Everything you need to know about Haiku

There are different types of poems out there, and one of them is called haiku. There is a chance that you may already be asking yourself, what is a haiku? A haiku refers to a poem with three lines and has a 5-7-5 syllable pattern. Remember that there is a lot more to this, especially when it comes to the syllables. Haiku has two groups, which are the rules and qualities. 

Rules are what make a poem to be regarded as a haiku. Just like other forms of art, you can sometimes break these rules so that there is an artistic effect. On the other hand, qualities are what can make a haiku to be either a good one or not. Besides these, many other things can make or break haiku. This article discusses everything you need to know about haiku. 

The rules of haiku

The basic rules for writing haiku include the 5-7-5 structure, seasonal elements, and a cutting word. The 5-7-5 structure is one of the most known characteristics of haiku, and it’s broken the most. Many English speakers know that this structure refers to syllables, though the English version of syllables doesn’t apply in the same way in Japanese. Rather than a syllable which is often based around a vowel, they have a slightly different concept known as on. Linguists call this in English Mora. In Japanese outside of haiku, they are referred to as Haku. 

Just like the English syllable, the Japanese on can measure a chunk of sound. Thankfully, because of the way the Japanese writing system works (kana), these are quite easy to understand when you know the rules. Each kana or cutting word character has one on, and this includes vowels. Also, contractions that have small kana tend to count as one, on.

This would be straightforward if haiku were not poetry and art. Since there is usually room for change and stylish diversion, people can decide whether or not to count small kana as on. Just like English poetry, this doesn’t always match the style.

You can also hear this in Japanese music. Most singers often sing out the extra cutting work or kana that you may not hear if someone else was only reading aloud the lyrics. But this usually depends on how the kana fits in the song. That said, haiku needs to have three lines with 5-7-5 on. 

Because on is quite easy to see and count, haiku is often written on one line instead of broken up into three. This means that the reader can choose to identify the location of these line divisions. In most cases, it can be clear, though this also gives more formatting possibilities.

A cutting word known as Kireji is also used in haiku writing. But this is usually one of the most difficult to translate as there is no equivalent in English or many other languages. You should note that Kireji acts like punctuation when it comes to haiku. Classical Japanese uses almost no punctuation besides a full stop. Therefore, haiku utilizes words to do this task instead, especially the particles. Some of them are utilized in standard spoken Japanese, though in haiku their meanings tend to be different. The meaning can be harder with Kireji because most of them are often used to add emphasis.

Remember juxtaposition is one of the foundations of haiku. This refers to taking various things and putting them close together. This can divide and unite simultaneously.

The qualities of haiku

Good haiku should be made of qualities that include a blurring of subject and object, genuine feeling, and egolessness. With the blurring of object and subject, it’s a quality that is common and acts as a rule. Remember that haiku is usually critiqued based on the subject and object. This is because haiku reacts to the waka poetry that occurred in the medieval Japanese court. During that time, poetry was used to exercise wit instead of emotion. As a result, juxtaposition could sometimes get tired or silly because many individuals utilized them to show off.

If a poet presents something objectively, there is a chance that they may get mixed in with the scenes regardless of whether or not they are explicitly described. Therefore, you need to avoid a lot of wits and be careful when it comes to describing yourself so that you can be part of the scene instead of imposing yourself on it. This is the right way you can make the subject and object to be blurred. 

Haiku was intended to express a spiritual and genuine feeling instead of showing off. It’s crucial to note that you don’t often criticize a haiku for the feeling it shows as this is not always clear. Therefore, if a poet is objective, they should not be telling the readers. Today, you can decide to write your haiku about disaster, death, or love, but you must make sure that things are objective and small.  

Egolessness is associated with the other two qualities, which are genuine feeling and subject or object blurring. You should remember that a poet can still be in a haiku even if they are not mentioned. And, even if a poet is mentioned, it’s a good idea to strive for egolessness. This means that the poet should be part of the scene and not create or dominate it.

Egolessness is a crucial quality in many poets, especially those in the Zen Buddhist tradition. Nothingness is considered to be an important Buddhist concept. Ideally, you need to remove yourself so that you can recognize that you are one with nature and the world. This is the reason why haiku is usually regarded as a good channel for expressing this. 

In conclusion, haiku is considered to be one of the oldest types of poetry in the world. This form of poetry has gone through significant revolutions and changes over the centuries and has expanded into many other languages. Remember that the best haiku tends to push boundaries and focuses on reaching something deeper than words. Regardless of this, they are quite easy to write for your readers. If you want to write haiku, then you need to incorporate the rules, include a cut, and be truthful to what you are feeling at the moment.