observations and opinion
Haiku is the Japanese poetic form, comprised of 17 syllables, traditionally split into three lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables each.
A properly crafted haiku typically draws its language from nature, and is a self-contained portrait or tale very tightly constrained within those paltry 17 syllables.
Almost three years ago I wrote one haiku, bound to the rules of the game, and realized how liberating it is to rein one’s writing into such a severely disciplined scheme. When most of your choices are taken away, you don’t have the freedom to cast about figuring things out. You have to work inside the box.
This was the first, which I typed in the very same coffee shop where I sit now, in my piece about the Songza music site:
Sensing my fall she
Sends me down this cobbled path
Where surprise springs up
Songza is gone now — swallowed up in Google Play music — but haiku lives on.
My approach has been to adhere to the 17 syllable form but to use them as stanzas, in longer form poetry that is more personal and thematic than naturalistic in its language. Essentially, I stack the boxes one top of each other.
I’ve published 29 haiku since starting out. I make no pretence that they are particularly good haiku, or particularly good whatever you call them, although some have afforded me kind comment.
They are all here: THINKANEWACTANEW HAIKU TOO