Haiku: An E-Journal of Haiku and Related Forms
Feature: Michael Rehling "For the Beginner—What is Haiku?"
the proper form for haiku in English? Well, a simple definition might be a
poem that captures a ‘moment in time’, usually involving nature,
and as perceived or experienced by the poet. It is recorded in less than seventeen
syllables, usually in three lines, and usually with the center line longer
than the others, sometimes with a seasonal
reference, or ‘kigo’. Although many times a 5-7-5 pattern is prescribed
as a ‘firm’ rule in rudimentary definitions of haiku this is not
supported by research, translation, or history, even in Japanese haiku.
long been associated with Zen Buddhism, but it has always stood apart from
any religious or philosophical
bent, and so maintains its universality. Perhaps the association with Zen
can best be explained by the fact that both place high value on the ‘present
moment’, and human interactions with nature. In any case a knowledge
of, or practice of Zen is unnecessary to understanding or creating fine haiku.
There are numerous web sites that discuss various nuances, definitions, and preferences of technique in the creation of Haiku. Reading that I'd recommend includes books by Robert Haas, William J. Higginson, R. H. Blyth and Jane Reichhold. I would also recommend that you visit the online haiku websites, including Modern Haiku, The Heron's Nest and The World Haiku Review.
R. H. Blyth, Haiku, Tokyo, The Hokuseido Press, 1949-1952, 1960, 1968, 1970, 1982, 1997.
Robert Hass, The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa (New York: Ecco, 1994) xii-xvi.
William J. Higginson, Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Share, and Teach Haiku, Kodansha International (JPN); Reissue edition (February 1, 1992), ISBN: 4770014309.
Jane Reichhold, Writing and Enjoying Haiku, Kodansha International (JPN); (February 1, 2003), ISBN: 4770028865.
Michael Rehling resides in Southern Michigan, living with his wife, dogs, cats, and, as he puts it, "many tall pines".
His interests include haiku, senryu, and other 'short forms' of poetry.
He also follows in his father-photographer's footsteps and often presents photos to accompany his haiku.
He is the webmaster of Haiku Hut, an Internet Haiku Resource; he was creator/editor of Short Stuff, a haiku e-journal; he is the new web designer/master for the World Haiku Review; And, he creates photo-haiku webpages such as Big Sur Memories.