Hello, haijin. Thinking about submitting haiku or senryu to Simply Haiku? If you are, you're probably wondering what I am looking for as an editor.
I am looking for haiku that expresses original thinking. Too much of what passes today for haiku is mundane and says little, following a formula...a kigo followed by a sentence or thought.
Does this haiku say anything new? Is it memorable? Does it leave you wanting to read more of the poet's work? I think not.
I am looking for well crafted haiku, poetry that displays an understanding of the genre. Consisting of three lines does not make a poem a haiku.
Haiku is a state of mind, an art, a journey, a way of seeing life. The Japanese haiku master and painter, Yosa Buson, would look at something in nature without preconceived notions, letting the object speak to him.
Observation is a key word here. What do you actually see? What do you hear? Haiku is a conversation with nature. Study the poetry of the Japanese haiku masters ... Poets like Basho, Issa, Buson, Shiki, and Chiyo-ni. I do this daily. They are wonderful teachers. Study and read the works of modern haiku poets. Ask yourself, "What makes this person's haiku stand out? Does he or she speak with an original voice?" One of the biggest mistakes I see in submitted haiku these days is a three line poem with three separate statements lacking connectivity.
This is a mental photograph, not a haiku. It lacks meter, and is easily forgettable. What do the birds and the pants and the summer breeze have in common? How do they interrelate? What do they say to us?
I hope this helps you. And remember, do not compare yourselves with other poets. You are you and they are they. Be yourself. Speak with an authentic voice, be it haiku or senryu.
I look forward to your submissions. When I feature a poet's haiku, I showcase five. I do this because I want our readers to get a feeling for the poet's work and mindset.
Submit ten or more unpublished haiku. Give me something to choose from. And don't give up. With every submission, send a "short" bio and a digital photo, if you have access to one. It adds a personal touch.
Robert D. Wilson
2003/2004 Simply Haiku