A new way of expression for journaling.


[Photo by Chandler Cruttenden on Unsplash]

Journaling differs from keeping a diary in that you express your deepest, most personal feelings and thoughts in your journal. A diary is a record of events, Haiku Journaling allows you to capture the essence of a moment using the ancient Japanese form of poetry. With this spare form, you can catch the mood and impact of the moment.

Haiku forces you to express yourself in a limited number of words that catch the essence of the experience. Haiku lies somewhere between poetry in its many forms (unleashing your muse) and keeping a diary (recording your experience).

We were introduced to haiku by the leader of Your Good Life’s Poets’ Corner. Using this concise form of expression, we were able to “capture our feelings in a bottle.” In this section of Your Good Life, we share our first stumbling steps as neophyte haiku journaling poets.

Haiku evolved from another short form of poetry called tanka, which was practiced in the golden age of Japanese poetry (A.D. 794-1185). Group improvisation extended tanka into renga (linked verses). An opening verse, hokku, suggested the emotion or mood. In the fifteenth century, hokku sometimes formed independent verses that resembled the haiku we know today. In the late seventeenth century, poets like Basho, Buson, and Issa continued this writing tradition.

Haiku is written in three lines comprised of limited syllables (“oms” in the Japanese language). In English, haiku, by convention, limits the number of syllables in each poem to seventeen—divided in three lines of 5 syllables-7 syllables-5 syllables each. This rule of 5-7-5 lends a sense of control and confidence to those who are beginners in the art of haiku.

After you have read the poetry of the great masters (over and over again) and have practiced writing your own haiku, you may try your wings and make up your own rules and change them if you wish. However, you must first learn the rules that have been followed for centuries. We ask that you not judge the haiku we offer here as poetry and instead call it communication in verse.

We hope you will try this concise and compelling form of expression and have fun with it—and then share your haiku with us at Your Good Life. Stay tuned, there will be more.


Contributed by: The Editors

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