Definitions

haiku

haiku

[hahy-koo]

Haiku is a form of poetry which first became popular in Japan and spread across the world. Haiku's are very simple to understand and are written with basic words and grammar. They discuss everyday subjects such as animals, feelings, and experiences. Haiku's are meant to capture the essence of a single moment or idea in the mind of the reader.

The most important rule of Haiku is that the poem contain exactly 17 syllables. To achieve this goal the majority of haiku's are composed of three lines. The first line contains five syllables, the second contains seven, and the third contains five. This is the 5-7-5 form of haiku writing. One of the reasons Haiku's are so popular is because the writer is forced to build a mental image in the mind of his reader using only these 17 syllables. This allows the reader to envision a beautiful scene in a short period of time.

Haiku's should refer to or discuss a season and build the imagery of that season into the mind of the reader. This is referred to as a kigo. A kigo is a defined word or phrase that relates to or describes the season in which the poem is set. To Japanese haiku poets, a kigo is considered a requirement of a haiku. In many other countries and modern styles of haiku a kigo is not necessary but is often included.

When writing a haiku the author must avoid the use of similes and metaphors and rather use adjectives and descriptive words to convey his feelings to his readers. Haiku's do not necessarily have to rhyme but they should evoke a mental image in the mind of the reader. To achieve the goal of evoking an image in the mind of the reader haiku poets make it a point to appeal to one of the five senses of sound, sight, smell, touch or taste. Appealing to these senses helps the author to paint a clear picture in the mind of the reader.

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