Tips &Techniques for Creating a Haiku or Tanka Poem
Poetry has always been a significant part of Japanese literature. Haiku is the simplest style of Japanese poetry which combines content and language in a meaningful form. The essence of haiku lies in the way it describes natural phenomena in the fewest number of words, making an indelible impression on the reader.
History and Origin of Haiku
Haiku has its origin in Renga, a string type of poetry form which is lengthy but contains similar syllables. The early form of Haiku was Hokku. It was largely due to the efforts of Masaoka Shiki that Hokku was broken off from the long chain of Renga and its forms; and instituted as an independent and modern poetry style.
Haiku has been formally around since the end of nineteenth century. Issa, Buson, Shiki, and Kikaku are names of classical poets of Haiku. The credit for introducing Haiku in the Western world in the late fifties goes to R.H. Blyth and Harold G. Henderson. The element of Buddhism in Haiku strongly influenced the minds and souls of Gary Snyder and Jack Kerouac. Today Haiku has grown into a phenomenon which inspires all societies globally.
Format & Structure of a Haiku Poem
Remember that Japanese is a pictorial language. So when you write Haiku, it must create a photograph of the scene in the mind of the reader. When you are done writing a Haiku, read it aloud to yourself or your friends to ensure that the words and phrases paints a clear picture.
Basic Guide Rules for Writing a Haiku Poem
1. Choose a Theme
You need to have a theme or an idea in mind around which you will be carving your poem. Haiku is a form of poetry which is usually used to talk about nature and everyday situations. So don’t spend too much time deciding on the theme; keep it simple and original. Possible examples are clouds, rain, soft breeze.
2. Organize Your Thoughts
Once you have a theme in mind, do a little brainstorming. Organize all your thoughts in the form of three rough lines. The first line should set a scene whereas the second and third line depicts your observation. A hard and fast rule for Haiku is that you have to observe and describe a natural scene or seasonal beauty as you see it; not as you feel.
3. Polishing Your Haiku Poem
Now that you have a rough written lines with you; edit and re-edit them by substituting synonyms. Recheck each line to ensure that your Haiku makes sense. Remember, there is no special rhyming required for Haiku. Although you need to take care that the first line is based on five syllables; second and seven; and the third one on five syllables.
4.Getting Inspirational Ideas for a Haiku
If you are not sure that your Haiku is written in a meaningful manner, read as many Haikus as you can. Since Haiku are mostly available in Japanese language, you can search for their English versions. By reading Haikus, you will notice that the four seasons are associated with the human moods and activities.
For instance, winter reflects death, sadness; summer represents warmth, vibrancy and joy; spring is about passion, fickleness and youth; and autumn season brings feeling of regret, loss and loneliness. You will observe that every aspect of nature in Haiku is thoughtful and invokes wisdom.