A few rules.
Haiku follows very strict and complexs rules (form and context).
Here there are rules found in the Jane Reichhold's article : http://www.faximum.com/aha.d/haiku.htm annotated by Ryu Yotsuya.
We have to choose a maximum of rules depending of the context, but the major rule is to not break images.
A note with a "# " the rules I try to respect. In practice, everyone make his/her style that is more or less far from the classical haiku.
Seventeen syllables in one line. (japanese haiku especilally)
In Japanese, haiku is quite always written in one line. Shigenobu Takayanagi and his group only have try to write haiku en multiples lines. When Japanese artistically write haiku on a shikishi (square paper), they divide it in many lignes; but only for the appearance. In translations, Japanese haiku are printed in three lines, because this way helps to express the subtil nuance of the caesura, hard to show in one line in another language than Japanese.
# Seventeen syllables in three lines.(haiku in other languages especially).
# Seventeen syllables in three lines divided in 5-7-5. 3-5-3 in English.
Less than seventeen syllables written in three lines in a form short-long-short
Less than seventeen syllables written in three vertical lines in a form short-long-short.
Write what can be said in one breath.
# Use of a season word (kigo) or a seasonal reference. (an insertion in the world)
# Use a caesura at the end of either the fisrt or second line. The three lines not in a single sentence.
Have two images that are only comparative when illuminated by the third.
Have two images that are only associative when illuminated by the third.
Have two images that are only in contrast when illuminated by the third image.
Classically there are two kinds of haiku, in Basho's time and today :
- haiku with two images (juxtaposition haiku)
- haiku wih only one image
# Always write in the present tense, here and now.. One can also write at the past or future tense but, what is important is to show a vivid image. It is better acheived when writing at the present tense..
Limited use (or non-use) of personal pronouns.
Use of personal pronouns written in the lower case.
# Eliminating all the possible uses of gerunds (ing endings on wording). Only for languages other than Japanese, gerunds doesn't exist in Japanese.
# Eliminating the use of articles. For languages other than Japanese, articles doesn't exist in Japanese.
# Use of common sentence syntax in both phrases..
# Use of sentence fragments.
Study the order in which images are presented.
- First the wide-angle view, medum range and zoomed in close-up
- Save the "punch line" for the end line.
Work to find the most fascinating and eye-catching first lines.
# Just write about ordinary things in an ordinary way using ordinary language.
# Respect the buddhist attitude, to observe things far before criticize them, let your haiku express the wordless way of making images. No need of comment..
Place a philosphical echo in background of the haiku.
# Use only concrete images. That the Shiki's idea. But Basho and other haikists used also abstract expressions.
# Invent lyrical expression for th eimage.
Use of paradox.
Use puns and word plays
# Write of impossible in an ordinary way.
# Use of lofty or uplifting images (no war, blatant sex, or crime).
# Telling it as it is in the real world around us
# Avoid all reference to yourself in the haiku.
# Refer to yourself obliquely as the poet, this old man, or with a personal pronoun..
# Use no punctuation for ambuguity
Use all normal sentence punctuation
- : Full stop
- ; a half stop or pause
- ... something left unsaid
- , a slight pause
- -- saying the same thing in other words
- . Full stop
Capitalize the first word of every line.
Capitalize the first word.
Capitalize proper names according English rules.
# All words in lower case.
# Avoid rhymes.
Rhymelast words in the first and last lines..
Use rhymes in other places within the haiku.Use
# Use of words' sounds to echo feeling.
Always end the haiku with a noun.
# Write only haiku to descrbe an epiphany ( the ah-ha moment).
# Use any inspiration as starting point to developpe and write haiku.
# Avoid too many (or all) verbs.
# Cut out prepositions (in, out, at, among), whenever possible; especilally in the short 1/3 phrase.
# Eliminate adverbs.
# Don't use more than one modifier per noun This use should be limited to the absolute sens of the haiku.
# Treat the haiku like poetry; it's not a greeting card verse.
# Write down every haiku that comes to you. Even the bad ones. It may inspire the next one which will surely be better.