General information and resources for students and adult learners.

What is Haiku?

One way of writing your own poetry is to imitate the structure of the Japanese haiku. The Haiku is a tiny verse-form in which the Japanese poets have been working for hundreds of years. The haiku is a simple but subtle little poem of seventeen syllables.

Examples of Haiku:

The fierce wind rages 
And I see how trees survive 
They have learned to bend.  
The lonely raindrop
Hurtling silently downwards
Slices humid air.

The Haiku Form

  • A haiku is unrhymed.
  • It is three lines long.
  • It has 17 syllables in all : line 1 has 5 syllables - line 2 has 7 syllables - line 3 has 5 syllables.
  • It is always written in the present tense
  • It contains strong visual images.
  • It captures a fleeting moment usually to do with nature or the seasons
  • It uses very few words while suggesting a great deal.

Haiku is not expected to be always a complete or even a clear statement.The reader is supposed to add to the words his own associations and imagery and thus to become a co-creator of his own pleasure in the poem.


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