A haiku is a type of poem which will allow you to practice focusing on specific numbers of lines and syllables in your poetry writing. Writing a haiku poem will also help you to discover new ways to write about nature and your surroundings in a very meditative way.
- Background: The haiku poem began to emerge in Japan as far back as the 7th century, and the most common themes for these poems were prayers, celebration, and harvesting. In the 1950s, haiku poetry writing became popular in the West thanks to poets such as Gary Snyder and Jack Kerouac.
- Lines: Three lines altogether is the maximum number for a haiku because this type of poem is based in simplicity and meditation, which means that it is usually reflective of something that you have become aware of in your natural surroundings. Try not to over-think while writing your haiku, because for this type of poem, simple words are the key to expressing complex ideas.
- Syllables: It is traditional for each haiku have exactly seventeen syllables in all. More specifically, the first and third lines of the poem are required to have five syllables each, while the second line must have seven syllables, creating a syllable pattern of 5-7-5. This Japanese form of poetry pays close attention to the musicality that words make, and having this intricate pattern of syllables contributes to the rhythmic tone of the poem.
- Nature: It is customary for haikus to include either a reference to nature, or to make the poem’s subject about your surroundings. This makes it easy to find the theme you will use for your poem, because all you have to do is look around you and find something inspiring. You can also think about your favorite season or holiday and base your poem around the images you get in your mind when you think about them.