April 13th, 2010

policing the night
with their siren song

2 Responses to “”

  1. What are the rules of haiku? I am not formally schooled and I posted one (what I thought was one) and the site just jumped all over me saying “that’s not a haiku!” “that’s a senryu!”

    I mean, it was just three measly lines.

    Any help from a kind person would help…

    (ps – I like your haikus)

  2. tina says:

    Hi Moskowitz,

    I’m glad to hear you are exploring haiku! It’s such a lovely form of poetry. And I know what a challenge it is. As you have discovered, people are quick to judge and note how you are not following the rules. I’m no expert, but I have a few ideas, and I can offer up a few resources to help you.

    Probably the most common “rule” you will encounter is that you need 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second, and 5 in the third. Some people follow that, but I do not. Traditionally, haiku is about the natural world and senryu is about human nature. I suppose that’s another rule or guideline to consider. And it’s one that’s still a bit unclear to me.

    When it comes to English-language haiku, Jane Reichold is an excellent poet and teacher. Her website has some very helpful how-to articles. And I also recommend her book, Writing and Enjoying Haiku: A Hands-on Guide. It’s fairly small and short, but it has good examples of the many types of haiku, plus a thorough explanation of “rules.”

    Good luck, and keep writing!


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