Poetry On Demand

Part of the "Send Two Hippies In Love To San Francisco" Fund.



Although normally understood to be a three-line, seventeen-syllable poem, with a 5-7-5 syllable/line pattern, actual haikus are not necessarily structured like that. The main features of a haiku are the focus on capturing a single moment or action, use of simple, uncomplicated words and grammar, and the avoidance of poetic devices such as metaphor and simile.

The form of a haiku is generally three short lines, with the first and third roughly the same length, and the second longer than the others.

Edit (8-27-05 9:52am): As per Nia's advice, I'm adding a few more requirements to the definition of haiku. I'll post a proper one later- it's still early for me. I apologize for the lack of accuracy.

Other features include the use of a word (or words) to imply the time of year- this is not required, but is very frequent, as evident by all the haikus about cherry blossoms. Also, and this is where my former haiku failed, haikus avoid run-on sentences (using each line to add to the moment being expressed) and there must be at least one pause (or full stop).

As stated earlier, I'll post a proper haiku later. Thank you, Nia, for your corrections.


At 6:17 AM, Anonymous Nia said...

You forgot two more features: the inclusion of a word that tells you the time of the year (snow for winter, for example) is very frequent but optional. The avoidance whenever possible of run-on lines, and the absolute need that there is at least one complete pause (a full stop, for example) isn't optional. Excuse the bluntness: a seventeen-syllable sentence divided in three chunks is not a haiku.

Except for that detail, I looove the website, and the rest of the poetry is brilliant!

At 9:52 AM, Blogger Laurie said...

I'd forgotten about the seasonal tip, thank you. As for the other rules, suffice to say that my main source was not necessarily the most accurate, and I will change my definition to reflect your corrections. Thank you!


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