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Haiku is a short poem that originated in Japan.  It began as the hokku or first link of a renga. (see below).  Haiku is attentive to time and place and uses plain language.  The resonance in haiku comes from the juxtaposition of ideas to bring about an "Aha" moment in the mind of the reader.  The format in Japanese is 5-7-5 syllables on three lines and has a seasonal word.  The foreign language writer usually strives for the essence of haiku without strict adherence to the 17 syllable count. Haiku has been defined by Sir George Sansom as "little drops of poetic essence." 

Classic Haiku




A crow
has settled on a bare branch--
autumn evening

old pond--
a frog jumps in
the sound of water

summer grass--
all that's left 
of warrior's dreams


Yosa Buson (1716-1783)

evening wind--
water laps
the heron's legs

calligraphy of geese
against the sky--
the moon seals it

escaped the nets,
escaped the ropes--
the moon on the water

Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827)

her row veering off,
the peasant woman plants
toward her crying child

a bath when you're born,
a bath when you die,
how stupid

Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902)

I bite into a persimmon
and a bell resounds--

this lone iris
in spring twilight

the tree cut,
dawn breaks early
at my window


Modern Haiku

Year's end--
driftwood half-in,half-out
of the stream

sunny day--
the warmth of his body
escaping the urn

another rain cloud--
old puddles joining

Sunday morning;
How loudly it sings!
the one-legged bird

in the chapel--
the smell of stone
and wine must

winter afternoon--
the tiny grandmother
sits in silence

distant music--
rising and falling
with the wind

low tide in August --
my grey haired mother
carries my seashells

*Second place Felissmo Haiku contest*


brief friendship--
moving a tortoise
off the road

moon on the ice--
the dead dog's stench
begins to dissipate

white chrysanthemum-
its faceless moon
on the water

candle flame
twists then plumbs--
in the mirror, too

early evening--
the dark shadow
of a white chrysanthemum 

approaching storm-
two dusks
on the summer sky

Asphalt boulevard--
How vibrant his feathers!
the dead bluebird.

*Award Winning Haiku-
Suruga Baika Literary Festival- Daichu-ji Temple, Japan*

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Study Guide


Season words or kigo are used to use the season to set  the tone of haiku. In renku seasonal words are included at designated verses.

Linked Forms



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Renku are Japanese linked verses that originated in the 12th century.  It can be written singularly or by groups of poets.  Each verse is interconnected and poems have been as long as 10,000 verses. The most common renku had 36 verses.  The verses are usually connected by alternate verses of (5-7-5) and (7-7). The modern haiku developed by Shiki originated from the starting verse of the renka. Below are modern adaptations.

Classical Renga

Excerpt from 

Three Poets at Yuyama (1491)

under thin snow
the leaves make colorful
this mountain path

pampas grass at the rock's base
look at it in winter!

by the pine cricket
early I was lured into
leaving my home

so, night has deepened
autumn wind in the sleeves

the dew is cold
even the light of the moon
has changed

thoughts have been turning--
what direction in the field?


Modern Linked Forms

               Rengay A short linked poem     


authors A=Susan Bond; B=Neca Stoller; C=Laura Young

gray smooth stone
in the palm of my hand -
a heron glides
lacing the beach
a fringe of broken shells
leftover bait -
the swift paw
of a jetty cat
current at low tide
ripples the fine seaweed
from marsh
to sandbar-
the crescent moon
just a silhouette
beyond the breakers



A=Neca Stoller; B=Laura Young

first frost-
on the garden spade
traces of dawn
    dropping from the pink cloud
    a rainbow fragment
sand ripples
left by the low tide-
autumn sky
their fingertips
along the tree rings
thin and wide

   fading in the new coolness
   her white band of skin
firelight -
thawing out the top layer
of their wedding cake


Hand Made Haiku Journal    

Haiku and other oriental forms are well suited for hand made books. Below are links with instructions for folded books and hand sewn books.  The size of the folded books is determined only by the paper size. Hand-made paper is quite lovely with this project.





Making Books

Make a Folded Making a Book

Hand Bound Haiku Journal

Concertina Book Instructions

Book Binding by Hand

Simple Paper Making Instructions

Paper Making

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Haiku Links 

Aha Poetry 
Art of Haiku

Borders & Time

Garden Digest
Guide for Teaching Haiku

Haiku In Low Places

Sangeet's Haiku Corner 

Haiku Habit 

Haiku Home


Mark's Haiku Place

Haiku Planet

Haiku Poets Hut

Haiku Spirit

Haiku World

History of Haiku

In the Moonlight

Paper Lanterns

American Poetry

Renku Home

Women's Early Music, Art and Poetry

Zane Parks' Haiku Page

Mailing Lists

Haiku Talk Mailing List 

Yahoo Groups 
All below lists are at yahoo

Haiku Inn

Haiku List
Haiku Live







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 Copyright 1996, Edited Jan 2006