Learn how to write a traditional haiku, including the 5-7-5 rule, subject matter, and structure. Learn what a “kigo” is and why your poem should contain a shift or movement of some kind. Learn also what you should do when you disagree with the dictionary about how many syllables a word contains. Haiku is often written by kids, but it is also an adult poetic form written by and for adults.

One of the most notable differences between haiku and Western poems is its compression of a single moment and that flash of insight. The reader should be able to “see” and “understand” what the poet is experiencing, just for that single moment it takes to read that poem. Haiku isn’t long enough to tell a story or explore an idea fully. That’s not what it’s for. It’s about really revving up your imagination and then, popping the clutch, you read those seventeen syllables with that intense focus, see through another person’s eyes for a moment. You really inhabit that moment, and, in the resonating moment of silence after reading the poem, feeling what the poet feels. Just for one instant, you’re in someone else’s head. It’s a bit like magic.

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© Daniel Sato