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(5/1/2006 12:19:00 PM)
Strictly speaking, a haiku is a three-line poem with the first line having 5 syllables, the second having 7, and the third having 5. Typically the subject is something about nature, such as the moon, a bird, a flower, etc., and/or a season of the year. Traditionally, they should not make a glaring 'statement', but the meaning should be subtle and sharp, zen-like. Most were originally written in Asian languages, esp. Japanese. Because English is so different from Japanese, with different stresses and often monosyllable words, many poets do not completely adhere to the 5/7/5 format, but usually do keep to the 3 lines. When you follow the formula, it's easy to create haiku, but creating a really good one can be very challenging-there's not a word to spare. Check the work of an ancient poet called Basho-I'm pretty sure you'll find samples of his poetry on the Internet. He's considered one of the masters of the genre. I hope this helps, Nibedita.
(4/30/2006 10:34:00 AM)
I stumbled across a fantastic book on writing haiku, if anyone is interested. It's by Joan Giroux and is called 'The Haiku Form.' It was published in 1974, so it may be hard to actually purchase it. I think it is the best book on the subject I've ever read and is concise but thorough. She points out, for one thing, that many Japanese readers of English haiku note that most of what they see in English are not really haiku, but rather senryu-same 17 syllables, same three lines as haiku, but containing a message or philosophical observation. Traditional haiku are not directly philosophical, but kind of like a painting or drawing. Giroux illustrates this by displaying 3 separate translations of the same Japanese haiku. In one:
'Collecting all the rains of May, /How swiftly flows the Mogami! ', she points out that the word 'How' is a comment. You could even say that the exclamation point at the end of 'Mogami! ' is expressing an opinion. Anyway, it's a very interesting and helpful resource, I thought.
(4/28/2006 1:35:00 PM)
Congrats. Enjoy your awards ceremony and give 'em a great big smile.