Sunday, February 5, 2012

Haiku Checklists

     Do you have your own haiku checklist, a set of guidelines to help you improve the quality of your work? If not, here are some valuable checklists.

a) Haiku Checklist by Michael Dylan Welch checklist

b) The Practical Poet: Creating a Haiku Checklist by Michael Dylan Welch %20checklist

c) The Isnt's of Haiku by Lorraine Ellis Harr'Ts_of_Haiku

d) Haiku Rule That Have Come and Gone by Jane Reichhold

e) Suggestion For Beginners and Others by James W. Hackett (from Haiku in English by Harold G. Henderson)

    1. Life is the fount of the haiku experience. So take note of this present moment.
    2. Remember that haiku is a poetry of everyday life, and that the commonplace is its province.
    3. Contemplate natural objects closely . . . unseen wonders will reveal themselves.
    4. Identify (interpenetrate) with your subject, whatever it may be: "That art Thou."
    5. Reflect in solitude and quiet upon your notes of nature.
    6. Do not forsake the Suchness of things--nature should be reflected just as it is.
    7. Express your experience in syntax natural English. Don't write everything in Japanese 5,7,5 form, since in English this often causes padding and contrivance.
    8. Try to write in 3 lines, of approximately 17 syllables.
    9. Use only common language.
  10. Suggest, but make sure you give the reader enough, for the haiku that confuses, fails.
  11. Mention season when possible, as this adds dimensions. Remember that season can be implied by the poem's subjects and modifiers.
  12. Never use obscure allusions: haiku are intuitive, not intellectual.
  13. Don't overlook humor, but avoid mere wit.
  14. Rhyme and other poetic devices should never be so obvious that they detract from the content.
  15. Lifefullness, not beauty, is the real quality of haiku.
  16. Never sacrifice the clarity of your intuition to artifice: word choice should be governed by meaning.
  17. Read each verse aloud, for unseen contrivance is usually heard.
  18. Bear in mind Thoreau's advice to "simplify! simplify! simplify!"
  19. Stay with each verse until it renders exactly what you wish to convey.
  20. Remember R. H. Blyth's admonition that haiku is a finger pointing at the moon, and if the hand is bejeweled, we no longer see that to which it points.    


  1. This is a beautiful blog. I am just beginning to write haiku and have been participating in the September Heights challenge. Somehow that brought me to your site. I am planning to sit down with a cup of tea and enjoy all you are offering. Thank you. AND I love your poetry too!

  2. Hi, Barabara! I'm glad that you discovered my blog and particularly this post. It will lead you to websites that are absolutely helpful. Aha Poetry and Graceguts are websites that will provide you a good foundation.
    Also, if you check "basics of haiku", you'll also find a lot more.
    Good luck! If you have any questions, feel free to leave me a message :-)
    Oh, if you have a Facebook account, join the NaHaiWrimo group, you'll enjoy it over there.