A blog devoted mainly to haiku and senryu and to thoughts about, and inspired by, haiku and senryu.

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Location: New York, New York

Haiku is to poetry as espresso is to coffee.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Toward Definitions: Second Approximation

The 17-syllable, 5-7-5 form remains a live option for haiku poets, but it's only one option. An alternative is the "Who's counting?" option. That is, some haiku poets opt for a free form: Haiku, in this alternative, is a 3-line poem consisting of an indeterminate number of syllables up to a total of 17. The 17-syllable maximum is generally respected, on grounds that, whatever freedom we allow ourselves, we should not abandon the criterion of conciseness embodied in the classical form. Indeed, one of the arguments in favor of free-form haiku is that it works against the practice of including unnecessary words for the sake of the "compulsory" syllable count.

In formal terms, then, haiku will follow either the "classical" 5-7-5 form or the "free" form described above. Well, it's not that simple. Again, what we've said is only an approximation. But we're getting closer.
overheated bus
passengers sleeping
their way to work
brush strokes
expressing abstraction