Have you seen the meme floating around facebook of how words are magic? How a few sounds we make with our mouths can create images in others’ minds?
To me, nothing does this better than a haiku. So few words that make such a complete picture. I’m a purist when it comes to haiku (and pizza. Only pepperoni and cheese will do. If I get fancy with the sauces and the toppings, its good, but it just doesn’t satisfy that pizza craving. You feel me? But I digress…). Haiku are now accepted in all syllabic form, with greater flexibility of subject and style. And that’s fine. But for me, I like traditional. I like the restraint, the magic created from the rigidity. What does that say about me? Umm…
So what is a traditional haiku?
First, the structure. Three lines 5-7-5 The first line needs to have five syllables, and so on.
Second, the subject. A traditional haiku is usually about nature.
Third, the images. It includes a word or phrase called the kigo which symbolizes or implies a season (usually using nature themes). Then there’s also the kireji (which is my favorite, I have no idea why? Maybe because I adore juxtapositions?) which is a cutting word that resonates and causes the poem to end reflectively. Wikipedia calls it “a kind of verbal punctuation mark which signals the moment of separation and colours the manner in which the juxtaposed elements are related.” Isn’t that lovely? Here are more random fun facts about haiku.
And here’s my haiku that I’m excited to have published in this month’s issue of Haiku Journal.
Blue filters through oak
leaves, catching the green on fire
like copper burning
My kigo is the oak leaves, green, implying spring or early summer, while my kireji is the juxtaposition between the images of new, fresh leaves and burning copper.
This one didn’t make it into the journal but it’s my absolute favorite so I want to share it with you guys:
The red snapdragon
growls at the chirping cricket:
No one can hear me!
There are many beautiful poems in the latest issue of Haiku Journal and they have them online for your viewing pleasure here. Mine is in Issue #44. They don’t charge reading fees so why don’t you submit one too?
So how do you feel about haiku? Are you a traditionalist or do you embrace the modern form? Tell me what you think about mine or comment with your own haiku. And then submit it to the journal and you could be as awesome as me and take bookshelfies with your copy, hahaha.
13 thoughts on “Haiku & Magical Implantation”
I love your haiku, and your deep grasp of the intricacies of this form of poetry! The contrast between green fresh leaves and burning copper is splendid, really lights up a picture in my mind 😀 I also enjoy finding the right words to fit in the amount of syllables but I can’t say I always achieve a good end result. I’m currently doing a poem a day project on my blog at the moment and I think you may have inspired a new more haikus so that I can try to improve so thank you!
Thank you, Zurk Poetry! I’m glad I could magically implant the image 🙂 I hope you submit some of your poems to the journal. They actually pay a token amount which is very rare, especially for poetry. Syllable count trips me up sometimes too. The counting-chin-taps-to-hand thing we learned in school confused me, and I draw out syllables with my Southern accent, haha
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I did Haikus as a kid. I’d forgotten how fun they were. I love a good sonnet, but I believe Haikus are my favorite poetry. I really enjoyed your two and I agree that the second one should have also been published. Nice blog. It does a nice job of showing the power of each word.
Thanks, Steven! Aka Mr. Illustrator 🙂 I’ve only written two sonnets and one was about a plastic lawn chair. Total defiance of the traditional sonnet subject. I’m not sure why the rigidity of the haiku soothes me while the formality of a sonnet makes me want to defy it, haha.
I love this post Candice! What a beautiful haiku, and I think your explanation of haiku is wonderful too. I think so often people get confused because of all the variations out there. (My Haiku the Day Away blog probably doesn’t help with that, but ultimately I chose the name after a spitting out pages and pages of haiku and loving the focus on few words and piercing images. I think my website mostly holds that similarity with haiku, so I kept the name.) I’m glad you have found your website!
Thank you, Sara! You have piercing images down pat on your blog! Gorgeous photography, it really caught my eye. Even mundane things like donut holes smushed on fingertips took on a whole new meaning. Wonderful job and I’m so glad you found my blog too!
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