“packing your things,” Frogpond 43 (1): Winter 2023.
What does it mean to write haiku in English? How does it look? More importantly, how does it feel? Since its popularization (if you’d call it popular) in English-speaking cultures, haiku has morphed into something beyond the 5-7-5 rules (which is not to say that these rules were all that it ever was). Formalities, it seems, have largely disappeared.
So what is left? I think all that remains is a sensation. But what sort of sensation? It should be self-evident with good haiku (which I don’t pretend to give you here). However, in an attempt to capture it in words, I say that the best definitions of English haiku today describe it as containing the sensation of a momentary pop; a sort of snapping realization of something. While this pop is typically seasonal, it needn’t be. In some sense, haiku today (if not always) transcends seasonal elements to encompass something far greater.
I think good English haiku capture the sensation of presence in our lived experience.
Resources and Reading:
- Higginson, William J. The Haiku Seasons
- Higginson, William J (eds). Haiku World
- Heuvel, Cor van den (eds) . The Haiku Anthology
- Ross, Bruce (eds). Haiku Moment
- Wright, Richard and Julia Wright (ed). Haiku The Last Poets of an American Icon
- Brandi, John and Maloney, Dennis (eds). The Unswept Path
- Kacian, Jim, Rowland, Philip, Burns, Allan, (eds) and Collins, Billy. Haiku in English The First Hundred Years
- Acorn, https://acornhaiku.com/
- Frogpond, https://www.hsa-haiku.org/frogpond/
- Modern Haiku, https://www.modernhaiku.org/