Do you haiku? Well, Target thinks it does (more on that in a bit). If verse poetry is too much of an effort, then haiku is the creative outlet for you. Here is some of what you should know:
Haiku = Compact Poetry: According to DailyHaiku, “Haiku is a minimalist form of unrhymed poetry consisting of seventeen syllables or less.” A traditional Japanese haiku is usually a 3-lined, 5-7-5 syllabic poem with a seasonal or nature reference. Here’s the first haiku I ever wrote : The soft, gentle breeze / swaying through the dogwood tree / sings a tender song. After doing some research, I now realize that most of the haiku I cleverly craft and post online (especially on Twitter) is actually senryu. So, what the heck is senryu?
Senryu is for Those of Us Who Don’t Follow the Rules: The Haiku Society of America was kind enough to enlighten me about senryu: “A senryu is a poem, structurally similar to haiku, that highlights the foibles of human nature, usually in a humorous or satiric way.” What this means is that if you throw 5-7-5 syllabic darts of double entendre poetry, your hilarious haiku are actually senryu. I’ve been on the receiving end of Target’s relatively new “Hi, Coupons!” mailer, but I just don’t have the stamina to let the company’s marketing department know that their creativity should actually be called “Send-You Coupons.”
If You’re on Twitter, Try the #Haikuchallenge: One of my favorite ways to demonstrate my haiku-ability is by participating in (the daily) #haikuchallenge on Twitter. Created and curated by @baffled, #haikuchallenge is a great way to get your creative pilot light flickering if you have a Twitter account. Each day, @baffled (of H-Town, Texas) randomly selects a word from his Oxford English Dictionary and posts, “Today’s Haiku Challenge: any haiku you like, as long as it has the word __________ in it.” By including the #haikuchallenge hashtag in your tweet, your haiku gets added to the feed. If your contribution has curb appeal, @baffled will retweet it to his followers – here’s one I wrote that recently caught his sensibility:
— baffled (@baffled) April 19, 2012
Other Haiku Websites Await You: I’m discovering that haiku (or the more accurately labeled senryu) is very hip and online these days. Who knew there were creative souls out there like the Guerilla Haiku Movement, spreading the beauty of haiku armed with nothing more than rainbow-colored sidewalk chalk and a smartphone? Another site for your consideration is Modern Haiku, a literary journal of haiku and haiku studies. This site accepts submissions and offers subscriptions, so if you want to get more serious about crafting haiku, it’s bookmark-worthy. The Every Good Book website has a separate haiku page that allows you to add your own offering to its Haiku Gallery; it also provides a haiku widget.
Does this post whet your appetite for writing traditional haiku and the more satirical senryu? What other haiku-related websites or resources can you recommend to my readers? I would love to see some haiku submitted as comments if you’re willing to do so – have fun with it!