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HISTORY OF HAIKU <ul><li>In Japan in the 15th century, a poetic form named "renga" blossomed. </li></ul><ul><li>Renga is a poem several poets create cooperatively. Members alternately add verses of 17 syllables (5, 7, and 5 syllables) and those of 14 syllables (7 and 7 syllables), until they complete a poem generally composed of 100 verses. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Renga was an dignified academic poem. Members were traditionally demanded to present their verses following the medieval aesthetics and quoting the classics. </li></ul><ul><li>In the 16th century, instead of renga, it was haikai - humorous poem - that became popular. Haikai (haikai-renga) is a poem made of verses of 17 and 14 syllables like renga, but it parodies renga introducing modern vulgar laughter. Haikai poets used plays on words and treated preferably things of daily life renga hadn't found interesting. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The first verse of renga and haikai is called "hokku". Haikai poets sometimes presented their hokkus as independent poems. These were the origin of haiku. </li></ul><ul><li>It was traditionally demanded to adopt a kigo (season word: word reffering to a season) in the first verse of renga and haikai. Therefore, they demand to introduce a kigo in a hokku (and in a haiku) too. </li></ul><ul><li>Cutting (punctuation marks) -, …, or word </li></ul><ul><li>Pivot (changes or turns the direction of the poem) </li></ul>
What is Haiku? <ul><li>Haiku is one of the most important form of traditional Japanese poetry. Haiku is, today, a 17-syllable verse form consisting of three metrical units of 5, 7, and 5 syllables. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Since early days, there has been confusion between the three related terms Haiku, Hokku and Haikai. </li></ul><ul><li>The term hokku literally means "starting verse", and was the first starting link of a much longer chain of verses known as haika. </li></ul><ul><li>Because the hokku set the tone for the rest of the poetic chain, it enjoyed a privileged position in haikai poetry, and it was not uncommon for a poet to compose a hokku by itself without following up with the rest of the chain. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Largely through the efforts of Masaoka Shiki, this independence was formally established in the 1890s through the creation of the term haiku. This new form of poetry was to be written, read and understood as an independent poem, complete in itself, rather than part of a longer chain. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Strictly speaking, then, the history of haiku begins only in the last years of the 19th century. The famous verses of such Edo-period (1600-1868) masters as Basho, Yosa Buson , and Kobayashi Issa are properly referred to as hokku and must be placed in the perspective of the history of haikai even though they are now generally read as independent haiku. In HAIKU for PEOPLE, both terms will be treated equally! The distinction between hokku and haiku can be handled by using the terms Classical Haiku and Modern Haiku. </li></ul>
Modern Haiku <ul><li>The history of the modern haiku dates from Masaoka Shiki's reform , begun in 1892, which established haiku as a new independent poetic form. </li></ul><ul><li>Shiki's reform did not change two traditional elements of haiku: the division of 17 syllables into three groups of 5, 7, and 5 syllables and the inclusion of a seasonal theme. </li></ul>
Shiki was a strong advocate of modernization of Japanese poetry, even coining the terms " haiku " (replacing hokku ) and " tanka " (replacing waka ).
<ul><li>Kawahigashi Hekigoto carried Shiki's reform further with two proposals: </li></ul><ul><li>Haiku would be truer to reality if there were no center of interest in it. </li></ul><ul><li>The importance of the poet's first impression, just as it was, of subjects taken from daily life, and of local color to create freshness. </li></ul>
Francisco “Balagtas” Baltazar <ul><li>"Prince of Tagalog Poets." </li></ul><ul><li>Florante at Laura </li></ul><ul><li>"Balagtasan“ </li></ul><ul><li>"King of Filipino Poetry" </li></ul>
How to write Haiku <ul><li>In Japanese, the rules for how to write Haiku are clear, and will not be discussed here. In foreign languages, there exist NO consensus in how to write Haiku-poems. Anyway, let's take a look at the basic knowledge: </li></ul>
<ul><li>What to write about? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Haiku-poems can describe almost anything, but you seldom find themes which are too complicated for normal PEOPLE's recognition and understanding. Some of the most thrilling Haiku-poems describe daily situations in a way that gives the reader a brand new experience of a well-known situation. </li></ul></ul>
<ul><li>The metrical pattern of Haiku </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Haiku-poems consist of respectively 5, 7 and 5 syllables in three units. In japanese, this convention is a must, but in english, which has variation in the length of syllables, this can sometimes be difficult. </li></ul></ul>
<ul><li>The technique of cutting </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The cutting divides the Haiku into two parts, with a certain imaginative distance between the two sections, but the two sections must remain, to a degree, independent of each other. Both sections must enrich the understanding of the other. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To make this cutting in english, either the first or the second line ends normally with a colon, long dash or ellipsis. </li></ul></ul>
<ul><li>The seasonal theme </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Each Haiku must contain a kigo , a season word, which indicate in which season the Haiku is set. For example, cherry blossoms indicate spring, snow indicate winter, and mosquitoes indicate summer, but the season word isn't always that obvious. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Please notice that Haiku-poems are written under different rules and in many languages. For translated Haiku-poems, the translator must decide whether he should obey the rules strictly, or if he should present the exact essence of the Haiku. For Haiku-poems originally written in English, the poet should be more careful. These are the difficulties, and the pleasure of Haiku. </li></ul></ul>
<ul><ul><li>old pond! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a frog jumps in- </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the sound of water </li></ul></ul>The best known Japanese haiku is Bashō's "old pond" haiku:
Basho , Matsuo . (1644-1694) <ul><li>The name Basho (banana tree) he adopted the name around 1681 after moving into a hut with a banana tree alongside. He was called Kinsaku in childhood and Matsuo Munefusa in his later days. </li></ul><ul><li>Basho's father was a low-ranking samurai from the Iga Province. To be a samurai, Basho serviced for the local lord Todo Yoshitada (Sengin). Since Yoshitada was fond of writing haikai , Basho began writing poetry under the name Sobo. </li></ul>
<ul><li>During the years, Basho made many travels through Japan, and one of the most famous is when he went to the north, where he wrote Oku No Hosomichi (1694). On his last trip, he died in Osaka, and his last haiku indicates that he was still thinking of traveling and writing poetry as he lay dying: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fallen sick on a journey, In dreams I run wildly Over a withered moor. </li></ul></ul>
Here’s an exercise that you can try on your own to help you deepen your understanding of the art of haiku.
Awaken to the current season and its imagery Goal
Writing Exercise : <ul><li>Take a walk. Notice the natural world around you and those things that are associated with the current season. For example, if it is winter, look deeply at the ice crystals on your gloves, or listen to the sound that your boots make on the stone steps. Observe and allow yourself to be moved. Sit down and write down some of the images you observed on your walk. Don't just describe the images, feel them. </li></ul>
Format: <ul><li>Write three haiku in a traditional Japanese format (17 syllables 5-7-5). Then try rewriting the same three poems in 12 or 13 syllables. Which effort produced the better poems? </li></ul>
Remember: <ul><li>Use simple, direct language and words that evoke a season. Try to incorporate a cutting or pivot word so that the halves of your haiku seem to speak to each other. </li></ul>