Haiku (plural and singular spelling) are the shortest of all short verses. The intention is to create an effect far greater than the sum of the physical count of words.
Traditionally haiku are rooted in the seasons, and can make us conspirators with wildlife, as nature half-writes the haiku before we've even put pen to paper.
Haiku can also be ideal for non-fiction observations as a kind of short-hand for remembering events, the important days in our lives, and anniversaries. They can also make for excellent pieces of ecological and environmental writing.
These incredibly distilled verses can be wonderfully therapeutic. They are also a great brain workout.
a soon-to-be mum
backs into a wave
Ron Moss, Tasmania, Australia
Winner of the With Words International Online Haiku Competition 2009.
Published in Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years. Edited by Jim Kacian, Allan Burns and Philip Rowland. Published by W. W. Norton & Company, Inc, 2013.
See the judge's commentary: http://www.withwords.org.uk/results.html#2009report
the wild persimmon
Winner of the 2015 World Haiku Competition. More info:
People are drawn to writing haiku for many reasons. Some simply like the challenge, others want to record their experiences with these poems, as if they are little photographs or diary entries, and for some it's a way to express themselves creatively. And then there is the question of where your poems go once you have written them. Some of our course participants write purely for their own pleasure, and preservation of their memories. Others are active online, and use their poetry in their blogs. Many of our students are interested in publication, or are already having their work published, and wish to stretch themselves and become published more widely. But whatever the skill and experience level, there's a common appreciation of the simple distillation of images and thoughts that haiku can capture.