Hampton Roads Writers


Freewrite a scene, story, or poem inspired by this image. Use strong sensory details to evoke the imagery necessary to push this creation forward to completion.


Write this using traditional Haiku.

Traditional Haiku

Haiku is a contemplative, unrhymed Japanese poem that attempts to chronicle the essence of a moment in which nature is linked to human life. And as one of the most important forms of traditional Japanese poetry, a well-written haiku creates tension between CONTRASTING elements, such as movement versus inactivity, change versus continuance, time versus timelessness, and nature versus humanity.

Three general guidelines govern Traditional Haiku writing in Japanese. These guidelines are:

  • The poem consists of 17 syllables, contained usually within three lines; this convention is a must in Japanese. In English, which has variations in the length of syllables, this can sometimes be difficult, but an interesting intellectual and internal challenge at the same time;

  • The poem should indicate through a KIGO, a SEASON word, the time of year. Often the kigo is not overtly expressed or obvious and may therefore be implied instead;

  • The poem contains a "cutting" or division between two contrasting parts. In English, the first or second line usually ends with a colon or long dash to indicate this cutting.

  • Avoiding first person accounts and the use of figures of speech (like similes or metaphors) in writing Haiku, one should instead contemplate Nature and the immediate moment. Therefore, as a creator of Haiku, you should attempt to use verbs in the present tense and very carefully chosen descriptive and image-arousing words. Remembering also that the pattern to be followed respects the 5-7-5 syllabic application in only three lines, Dhugal (and meister_z) gives you the following "Guidelines" in which Question Words can serve as helpful tools for beginners in Haiku:

  • Line 1 = 5 syllables - When? - short line

  • Line 2 = 7 syllables - Where? - long line

  • Line 3 = 5 syllables - What? - short line


    3333-24 Virginia Beach Blvd., Virginia Beach, VA 23452

    © Copyright 2008-09 Hampton Roads Writers. All Rights Reserved.