why lawyers & haiku? click here
what is “real” haiku? see “is it or ain’t it haiku?”
on this website
Guest Poet Archives Index: At the core of f/k/a‘s “haiku advocacy” mission are frequent selections of haiku from one or more Honored Guest poets, which can be found on our Home Page. The Guest Poet Archive Index is an entryway to the archive page of each individual Honored Guest poet. You will also find a list of special topics or events that have been the focus of haiku groupings on this website (e.g., holidays, seasons). The Google search box in our Sidebar can also be used to find haiku on particular topics or by a particular haijin (haiku poet)
Issa Archive — Issa is one of the four most venerated poets of classic Japanese haiku. Born Kobayashi Yataro in 1763, he chose Issa (Cup-of-Tea) as his haiku name. Although our other Honored Guest Poets are all modern haijin, who write in English, we will also feature many poems by Issa. Thanks to translator, David G. Lanoue, The Haiku of Kobayashi Issa website — with its handy Search function — will be our source. As of Autumn 2006, it has over 7400 haiku.
“First Thoughts – Jim Kacian’s Haiku Primer“: Here’s the chance to painlessly learn from a master the delights of haiku — what it is, its history and future, and how to become a skilled reader and author of the genre.
dagosan’s intro to haiku (Dec. 7, 2003) By f/k/a‘s Editor, David Giacalone, this is a beginner’s attempt to find a definition or essence of haiku. A shorter version can be found in “is it or ain’t it haiku?,” and a discussion of the related genre of senryu is here.
“too many ‘tell-ems’: psyku lower haiku quality” (June 3, 2007.) is the Editor’s attempt to explain why better haiku use sensory images and not explanations or conclusions. It includes a compilation of quotes from haiku commentators, haiku’s essence: “show ‘em, don’t tell ‘em”.
f/k/a’s Baseball Haiku page: Haiku by our Honored Guests and Editor dealing with baseball.
“Haiku and the Fair Use Doctrine” – An essay by the Editor on the application of copyright law’s Fair Use Doctrine to haiku scholarship and criticism (Jan 16, 2004).
Other Online Sources and Resources
World Haiku Association – This webpage has an A to Z index of many excellent haiku poets, with links that offer a short bio and sample poems from each.
World Haiku Review – A beautiful e-magazine with haiku, short verse, commentary, and inspiring artwork in the haiku spirit.
The Heron’s Nest This haiku journal is surely one of the finest online sources of quality English-language haiku — with dozens of haiku from the finest poets offered four times a year. It also publishes an annual volume containing all of the selections that year online, along with its Readers’ Choice Awards.
The Haiku of Kobayashi Issa — Issa (1763-1827) was one of the most prolific and honored of Japan’s haiku poets. This website offers a searchable archive of 9000 of Issa’s haiku. You can view Issa’s poems in a seasonal anthology. The About Haiku section of this website is enlightening and well-worth a visit. The site was created by David G. Lanoue, haiku poet and translator, and author of the novel Haiku Guy.
Haiku World — “haikuworld exists to help publishers, poets, and readers discover one another.” Besides finding some good poems, you can learn about writing and appreciating haiku, and about haiku magazines, contests, and books (with lists and reviews).
begin haiku – resources for improving the writing of haiku, including Becoming a Haiku Poet, by Mark Dylan Welch (April, 2003), as well as his Ten Tips for Writing Haiku, which the author has graciously allowed me to reproduce at the bottom of this page.
Simply Haiku is a quarterly showcase for Japanese short form poetry written in the English language. It “contains original contributions from new poets and experienced haijin, with offerings in the English genres of haiku, senryu, haibun, tanka, renku and haiga. In addition, we feature a haiku column, and offer articles, interviews and book reviews featuring well known figures from the international haiku community along with reprints from other journals that merit wider distribution.”
tinywords — lives up to its motto: “fresh haiku, delivered daily.” Published by technology journalist Dylan F. Tweney, tinywords is a great place to stop for your daily haiku dose, or they deliver with free daily or weekly subscriptions. You’ll also find a searchable archive, links and other resources.
Open Window – a beautiful collection of paired haiku and photographs by Michael Dylan Welch.
Senryu webpages: compiled by Ray Rasmussen, this is a good place to learn about senryu, a form of poetry that is structurally similar to haiku, but is primarily concerned with human nature; it is often humorous or satiric.
Also, see our posting on senryu.
Ten tips for writing haiku. By permission of the author Michael Dylan Welch (all rights reserved), from the haiku begin page of haiku world (April, 2003).
[Ed. Note: It helps to have rules when you write haiku -- you can pick your own rules, but should do so after informing yourself of traditions, issues and options. See Writing and Enjoying Haiku: A Hands on Guide by Jane Reichhold, which has good suggestions on approaching and selecting your own haiku rules and improving your writing skills.]
1. Write in three lines of about 10 to 17 syllables (some writers use a short-long-short format, but sometimes it’s better to just say what you need to say and not worry about form); haiku are usually not 17 syllables long in English.
2. Try to include some reference to the season or time of year.
3. To make your haiku more immediate, write in the present tense.
4. Write about common, everyday events in nature and in human life; choose events that give you a moment of understanding or realization about the truth of things around you—but don’t explain them.
5. Write from personal experience (memories are okay) rather than from imagination to produce haiku that are authentic and believable.
6. Create an emotional response in the reader by presenting what caused your emotion rather than the emotion itself.
7. Put two images together in the poem to create harmony or contrast, using words that are specific, common, and natural (avoid long or conceptual sorts of words). One image of the haiku can appear in one of the poem’s three lines; the other image can be described in two lines (either the first two or the last two); avoid creating haiku with three images (or three grammatical parts) because this weakens the energy created by the gap between just two parts.
8. Avoid titles and rhyme (haiku virtually never have either) as well as metaphor, simile, and most other rhetorical devices (they are often too abstract or detours around the directness exhibited in most good haiku).
9. Avoid awkward or unnatural line breaks and avoid dropping or adding words just to fit a syllable count (the poem should come across as perfectly natural and easy; anything that is choppy or unnatural will detract from the reader’s perception and enjoyment—make the words come across as so natural and easy-going that the reader doesn’t even notice them).
10. And of course, don’t forget to have fun and enjoy experiencing life through your five senses!