buson, Kobayashi Issa and Masaoka Shiki.