Haiku
Haiku, poems that capture the very essence of life.
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Erin Lynn
Some folks have a knack

for reviewing small haikus.

Who takes the challenge?

----------------------------

Post here if you want to review some haikus or if you want to be reviewed!

5/27/2007 #1
Midnight In Eden
I review a lot of haikus for the fun.

It's amusing how a tiny change or even punctuation can make such a big difference.

5/29/2007 #2
Bitter Irony
"It's amusing how a tiny change or EVEN PUNCTUATION can make such a big difference."

In my experience, normal English punctuation in haiku is discouraged. Even dashes and elipses can put you on the wrong side of the masters.

7/20/2007 #3
Midnight In Eden
The masters of English haiku? I don't really believe they exist. Japanese haiku has strict rules and is a much more ordered form then the English bastardization of the form.

Basically I've come to the conclusion, through a few classes, groups etc, that the general English haiku should be 17 syllables in the format 5-7-5 (or less) and with or without punctuation (honestly I prefer with, it guides the piece a little better).

I've never heard much about strict rules of English haiku and to be honest it makes me smirk to think about that.

7/22/2007 #4
Bitter Irony
You're not alone. To quote Jane Reichhold of Aha! Poetry:

The fact that the smallest literary form - haiku - has the most rules never ceases to amaze and astound.

Apparently, many people do not realize that the rules governing English haiku are (almost) as complex as the Japanese. The biggest difference is that English haijin are allowed to pick and choose which rules they follow. Reichhold has a whole essay dedicated to the topic at http://www.ahapoetry.com/haiku.htm.

I can certainly understand why you would prefer haiku with punctuation, but a truly well-written haiku would not require it. To quote Reichhold again, "Frankly, I see most punctuation as a cop-out"--refering to haijin who use -- or ... to separate the two sections of a haiku. In my experience, many haiku would actually be limited if they were punctuated as normal sentences.

As far as the masters of English haiku...Nick Virgilio comes to mind as one of the first major American haiku poets. Cor van den Heuvel has compiled an excellent anthology, and many if not all of the poets included could be termed masters.

Plenty has been said on the topic of 5-7-5. I'll leave the final word with Kozue Uzawa when she says "English syllables and Japanese syllables are quite different." 12-14 English syllables should be more than a match for 17 Japanese onji.

Here's what Uzawa has to say about punctuation in her introduction to Simply Haiku's tanka section: "Regarding punctuation, you don't need to use a period at the sentence final position. Also, you'd better not use a capital letter at the beginning of each line or at the first line. Use commas and dashes only when you really need them."

"English bastardization" is quite an apt term. I wince every time I come across a 17 syllable sentence arranged in three lines trying to pass itself off as haiku. Of course, it's hard to blame the poet: even grade school poetry text books define haiku as simply a three line poem (5-7-5 again) about nature. No wonder there's such a large split in amuter English haiku.

~Bitter Irony

8/2/2007 #5
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