Posting from A~Lotus

This week I am re-posting a comment left for me on WOWH 
The following text is from Kathy Uyen Nguyen (A~Lotus) and if you would like to read more of her work please visit A~Lotus

Haiku encompasses more than just 5/7/5.  The 5/7/5 works in the Japanese language, not in very many other languages from what I have studied (and I’ve also studied Spanish and French languages).  I am even attempting to try my hand at writing haiku and various of other forms of Japanese form poetry in my native language (Vietnamese) and it does not work in the 5/7/5 form.  In my language sometimes there needs to be 2 words (or more!) as compared to one word in English.  For instance, “dog” in English translates to “con cho” in Vietnamese with diacritical marks.  Now would you call that a haiku if I have more than 5/7/5 if it is written in my own language (which is stemmed from the Chinese and French)?  Or how about other languages that use considerably less syllables?  I for one do not discount either.  I would still call a poem a haiku if it satisfies the basic foundation of being one. If a haiku must be in the pure 5/7/5 form, many budding haiku writers would simply resort to counting their fingers and toes and call their poem “haiku,” which is the case I’ve found on Twitter (as an example).  I must admit that that was how I was when I first heard about the haiku when I was younger.  However, when I studied more about the haiku on my own in my undergraduate studies was when I realized that my creative writing professor too had the 5/7/5 structure in mind.  I disagreed with her.  Now I understand that a haiku should need the kigo, a pivot, and other elements to it thanks to many haiku veterans who have taught me (and I’ve read many of their articles).  A haiku could be stunning as a one-line poem or a two-line instead of 3.  A haiku could still be 5/7/5 so long as it encompasses the elements of what constitutes a haiku.  A haiku could still be a haiku even if it does not adhere to the 5/7/5.  From what I’ve read of a lot of American haiku in English literature anthologies and especially the ones posted on Twitter, they are similar to the American sentences instead (created by Allen Ginsberg). Here is a very thoroughly researched article by Robert D. Wilson on the haiku:  “To Kigo or Not to Kigo“.  I hope this article helps because for me, I think a 5/7/5 haiku is good if it encompasses such crucial elements like the kigo, which I cannot emphasize enough!  Otherwise, people say writing a haiku is too easy–like writing a fortune cookie–, and that is upsetting (like it’s a joke) because they are missing the beauty and heart of writing haiku. Best wishes for your blog! 🙂  Sorry if this is a little too long, but I just thought I’d wave the pretty flag of “elements” for haiku because it seems like so many people forget that.

One Response to Posting from A~Lotus

  1. Thank you for this Kathy! I'm specifically dealing with English language haiku where personally I think one should adhere to the 5-7-5 structure. Like you I started out believing the structure to be "it" and have only recently (this year!) discovered that there is more to haiku than this.

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