Haikus, What Are They?

Haikus are little pictures in poem form. A very short form of Japanese Poetry that uses imagistic language to convey the essence of an experience.

They are wonderful little snapshots of nature, glimpses of another poetic reality, frames around ineffable moments....it is the smallest literary form with the most rules!

Jack Kerouac said that these poems 'must be very simple and free of all poetic trickery and make a little picture and yet be as airy and graceful as a Vivaldi Pastorella'

Anita Virgil in her Introduction to her book: One Potato Two Potato Etc., Peaks Press, states that it is:

'a poetry of suggestion, of understatement in which nature is linked to human nature. It records those moments of special awareness that give one pause in the everyday world, make one feel the wonder of the ordinary seen anew. Haiku does not lean upon fanciful verbiage for effect. It is written in plain language. It is written tersely-but with grace. It is direct and factual, giving the reader just enough information to establish a delicate mood, a deep emotion by new associations of images. It is a poetry of the senses. It may simply show us in a new way the heat of a summer afternoon. It may express in a new way an acute awareness of sights or sounds, tastes or smells or touch. What it portrays of the external world of the poet can reflect or imply- but not state overtly- a corresponding "soul-state" as Blyth calls it.'

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Click here to read about the history of haiku

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