Why Haiku?

hai·ku – a major form of Japanese verse, written in seventeen syllables, divided into three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables, employing highly evocative allusions and comparisons.

LHBH FinalHaiku is one of the most powerful forms of poetry, because it can express an entire story in only seventeen syllables. I’ve enjoyed writing this form for many years and see haiku as a metaphor for life. Many of my best and longest-lasting memories have been the result of short, powerful moments in my life and have been included in my book, Life: Haiku by Haiku.

Also, I used several haiku as introductions to many of the chapters in my historical fiction, The Red Kimono.

So, I began this blog to share my love of haiku. I hope you’ll come to love it, too.

Find blog posts here.

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6 Responses to Why Haiku?

  1. Madison says:

    Love the new blog! Welcome to the wordpress format. I think you’ll like it once you’ve gotten used to it. I’ve added you to my ‘follow’ list 🙂

  2. So glad to see you here on WordPress, Jan! I love haiku – are you planning to make this blog strictly haiku posts, or do you have more planned for the future? Perhaps a Haiku Hop to go along with our Friday Flash? 🙂

    • janmorrill says:

      Thanks for visiting, Karen. I do plan to do a weekly prompt for others to post haiku at some point. I’m thinking it will be on Wednesday or Thursday. I’ll keep you posted! 🙂

  3. Sina Ghasemi says:

    Hello dear Ms. Morrill.
    There are some questions in my mind about ‘English’ haiku that have been tickling my brain for a while; I hope you would please help me with them.
    Japanese and English language have many differences as you know. Japanese is a mora based language, whereas English is stress based. And when writing haiku you always need to count the syllables you use, and keep it in 5 7 5 form. My first question is that why do they say haiku has 17 syllables, while Japanese language is mora based language, and 2 syllabic word can equal 4 moras! So, isn’t it wrong to say haiku is a 17 syllabic poem? Why they do not say it is a 17 moraic poem _which seems to be more correct?
    My second question is that why westerners try so much to say that they are writing haiku, while what they write is not very much similar to the classic Japanese haiku? I mean, for example: one reason that one cannot write an English ‘haiku’ is that English is not mora based, and sometimes words that are considered to have only one syllable in English would be broke up to several moras/syllables according to speakers of languages other than English (say for example Japanese). So practically English speakers convey more information in their haiku compared to the Japanese. And secondly, the cultures are different. Some of (or most of) Japanese kigos give no image of a certain season to western readers; for example in countries where Cherries do not grow, ‘cherry blossom’ does not give the reader a picture of spring. On top of this, many writers do not use kigo anymore. Some of them write haiku about social issues, that hardly using a kigo in them can make sense. In sum, do you think it is possible for ‘non Japanese’ speaker to write ‘haiku’ in the first place?
    The third question is that there are many people who write ‘free haiku’; and a ‘free haiku’ is the one that does not follow the 17 syllabic rule of haiku. They believe what is important in haiku is the ‘essence’ and the ‘spirit’ of haiku, the 17 syllabic structure and kigo and everything else that is connected with the classic haiku comes after that. But I do not agree with them. I think what they write may be very beautiful and inspiring, but they cannot be called ‘haiku’. It is as if someone writes a free verse after being inspired by the ‘essence’ of a Shakespearean sonnet, and insist that he/she has written a sonnet because the ‘essence’ and the ‘spirit’ is the same! But I do not think such a thing can be valid, because haiku does not mean ‘a short poetry’, and it is not a school of thought or a literary genre; it is simply a poetic form, and it cannot be modified, right?
    I have been writing haiku for about one year, but I have stopped doing it recently because I am beginning to think what I am writing is not ‘haiku’. Please help my confused mind…

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