Write a Haiku

Edited by Thor, Zack, Eng, Anonymous and 1 other

Hello and welcome to VisiHow. In this series of videos, we are showing you how to write poetry. In this particular video, we're going to focus on writing haikus. Haikus originated in Japan around 1892, where it evolved from other similar poetic styles into its own form. Haikus use a very specific structure, and as we can see are intended to give a very profound sense of time, space, and of a universal human identity existing in connection with the natural environment. This is all done in a very succinct and brief form for in haikus it is their brevity that serves to encapsulate the scene in such pure momentary splendour, and to liberate it from extraneous baggage and human over-complexity.

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  1. 1
    Traditional Japanese haikus rigorously adhere to a certain number of syllables that dictate the form of this type of poem.
    They are five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second line, and five syllables in the third line. Although because of the uniqueness of their language, the Japanese used a 3, 5, 3 system. However, in English we have more poly-syllabic words, hence the increase in syllables used.
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  2. 2
    Haikus also traditionally include a Kigo, which is a seasonal word that indicates the scene.
    Also traditionally used is a cutting technique, which cuts the haiku into two separate parts that compliment each other. To do this in English, usually punctuation is added to the end of the first or second line, such as a comma, colon, ellipsis, etc.
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  3. 3
    Here are two examples of haikus.
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  4. 4
    In the haiku above, we can see that the Kigo is "wintery" and that the cutting is made by inserting the comma after forest.
    So with this knowledge, we can write our own haikus. Here are two examples.
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  5. 5
    You will notice the lack of adjectives in haikus.
    Their intention is not to decorate a scene superlatives or drown it in words, but rather to present a true visual image in which the universal and natural beauty of the moment is being conveyed. It is about conveying a deep emphatic truth.
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  6. 6
    Now it's your turn.
    Follow the rules we have discussed and create your own haikus. Remember, the rules we talked about are not obligatory. You are free to use as many syllables as you'd like, to include the Kigo or to use the cutting technique. The only important element is that you try to capture the spirit of this unique form of poetry. So try and make your own haikus, then you can leave the results in the comment section below this video. If you have any questions or comments, you can leave them in the comment section below. Also, there you'll find links to the other videos in this series of how to write poems.
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  7. 7
    So, you've been watching a video on how to write a haiku.
    You've also been watching VisiHow. Goodbye for now!
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Video: Write a Haiku


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Recent edits by: Anonymous, Eng, Zack

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