Thursday, December 8, 2011

Haiku Tips

    Though I'm not a haiku expert, I'd like to share with you the article that I wrote for the December issue of a senior magazine named Lamplighter Lighter Chatter Magazine. I still included the haiku that I've already posted in the past in order to show the full article.

A New Love

     Recently, I've found a new love, a unique form of expression called haiku. Haiku is a poetic form that was written in Japan many years ago. The traditional haiku consists of three lines with a 5-7-5 syllabic structure. It always included a reference to nature and/or the seasons.
     Contemporary haiku is more flexible. In three lines or fewer, it consists of 17 syllables or less. Most of the time, it relates nature to human nature.
     So, what attracted me to haiku? It's brevity and beauty. Haiku conveys images in few simple words while celebrating the extraordinary in ordinary things. The more I read and write haiku, the more I become aware of the simple joys in my everyday life.
     Here are some of my haiku which have been published recently. I want to share them to all of you because I have found the inspiration to write them while living here at Lamplighter.

watercolor sunset                                                                    
somebody's brushstrokes                                                         
paint my window                                                                    
          Ito En North America New Haiku Grand Prix                       
          Semi-finalist for the month of July 2011                              

floating on water                                                                     
the scent of magnolia                                                             
summer breeze                                                                       
        Ito En North America New Haiku Grand Prix                           
        Semi-finalist for the month of August 2011     
in the classroom
a butterfly carries
my thoughts elsewhere
              Asahi Haikuist Network (August 2, 2011)

falling blossoms
the words you whisper
in my ear
              Berry Blue Haiku (August 5, 2011)

achy joints—
a bag of gummy bears
makes him feel young again
        A Handful of Stones (September 12, 2011)

     I'm sure you can write your own haiku, too. It is for everybody to enjoy! Without you knowing it, there are haiku moments waiting to be discovered each day. While you are watering your garden, cleaning your room, walking your dog, or just simply sitting on your porch, you can find something that will inspire you.

     There are no fixed rules for writing haiku, but here are some tips that work best for me:
1) Capture a single moment to share. Whethere focusing on a  present moment or writing from a memory, write in present tense.
2) Show two separate images. Don't tell about them. Let the readers experience the same feelings you felt without having to explain them.
3) Include a reference to nature or link nature with human nature.
4) Make every word count. It often works best without verbs. Otherwise, one verb is usually sufficient.
5) Choose specific words that stimulate the senses.
6) Include a moment of "aha". This is the surprise connection between your two separate images.
7) Don't capitalize words except proper nouns.
8) Don't title your haiku.
9) Don't make it rhyme.

    winter silence            (first image/nature)
    the phone rings         (second image)
    only in my head        (moment of "aha" or element of surprise)

     What are you waiting for? Try writing your own. If it's not for you, you can still find enjoyment in reading haiku. Most of them will linger in your mind and make you appreciate the beauty in ordinary moments.
     I hope you find this article interesting. Who knows? You might fall in love with haiku like I did. It's never too late for anyone.                                                                                    


  1. Great article, Christine! I especially liked your butterfly haiku. Well done!