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Thread: Haiku

  1. #1
    Senior Member Frankie Jasmine's Avatar
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    Default Haiku - First Element

    Later, I will post more information about the Japanese art form of poetry called "Haiku," how it is composed into languages other than Japanese. The "formula" (which is not accurate when transposed from Japanese to English), still, in general, reads as follows:

    5 syllables
    7 syllables
    5 syllables


    Because "syllable" does not have the same meaning and application in Japanese as in English, the "5-7-5 syllable standard" is not exactly applicable. However, in the past "5-7-5" was the acceptable English standard for haiku. I loosely used that framework to compose this haiku.

    _ _ _ _ _


    Paul Orhan posted the following music-video by Tarkan, called "Uyan" in Turkish ["Wake Up!" in English].






    The physicality of Tarkan's performance inspired my haiku
    , which I dedicate to my friend, Paul Orhan:




    World sorrow pains his heart,
    Palm beats his chest, wings beat wind.
    Tears fall by the saz.





    Frankie Jasmine
    January 27, 2012


    _ _ _ _ _


    A little additional information on haiku, perhaps even in your own language (see language choices on the left side) from Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haiku
    Last edited by Frankie Jasmine; 12-21-2012 at 08:42 PM. Reason: Add higher quality music video/ Add Title

  2. #2
    Senior Member Frankie Jasmine's Avatar
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    Default Haiku - Syllables = "on"

    PREQUEL: IF THE TECHNICAL PART OF THIS POST SCARES YOU FROM TRYING HAIKU . . . STOP READING THIS POST IMMEDIATELY!!! HAIKU IS SIMPLE! THIS IS JUST 'DISCUSSION' FOR THOSE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN MORE DETAIL OF THE ART.

    .................................................


    HAIKU SYLLABLES / "ON"


    English poetry is measured by "meter," and English haiku is counted by each syllable [e.g., "syl-la-ble" = 3 syllables!].
    Japanese verses are counted by separate pronunciation units known as "on" (Japanese character--digraph).

    However, the English "syllable" and the Japanese "on" are NOT equal.

    The traditional Japanese haiku is generally:

    17 "on"
    in 3 phrases (lines)
    of 5-7-5 "on."

    The same count of syllables in English has been used for haiku:

    3 lines
    of 5-7-5 syllables


    This is acceptable. However, even shorter English haiku are being written, because 17 "on" = approximately 12 English syllables.

    Even in Japanese haiku, the 17 "on" of 5-7-5 "on" is not strictly adhered to by some poets. A poet named Basho wrote a famous haiku using 18 on = 6-7-5.

    For this and other reasons, there remains some flexibility in English haiku, between 12 - 17 syllables--the shorter becoming the modern trend. More syllables than 17 syllables is probably technically not acceptable.* (I have not confirmed this yet.)

    For the sake of this thread, and anyone who wishes to write haiku, we should accept haiku of slightly more than 17-syllables and slightly less than 12-syllables in English.

    HAIKU IS A WONDERFUL WAY TO "PARE" DOWN YOUR WRITING TO THE MOST SIGNIFICANT WORDS, something useful to any writer.
    Haiku is the ESSENCE of the thing described, distilled to the finest words possible.
    Practicing haiku is a practice in restraint (difficult for me!) and purity of communication.

    NEXT, WE'LL DISCUSS THE TRADITIONAL "THEMES AND MEANINGS" OF HAIKU AND THE IMPACT OF A HAIKU . . .
    _ _ _ _ _

    * Please note that the haiku I composed above, may not be acceptable by the Haiku Society of America, because the actual number of syllables is: 6-7-5.
    Last edited by Frankie Jasmine; 07-03-2012 at 10:16 PM. Reason: Adding "Prequel" . . . Refining meaning.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Doug Denslowe's Avatar
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    Wow,Frankie your a little technical for me.But I'm all ears (and eyes) for your future posts.
    That was written in July.It's December and I still can't understand a word you guys are saying.It makes my head hurt to try!
    Last edited by Doug Denslowe; 12-04-2012 at 03:07 PM. Reason: New Post,Re-spelling Technical

  4. #4
    Senior Member Frankie Jasmine's Avatar
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    Haiku is technical by design, but pointed, poignant, and with such powerful word pictures that it's perfect as an art form. It is the embodiment of thought, distilled, refined to its only most important elements (the words/syllables < meaning). Very similar to some simple, elegant Japanese paintings you may have seen . . . just the simplest brush-strokes.```````````````````````````````

    To make it easy, just remember the number of syllables:

    5
    7
    5


    That's all you have to remember and mull over for now. (I speak to anyone "listening.")

    Think of writing haiku as being challenged to arm wrestle. You think: "Hmmmm. My arm against his. I know I can do it." Then you set up with elbows on the table, pick your angle, feeling tensile strength in your hand as well as force from your arm, body, and mind. The two hands meet. The struggle is on. But it is soon over . . . and you've won!

    Writing haiku . . . is a lot like that. The struggle is one's mind against too many words. (The story of my life!)

    I no longer take on men in arm wrestling, but when I was younger I used to. I won over 50% of the time from sheer focus, a strong will, a bit of strength, and the mind controlling primarily just the hand and arm. I am only 5'2" . . . was a feather-weight (or less if that's possible). My biggest disadvantage was the shortness of my forearm compared to a man's. Sometimes a competitor allowed me something under my elbow to even out the height.


    Two different subjects--brought together with a minimum of words--meld in haiku. This is a hint of the next topic I referred to, above. Next installment...
    Last edited by Frankie Jasmine; 12-02-2012 at 08:43 PM.

  5. #5
    Ange ou Demon Amethystos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie Jasmine View Post
    Practicing haiku is a practice in restraint (difficult for me!) and purity of communication.
    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie Jasmine View Post
    The struggle is one's mind against too many words. (The story of my life!)


    Let's see where the Lady from Kentucky wants to drive us....
    "Gilgamesh, where are you hurrying to?
    You will never find that life for which you are looking.
    When the gods created man they allotted to him death,
    but life they retained in their own keeping"

  6. #6
    Senior Member amaryn's Avatar
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    purity of thought, simplicity of mind , extention of exaggeration Its' a goal hard to achieve for anyone, Frankie

    PS: "simplicity of mind" should not be misunderstood!!!

  7. #7
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    This is a good thread;
    haikus purify the mind,
    like white winter frost.



    Hazel grove
    barren branches:
    December.


    Last edited by Guest; 12-02-2012 at 07:04 PM.

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    Frankie Jasmine (12-02-2012)

  9. #8
    Senior Member Frankie Jasmine's Avatar
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    Default Second Element

    Thank you, OrchestraInside! Very good haiku!

    OrchestraInside brings us to the second element besides number of syllables:

    That is, two things or subjects within a haiku . . . apparently different, but via the "haiku" their similarities are expressed, impressed, or implied to the degree that the likeness cannot be denied.

    Let's use OrchestraInside's haiku:

    This is a good thread;
    haikus purify the mind,
    like white winter frost.

    For simplicity, haikus purify the mind, is one thing; like white winter frost is the other. This need not be explained further, unless someone has a question (will be glad to answer).

    _ _ _ _ _


    OrchestraInside's haiku also demonstrates a third element of a haiku . . . However, do not let the third element keep you from trying a haiku!! This is a thread for PRACTICE as much as learning, so please don't be shy!

    REMEMBER: We are not STRICTLY counting syllables! We are not a haiku competition. This is to practice whittling words/cutting words to their essence, as the finest perfume is distilled from several fragrances. (I need to practice too!)
    Last edited by Frankie Jasmine; 12-02-2012 at 11:32 PM. Reason: Add Title

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    Thanks, Frankie.

    I assume the third element you mention but don't explain is the kigo?

  11. #10
    Senior Member Frankie Jasmine's Avatar
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    Default Third Element

    OrchestraInside's haiku is a wonderful example of the third element of haiku. However, please note that English haiku does not REQUIRE the third element, nor do free-form modern Japanese haiku writers necessarily adhere to this element. For simplicity, I will call this third element:

    NATURE . . .

    . . . since the third element is "optional." [Only in the strictest sense of traditional Japanese haiku is "nature" a seasonal reference (which OrchestraInside has utilized well) or a natural element directly implying a season--i.e., in English, the Four Seasons, not holiday seasons].

    You will notice that my haiku from the first post does not contain this strict seasonal element, although "nature elements" are used:

    World sorrow pains his heart,
    Palm beats his chest, wings beat wind.
    Tears fall by the saz.

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


    Here is another haiku, (about haiku!), so I participate and practice on my own thread!! (I'll break it down by syllable as well, for an example; at the same time exaggerating the impact a haiku might have). Now you will see that haiku does not have to be "great" to be a haiku!!! Give it a try!

    _hai- _ku _strikes _a _heart
    _As _ic- _y _wa- _ters _on _a
    _Red _hot _sum- _mer's _face
    Last edited by Frankie Jasmine; 12-02-2012 at 11:45 PM.

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  13. #11
    Senior Member Frankie Jasmine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrchestraInside View Post
    Thanks, Frankie.

    I assume the third element you mention but don't explain is the kigo?

    You're welcome. And you are correct! Sorry I missed your post. It took me a while to make, correct, and complete my post on the third element; so I missed your post until just now. Thank you for putting the Japanese word (and link for any who want to explore the traditional complexity of "kigo") to what I called the third element.

  14. #12
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    ...there's also senryu, which is technically the same as a haiku, simply with a different angle. Many poems can be both at the same time.

    http://startag.tripod.com/HkSenDiff.html

  15. #13
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    This is a super-condensed 2-3-1 syllable senryu (technically same as haiku, but about humans, not nature).


    She comes
    on my soul
    bliss
    Last edited by Guest; 12-04-2012 at 08:26 AM.

  16. #14
    Senior Member Frankie Jasmine's Avatar
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    OrchestraInside,

    Thank you so much for that great reference about haiku v. senryu (or in some cases haiku = senryu). The short article is easily understandable. Also, it confirms the modern trend toward less syllables in haiku (which better reflects the Japanese "on" anyway!). The article establishes the flexibility of modern haiku in English, making it much less intimidating. Exactly what I hoped to accomplish on this thread! The beauty and beneifits of writing haiku are enormous. Inside each of us is a latent haiku writer or potential artist!

    ATL has an abundance of great lyricists along with those who appreciate lyrics and poetry in many languages--the ideal audience to explore and enjoy haiku.

  17. #15
    Senior Member Frankie Jasmine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrchestraInside View Post
    This is a super-condensed 2-3-1 syllable senryu (technically same as haiku, but about humans, not nature).


    She comes
    on my soul
    bliss

    OrchestraInside wrote a senryu, totally about human nature; and utilized the lesser number of syllables. The only thing which makes it a senryu and not a haiku is that its "nature" is purely human.

    The substance of haiku can be about the natural world (plant, animal, seasonal, weather) as the "hook;" or haiku can combine both human nature and the natural world.

  18. #16
    Moderator VivaPalestina's Avatar
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    Oh this is a beautiful thread, I've never seen it before. I wanna learn too (I know the fundamentals, who wants to inspire me? )

  19. #17
    Senior Member Frankie Jasmine's Avatar
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    . . . . . . happily waiting for someone/thing to inspire you, Viv!

  20. #18
    Moderator VivaPalestina's Avatar
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    I was actually trying a senryu just now on my blog

    Your words
    So like home
    Again

  21. #19
    Senior Member Frankie Jasmine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Denslowe View Post
    Wow,Frankie your a little technical for me.But I'm all ears (and eyes) for your future posts.
    That was written in July.It's December and I still can't understand a word you guys are saying.It makes my head hurt to try!
    Doug, I will attempt a haiku in Doug Denslowe "Western language":

    Memory flashes
    Wild stallion on desert sands
    Darts behind rocks, Gone


    This haiku has the human character (memory) and nature (stallion, sands, rocks). It also takes the contrast of two usually different things (human memory and a stallion), has an "a-ha!" moment when they become similar to each other (flashes + Gone = fleeting).

    Remember--although the number of syllables should be small, there is still versatility, from between 1 - 3 syllables per line (e.g., the 2-3-1 by OrchestraInside) to even slightly more than 5-7-5, for our purposes here. The D.D. haiku, broken down by syllables (5-7-5):

    _mem- _o- _ry _flash- _es
    _Wild _stal- _lion _on _des- _ert _sands
    _darts _be- _hind _rocks, _Gone
    Last edited by Frankie Jasmine; 12-05-2012 at 09:41 AM.

  22. #20
    Senior Member Frankie Jasmine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VivaPalestina View Post
    I was actually trying a senryu just now on my blog

    Your words
    So like home
    Again
    Very warm senryu, Noor! Thank you, and please post as often as you wish. Well done!

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