Haiku Practice: Vote your choice

Haiku

war

towers falling
walking down the empty path
song has ended

full moon

illusive vision
water dancing fire spirit
moonlit lake

wind chimes

tinkling glass
western wind softly kissing
the wind chimes

dawn

silent raindrops
reds streaks the grey sky
tea is ready

I’m trying to improve my haiku, and I would appreciate it very much if you would tell me which of the four you liked the best by voting for it on the poll.  If you would also like to comment telling me which you chose and why, that would really be a boon!  I’ll leave the voting up for one week. Thanks, Bastet.

29 thoughts on “Haiku Practice: Vote your choice

  1. Just a quibble, but as we seem to be distinguishing between, say, haiku and senryu, the subject matter is important. And one is not supposed to refer to oneself in haiku. Of course, lots of excellent poets ignore these rules, and call anything with 3 distinguishable lines haiku.

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    • Interesting points…knew I could count on my my readers to open up an interesting point of study. Seems that there is a lot of debating on what is Senryu and what is Haiku…encluding subject matter which sometimes can be used for one or the other. I think that “War”, could in fact fall into a Senryu category…thought some wouldn’t agree, in fact some are of the opinion that Senryu doesn’t exist at all! Whilst studying today I came across several Haiku which had personal reference…and they were Haiku not Micropoetry, but I did take into consideration what you’ve written and looked over “Windchimes” and felt it was closer to what it should be by removing the ‘my’ and putting in ‘the’. Exactly why I’m doing the practice thanks so much for your comments.

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      • It’s true you can find “haiku” and “senryu” that ignore the rules. But there must be some line beyond which the thing ceases to be what it purports to be, otherwise there’s no point in calling it anything. I’ve even seen something called “2 line haiku.” Some of this stuff is wonderful, but is is haiku? I don’t know. If you write a poem that completely ignores the rules of, say, a Shakespearean sonnet, why call it that? Okay, I get that the 17 syllable thing might be lost in translation, although the insistence that Japanese “on” are not the same as syllables strikes me as vacuous, especially by non-Japanese speakers. And it’s true that Japanese haiku writers didn’t always adhere strictly to it, but in my opinion that’s a case of a master deviating from the norm for artistic reasons, rather different from a novice ignoring it. Then there’s the issue of the break, on which, see the informative Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haiku. BTW, senryu originally referred to rather bawdy challenge-response tavern poetry in the 3-line haiku form, so there was clearly an intent to separate them on the basis of subject matter.

        I like the change in “Wind Chimes.” Even better without the “the.” I hope you don’t think all of this is presumptuous of me!

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        • Unfortunately at the moment I can’t answer you properly, and wish to, you’ve brought up some interesting points which I find stimulating. I was doing this practice following a Haiku site I came across…link on my other computer, so later this evening or early tomorrow, I will answer you properly. In the meantime, thanks for your interesting comment! Agree, Windchimes does read even better without the.
          As for me thinking your presumptuous, can’t say if I should presume such a thing, seems to me you’re an ardent lover of haiku, or a polemticist who wishes to get into the truth of what a haiku/senryu is. Both positions are respected by me.

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        • First of all this is the haiku worksheet I was practicing from : http://www.spiritsd.ca/teachers/darryl.merilees/Language%20Arts/haiku_writing_worksheet.htm … now my practice session was created more than anything else to 1) practice imagery 2) transmit emotion. I personally usually stick to the 5-7-5 format, however, here I tried to be even more synthetic and still have a haiku with meaning. I have also been participating at Ligo Haibun where it is requested one NOT count syllables.

          I try to follow the haiku guidlines from the Haiku Society of America here’s their definition for haiku and senryu:

          “HAIKU

          Definition: A haiku is a short poem that uses imagistic language to convey the essence of an experience of nature or the season intuitively linked to the human condition.

          Notes: Most haiku in English consist of three unrhymed lines of seventeen or fewer syllables, with the middle line longest, though today’s poets use a variety of line lengths and arrangements. In Japanese a typical haiku has seventeen “sounds” (on) arranged five, seven, and five. (Some translators of Japanese poetry have noted that about twelve syllables in English approximates the duration of seventeen Japanese on.) Traditional Japanese haiku include a “season word” (kigo), a word or phrase that helps identify the season of the experience recorded in the poem, and a “cutting word” (kireji), a sort of spoken punctuation that marks a pause or gives emphasis to one part of the poem. In English, season words are sometimes omitted, but the original focus on experience captured in clear images continues. The most common technique is juxtaposing two images or ideas (Japanese rensô). Punctuation, space, a line-break, or a grammatical break may substitute for a cutting word. Most haiku have no titles, and metaphors and similes are commonly avoided. (Haiku do sometimes have brief prefatory notes, usually specifying the setting or similar facts; metaphors and similes in the simple sense of these terms do sometimes occur, but not frequently. (A discussion of what might be called “deep metaphor” or symbolism in haiku is beyond the range of a definition. Various kinds of “pseudohaiku” have also arisen in recent years; see the Notes to “senryu”, below, for a brief discussion.)

          SENRYU

          Definition: A senryu is a poem, structurally similar to haiku, that highlights the foibles of human nature, usually in a humorous or satiric way.

          Notes: A senryu may or may not contain a season word or a grammatical break. Some Japanese senryu seem more like aphorisms, and some modern senryu in both Japanese and English avoid humor, becoming more like serious short poems in haiku form. There are also “borderline haiku/senryu”, which may seem like one or the other, depending on how the reader interprets them.”

          (For convienince I use titles). So admittedly the first poem here as I said in my former comment could prabably fall under the senryu category (in fact, when I wrote it I’d just finished reading the Lord of the Rings so maybe it should be fantasy)…Where you’re trying to go with the break reference above has lost me…

          Now in my opinion, haiku and senryu tend to get mixed up and the distinctions are often ambivalent…”traditional” haiku doesn’t exist unless you’re speaking about the work of about 4 or 5 masters who wrote in the 19th-20th century, before that haiku as such did not exist except as a piece in a renga…stand alone haiku (which as you know acquired this name also recently) became popular thanks to Shiki a little more than a hundred years ago. The comparison with a S. sonnet is like saying you want to compare apples and oranges…the sonnet has clear rules…not so black and white the haiku, which is why it’s so easy to discuss for hours about what is or isn’t a haiku. I can understand your wish to follow guidelines, but even the Haiku society seems pretty vague. Personally, as I’ve said before, and to you, I’m trying to write in this form in the most effective way possible…that is write good poetry in haiku form. The day I decide to take part in a haiku contest I’ll try to figure out what they want, and write it as their rules states… One can understand why Kerouac decided to move on though and write micropoetry…
          I’ve done a bit of reading, you might find this blog interesting: http://akitahaiku.com/what-are-haiku-senryu-and-tanka/

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          • I generally agree with all of that. On “on” vs. syllable: Japanese tend to “swallow” some of them, e,g. “netske” for “netsuke.” I think that accounts for the duration difference, although I daresay English speakers do the same, perhaps not so formally. The biggest thing I find lacking in a lot of haiku is the kireji, the break.

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          • Ah..the cutting phrase at the end…yeah, I’m trying to get into that. Not always easy I admit. As for English speakers doing the same, I suspect that o’er (etc) could qualify as most of our contractions.

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  2. Honestly, I like all four of the poems. Haiku is one of my favorite types of poems to try to write. I find that there are some people who feel strongly about sticking to the original Haiku, and others that are happy to use just the syllable format of 5 – 7 – 5.

    I find Wind Chimes to be beautiful because it so perfectly describes wind chimes, which I love. But, I am not sure it is the strongest Haiku, even though it is beautiful.

    War and Dawn might be my favorite as a Haiku. I am not an expert on juxtaposition, but it seems to be the one constant in the form, no matter what else you think about how it can be written. I think these two poems have that juxtaposition. (But since I am not an expert, you should not take my opinion as fact.)

    I love Full Moon. Every time I read it, I think, this is my favorite of the four. However, I’m not sure if it has the juxtaposition.

    Hahaha – that wasn’t very decisive, was it. Like I said, I like them all 🙂

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    • Wow…I could read your comment over and over again, a lesson in itself, thanks so much! I got the impression you liked all four haiku, for one reason or the other, either for technical, subject or emotional value. I may write a post about this experience…thanks so much for participating! 😉

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      • I read the comment conversation that led to the change in Wind Chimes. If I may be so bold, how about a one word adjective that places the last line in juxtaposition to the first two lines? I also have a word in mind, but I would never go that far. I hope you don’t mind my chiming in on this one.

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  3. I could not decide between moon or wind chimes and went with moon for my vote. I keep thinking if I read enough of your haikus I’ll be able to write a real one instead of ones that seem like odd formed limericks!

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    • I think you’re too hard on yourself. I’m not an expert. I just started writing them because they require a certain concentration in form…actually often fragments that transmit, or should transmit an image and emotion. That’s how I see it anyway. There would probably be lots of experts who will tell you I flub it very often, so, just have fun and don’t worry! Thanks for voting by the way!

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