Video:How to Write a Haiku Poemwith Heather Kamins
Haiku is a traditional Japanese form of poetry that has continued to find much success in modern writing. Learn how to write a haiku poem in this how-to video from About.com.See Transcript
Transcript:How to Write a Haiku Poem
Hi, I'm Heather Kamins for About.com, and I'm here to talk to you about how to write a haiku.
What is a Haiku?
A haiku is a traditional Japanese form of poetry that's intended to be read in a single breath. It features a Zen-like emphasis on simplicity, and often focuses on nature and the seasons.
The haiku form, as adapted by Western languages, is 17 syllables, divided into 3 lines of 5 syllables, 7 syllables and 5 syllables. However, some haiku that are translated from Japanese don't carry the same number of syllables once they're in English, just because of the differences between the two languages.
Form of a Haiku Poem
Here's an example of a translated haiku from Matsuo Basho, who was a poet from the 17th century in Japan, and he's one of the masters of the form:
"An old pond
A frog jumps in
The sound of water"
As you can tell from that example, haiku is usually written in the present tense. It's about the images in the poem, and it usually combines images, and there's usually a pause or a break between images that are connected.
As you can see from the previous example, there is a break between lines two and three. Japanese haiku uses 'kireji,' or 'cutting word," to break the two images in the poem. Haiku written in English can sometimes use a dash or an ellipsis to make the connection between those two images.
Modern Haiku Poetry
American and European audiences were introduced to haiku when Japan opened its harbors in the the 19th century. But it still has a vibrant following today. People are still writing lots of haiku. People are still writing lots of haiku. Partly that's because Haiku is a poetic form especially well suited to Internet and mobile media like Twitter and texting, because of their limited character counts.
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