Creative Writing | 3 Easy Steps to Write Your Own Haiku!

Hello everyone! This is Ms Velvet and I hope all of you have been doing well! Recently, I have been reading some poems! Yes! Isn’t it intriguing? There are many different types of poetry and you have probably come across some of them without even realising it. I know that some of you might think that poetry is intimidating and I do admit that some poems can be hard to understand. However, reading poems can be fun and is definitely for everyone. One way to enjoy poetry is to find a type that you find interesting, be it a limerick, a cinquain or even free verse. Today, I’m going to share with you about a personal favourite of mine. It’s called haiku.


What is A Haiku?

A haiku is a Japanese-style poem that is typically about the appreciation of nature. It was first developed as the first stanza of a larger Japanese poem-type called renga. Over time, it is written as a standalone poem as writers start to prefer composing shorter poetry. Although this form of poetry first emerged in the 17th century, it was only known by the name ‘haiku’ in the 19th century.

The following haiku is taken from one of the most famous works of Japanese classical literature. It is called ‘Oku no Hosomichi’ (‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North’), a travel diary written in both prose and verse by Matsuo Basho. You can see his portrait here.

Write your own haiku

kusa no to mo sumikawaru yo zo
hina no ie

(translated into English by Donald Keene)

Even a thatched hut
May change with a new owner
Into a doll’s house.

 

 

Portrait of Matsuo Basho from “Hokusai Manga”, by Katsushika Hokusai

What do you think the poet was trying to convey? For me, I would say that the poem is about how things change over time and that nothing lasts forever. Something that was owned by someone previously can be transformed into something else entirely when it is owned by another person later, just like the way a thatched hut could become transformed into a doll’s house when the new owner takes over. There is also an underlying sense of optimism that comes with change, as something as basic or common as a thatched hut can transform into something more festive like a house for dolls.

Isn’t the haiku rather impressive? In just a few words, it conveys so much wisdom and ideas!

Now, let’s look at the structure of the haiku. For simplicity’s sake, we will analyse the English version:

Even a thatched hut
May change with a new owner
Into a doll’s house.

Notice how a haiku has three lines that do not rhyme. Let’s break it down into the number of syllables per line:

E// ven// a// thatched// hut// —— 5 syllables
May// change// with// a// new// o// wner// ——
7 syllables
In// to// a// doll’s// house.// ——
5 syllables

As you can see from the example above, it follows a fixed syllable pattern for each line: 5 – 7 – 5. This is very distinctive of a haiku and the form must be maintained. Traditionally, a haiku is often focused on images from nature but you can write on any topic that interests you for a start.

Now that you have the know-hows, let’s try creating your own haikus! Take a look at mine below:

Now that you have learnt (5)
How to make a cool haiku (7)
Let us see your works! (5)


How to Write A Haiku in 3 Easy Steps:

 

Haiku

1. Choose a topic
Do you have a topic you feel strongly about? You can choose to write about that. Or you can choose to write about ordinary or common topics like pets or food. You can even write a haiku about your favourite person (hint: Father’s Day is fast approaching!).

2. Brainstorm words related to the topic
Now that you have a topic, think of words and phrases associated with it. Use the 5W1H questions to help you generate more ideas! For instance, if I am going to write about my father, I will probably use these questions to help me think about how he is like as a person (kind, funny), what he likes to do in his spare time (watching football, playing board games) and why he is my favourite person (gives great advice, listens patiently).

3. Put the ideas together
Using the structure that you have learnt, you are now ready to write your own haiku! Remember, you do not need to use all the words/phrases you have brainstormed earlier. The main thing is to let the words flow and have fun while doing so! My haiku would probably look something like this:

Loves playing board games
His laughter is infectious
A listening ear

You can make as many changes as necessary to your haiku. Once you are satisfied with the final draft, share it with your friends and family. It might even inspire them to write their own!

Haiku

 

I hope that this post has shown you how writing a haiku can be a fun activity and that poetry is something that everyone can enjoy. Share with us your haikus in the comments section below. I can’t wait to read them!

Ms. Velvet

As a teacher, Ms Velvet believes in sharing her love for reading to her students and encouraging them to be confident speakers. Therefore, she incorporates lively discussions on meaningful topics in her lessons to impart knowledge to her students. She believes that in order to do well, one needs to be interested in learning, so she ensures that her lessons are meaningful and thought-provoking so that students can learn earnestly.

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