This session contains examples of work based on classical haiku. The examples are preceded by comments and a few words of explanation.


[Photo by Maksim Shutov on Unsplash]

I was told the hardest part of writing haiku was getting an idea. The following haiku demonstrates how one thought leads to another. If you ask me how to get started writing haiku, I would say, “Just do it.”

Avoid getting hung up on the idea that haiku must be profound. This way of thinking only leads to writer’s block. What you write down could turn out to be profound—or just for fun. Remember, you are writing for yourself—expressing your feelings. No one else needs to see what you have written; although, we do hope you decide to share.

My process is to write the first thing that comes into my head. I start with the first two lines. This is thinking “haiku” but not haiku in final form.

Next, I work on getting the thought into the haiku format of 5-7-5 syllables. This entails finding words that meet the syllable rule and best convey my thought. I do this until what I want to express is condensed to its essence. Concentrating on this can remove all else from your mind. Thoughts create a puzzle that the brain works to solve.

Next is the third line. It never ceases to amaze me how the right words appear … the cathartic achieved. So, here are some examples, including the thought that led to them.

I rarely sneeze just once. It is usually two or three sneezes in a row. This thought led to:

Haiku is like nuts
You can’t write just one or two
Gesundheit! Cashew!

When I think of driving, I think of cars—which led to :

Haiku addiction
Drives one to utter madness
Get a Ferrari

Simmering made me think of cooking stew. I like to eat biscuits with my stew.

Haiku in progress
Simmering in my noggin
Have a bowl of stew

This leads me to think of biscuits and gravy for breakfast. What about at night? Night is for sleeping.

Butter your biscuit
Eat with sausage and gravy
Wear your socks to bed

That took a serious turn … but what’s the third verse?

Do not write haiku
When it’s time to go to bed
? ? ? ? ?

Can you finish this last haiku? If you do, please share your writing with us in the comments below.


Contributed by:  Jo Lesher

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4 thoughts on “Session 3: Modern Haiku

  1. Do not write haiku
    When it’s time to go to bed
    Trim your nails instead.

    I so wanted to have a really profound third line but will stick with my first thought.

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