Haiku are characterized by their natural subject matter (including kigo), their extraordinary brevity, concision, and precise imagery. At their best, haiku are also characterized by profound insight into the interconnectedness of nature and mankind, often providing the reader with an epiphany of sorts. Many fine haiku are deeply ambiguous, yielding best to intuition, rather than to logical reasoning. Haiku are the most precious gems of poetry.
As haiku editor for Simply Haiku, I look for haiku (not senryu) written with careful craft, with a context-setting word or phrase (kigo), that is nature-centered and meaningful. I particularly dislike haiku that evoke a so what? response, because of essential meaninglessness, and haiku that are written in a mannered, unnatural diction. Simple, plain, normative diction renders the words themselves transparent, allowing the imagery to unfold for the reader. A meticulous and judicious understatement, i.e., showing just enough and no more, permits ambiguity to arise within these short lines, providing the reader with what I call dreaming room to fill in the poem's precious interstices from his or her own experiential context. Haiku which achieve such understatement are potent far beyond the regional context in which created; in different contexts, new and unexpected readings, in synergy with the poem itself, create fresh experiences and insights. There are a number of special qualities traditionally associated with haiku. Your ongoing study of the genre will inform you about these and eventually lead you from appreciation to adoption of the techniques by which they are achieved. We are all learners on the path; haiku is a perpetual apprenticeship and there is always much, much more to learn.
I am open to a variety of forms, including minimalist haiku, brief tercets, textbook 5-7-5, couplets, and one-line haiku. However, I have an opinion and a preference in these respects. For haiku written in English, I believe that there is yet real residual value in the 5-7-5 structure of Japanese haiku. My favorite form for haiku written in English is the tercet and, within that form, I prefer a classic meter which I would express as 2-3-2 stresses or accents. Even in so short a form as haiku, verse should have a musical quality. I value euphonious language as much as clear imagery. That being said, I repeat that I am open to various forms.
When I select a poet's haiku, I prefer to showcase five so that our readers may get a feeling for the poet's mind and style. For featured poets, I may showcase a few more. Please send me your very best, finished and finely-polished work. Submit ten or more unpublished haiku (not senryu). Twenty or thirty is even better; a broader group from which to choose. Submissions of less than five haiku will not be considered. With every submission, send a brief biographical sketch (written in the third person) and a digital photo (see submission guidelines), with Simply Haiku haiku submission [your name] in the subject line, to email@example.com
I look forward to your submissions.
Copyright 2006: Simply Haiku