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The haiku is about one moment, an instant in life captured. Where the poem is a painting, the haiku is a photograph showing the single comparison or eccentricity that makes nature so wonderful.
The advantage the haijin has over the photographer is that he is not restricted to showing, but can also let the reader hear and feel the image. Some haiku make comparisons from different times of the day or year, combining this into a single image. Where the photographer has a myriad of colour to work with the haiku poet can draw from a palette of, at the last count 450,000 words.

The strict form of the haiku may cause some people to baulk at them. Many beginners and young poets may well think: OMG! 5-7-5! Haiku are so hard! Well, if you subtract the five-seven-five format, and add a vivid imagination things suddenly become easier. The 5-7-5 form is not necessary to produce a haiku in a true minimalist spririt.

Minimalism dictates that you focus on one single image and allows you to make maybe one comparison. One method is to just think of a photograph of an animal, tell the reader what the animal also looks like, and where the creature is:

the [creature] [verb]
an [adjective] [noun]
[in/across/under/whatever] the [place/object]


the cat snuggles
a smug cushion
in my armchair

the moth courts,
a doomed lover
to the lightbulb

This is a simple formula which, with a little wit, can effectively generate many freestyle haiku.

There are of course many other methods of producing haiku. But this method an almost failsafe starting point. Happy writing.
Sort of like join the dots, but with words. Inspired by ~deviantkupo
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RueTris Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2014  Student Photographer
Interesting, perhaps I'll actually start enjoying haiku now. 
Waffles-Of-Gondolyn Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
this will help too ! RueTris 

( thank you kind soul for posting stuff liked this , a friend and i are doing a collab using haiku but i need a refresher :giggle:
namenotrequired Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2010  Student Interface Designer
Hello, thanks for sharing this exercise! :D
It was featured here: [link]
Please :+favlove: by clicking on the heart on the left, so that more people will see it! :D
Thank you! :)
KorpiHunaja Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2008   Writer
you're still keeping this nonesense?
Wudang-mountain Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2009   Writer
the mudkip globs
a gasping chair
in the fireplace
KorpiHunaja Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2009   Writer
ought to be the fastest reply in whole dArn history.
SOLARTS Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2010
xxxroxieheartxxx Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2007
Actually, I am a beginner at poetry overall and I look to haiku as hard. >.< Not because of the 5-7-5 syllables, but because I find it hard to communicate a message in three lines. :o
AbCat Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2007   Writer
It's not necessarily a message as such but more a snapshot, if you like, of a moment in nature.
As with other forms of poetry, reading and practise are greatly beneficial.
xxxroxieheartxxx Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2007
Ahhh. I see.
KorpiHunaja Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2006   Writer
'easy' tends to be the dominant reaction, but i think this connect-the-dots formula will do more harm than good.
Wudang-mountain Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2006   Writer
Mmmmm. Is that because it over-simplifies haiku somewhat?
I'm also a little worried that that single formula may be stifling for further haiku that the poet may write.

This is a tentative water-test at the moment. Adjustments and follow-ups or removal may all be on the cards.
Ratafluke Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2008
I can't claim to be very well-versed about Haiku or Japanese culture in general, but I just read an essay about the Japanese haiku game of Haikai no renga, and it would seem that your approach disregards the spirit of haiku. Filling out blanks is about following a formula to produce haiku. Haikai no renga is about breaking and transcending preconceived formulas.

Haikai no renga begins with posing a seemingly illogical contradiction, a sort of riddle or puzzle (koan). Dissolving the contradiction inspires the haiku. An example:

I would like to cut
But I would also rather not cut

When I caught the thief
And examined him, I found
It was my own son

Another poet's answer to the koan:
The branch of blossoms
That conceals from my view
The bright moon

The whole text is pretty long, but those examples produced a light bulb moment :]
HaikuKitty Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
I find the idea of having a koan interesting. Perhaps we could amuse ourselves by playing haikai no renga. Each person who would like to participate taking turns to write the koan, and the rest writing the haiku. It could be a fascinating way to see how others approach a paradox until MSJames does the next haikuwrimo. What do you think? Rather than one person hosting it, we could all support each other in a circle of friends who are all equally a part of it? Hmmm... *puts thinking cap on* I would very much like to try this for the next month. I wonder if others would be interested?

I kept the article in my favorites because even though I think the formula is simplistic - it is valid haiku and it encourages others who are afraid to try to give it a go. I think many people wish to create an image in time that they can remember always, but they do not know how to go about it. Writing is scary for many, myself included. My first attempts were full of questions such as, "is this a haiku?????? If I put this up, will people say, "that sucks!"?" I owe many thanks to Laurence55 for his gentle and patient guidance and support, without him and moyanii I would of never broke out of my shell. I still question my attempts at haiku and senyru, but I think that I am growing, and I am less shy.

Many times I will tell someone a haiku, and they will stare at me blankly and say, "I don't get it." That is when I modify this formula - to write a haiku about their own life to show them how it works. It results in an ah ha! moment for them. That is when they realize that some of their favorite song writers are using modified haiku in their lyrics to pack emotions and meanings into songs. (James Taylor, being my favorite example.)

They may not get the deeper ones - such as Issa - because they do not know enough about life (his or their own) yet. And I myself do not get many of the deeper ones - the more I live the more I understand. <Now I am off on a tangent! Back to the subject at hand.

Yes, this article is simplistic, yes, it may limit the reader in their understanding of the form, but it is valid to help those who do not understand begin. I think it would be better to teach this in school rather than 5-7-5. Once they begin their desire to learn and grow will start them on their way with books and reading the greats.

Thank you for having me come back here and think about this some more. :hug:

I love the community of haijin that is here on DA!
Ratafluke Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2008
I still doubt whether this article will bring the reader very far in terms of haiku. Sure, it's a first step, but I feel a first step down a dead end.

The 5-7-5 structure of Japanese haiku actually counts mora (the weight or length of a syllable) not syllables. I stumbled on that information only by accident... 5-7-5 syllables is only an attempt to render the Japanese form in European languages. Anyway, capturing the feeling is more important than capturing the form. Bottom-line is children should be told about 5-7-5, natural references, capturing a moment - and that the latter are more important when it comes to writing your own haiku.

Playing haikai no renga, I think that would be really fun! Due to the unimmediate nature of the internet, I think we'd need some kind of host, or coordinator. Someone to collect koan suggestions from the participants and give out the "koan of the day" to all.
HaikuKitty Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
solararts expressed interest in hosting it - I am all for that! After msjames haikuwrimo in May, perhaps we can all play? :dance: I am excited about this idea!
Ratafluke Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2008
Yep I read that. Would be cool if they host a game of haikai no renga!
KorpiHunaja Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2006   Writer
entirely, not somewhat. as always i would recommend books on haiku, zen and japanese culture in general (starting with the works of D.T. Suzuki and R.H. Blythe, and V. Devidé for those who understand croatian). it may sound out-dated but i believe it will help a lot more than thousands of 'tutorials'.
MSJames Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2006
Well actually, most beginners think that haiku are easy because of the 5-7-5 format. They think that's all there is to writing a haiku, when in fact, its the opposite. The key yo a good haiku in the subject matter (which should have at least one nature or natural reference)

But your format is a good place to start for beginners and the examples you give are sound :)
AbCat Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2006   Writer
Thank you. Those examples are growing on me too... :~)
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