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How to Write a Haiku

Create a Japanese-style nature poem by following these steps.


  • Step 1: Study Japanese haiku Familiarize yourself with haiku translated from the Japanese. One of the most famous Japanese haiku poems, by Matsuo Basho, is translated into English as "old pond / a frog jumps in / sound of water."
  • TIP: English-language haiku are usually written in three lines. The first line has five syllables, the second has seven, and the third has five.
  • Step 2: Select a season Select a season to write about. Your haiku must include one word that evokes nature during this season.
  • Step 3: Select two images Select two images that appeal to the senses for the first two lines of the poem. The images can be rooted in the immediate present, in memory, or in fantasy.
  • Step 4: Add a third line Add a third line that connects the images in the first two lines in a new and surprising way. The third line of Basho's poem evokes surprise by the frog jumping into the water.
  • FACT: Computer programs have been written that generate haiku out of random words.

You Will Need

  • A collection of Japanese haiku
  • A season word
  • Two sensory images
  • A surprise ending

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