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Thread: How to Haiku

  1. #1

    How to Haiku

    Dear Treeleafers

    As some of you may know, I write and publish haiku poetry. As a result, it has long been on my mind to offer a brief introduction to the art and hopefully dispel some common misconceptions on what a haiku is and how to write one.

    This is, however, written from a perspective of English Language Haiku (ELH). There is much in common with the traditional Japanese form but traditional haiku contain a great deal of cultural history that cannot always transfer to English and other western languages. For example, Japanese season words are quite fixed and there are reference books explaining which season words (kigo) fit with each season. In the west season words are rather more free, given the differences in the natural environment and climate where the poem is being written. Spring in Scotland is very different to spring in California! Capturing the essence of the time and place is seen as more important.

    In addition, Japanese work often draws on earlier poems and literature from China and Japan. Few of us in the west are sufficiently versed in classical eastern literature to do this.

    That all said, much of the ideas of haiku can still be produced in western languages, so it is not a wasted effort to do so. We can draw on the traditional approaches and use them to inspire our work as we reflect our own life and relationship with the natural world.

    As with most forms of art, do not expert to write perfect haiku from the word go. It took me ten years of writing before I began to publish anything of note and I am still merely competent rather than expert. However, I feel qualified to offer an introduction to haiku writing here.

    There will be space to leave your own poems for feedback. I cannot respond to dozens of pieces of work, though, so write and write than post your best two or three.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  2. #2
    Thank you Kokuu! I will follow along as best I can.

    Thank you these teachings.



    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
    I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.

  3. #3
    Oooh I'm so excited you are finally going to share this talent of yours with us!!! Can't wait to learn from such a talented writer!!

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  4. #4
    Thank you, Kokuu. Learning to haiku is what's been on my mind for a time
    even if I realize I may face difficulties in writing something sound in English.
    Anyhow I'm following this!

    Gassho
    Washin
    sattoday
    Kaido (有道) Every Way
    Washin (和信) Harmony Trust
    ----
    I am a novice priest-in-training. Anything what I say must not be considered as teaching
    and should be taken with a 'grain of salt'.

  5. #5
    Washin

    I am trying to think if I know any Ukranian haiku writers! You can always write in Ukranian then translate.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  6. #6
    Thank you, Kokuu, I've also been wanting to learn to start righting Haiku so this might be the perfect opportunity.

    Gassho,

    Neil

    ST

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    Washin

    I am trying to think if I know any Ukranian haiku writers! You can always write in Ukranian then translate.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    Not sure about the Ukrainian, but I know there're plenty of haiku poems in Russian.
    Good idea, thank you.

    Gassho
    Washin
    st
    Kaido (有道) Every Way
    Washin (和信) Harmony Trust
    ----
    I am a novice priest-in-training. Anything what I say must not be considered as teaching
    and should be taken with a 'grain of salt'.

  8. #8
    Thank you, Kokuu.
    I am fascinated by Haiku, but don't have much talent for writing.
    Thank you for the opportunity to learn more.
    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  9. #9
    I am fascinated by Haiku, but don't have much talent for writing

    I didn't either, Kotei, but it can really be developed through practice.

    Having a mind to notice small details, like we do in zazen, can find form in this kind of poem.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  10. #10
    Hi,

    I think that art is subjective and anything and everything is art if the reasoning can be explained by the author. One can not take a picture of feces and say it is art unless he/she can explain why. Rules for haiku are guidelines with lots of room for interpretation and even one word can be a haiku if it does not need the set up to deliver the punch line.

    My 2 cents.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  11. #11
    Rules for haiku are guidelines with lots of room for interpretation and even one word can be a haiku if it does not need the set up to deliver the punch line.
    This true in relation to modern haiku. In the traditional form, it is not the case.

    Just as sonnets have a set line and metre so do Limericks and haiku. Step outside and you are no longer in the form.

    Just as in Zen ritual, the freedom comes from staying within the form.

    Some folk don't like rules and, well, this is good practice for them.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  12. #12
    Today no winter,
    Gone from April flakes of fear,
    No lives lost, no deadly white despair.

    Tai Shi
    sat
    Gassho
    "You will discover after reaching 'some goal nonexistent' that whatever it is, it's not what you expected and nothing is more perfect than it ever was." Brad Warner, Hard Core Zen

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