Friday, January 28, 2011

The Modern Haiku

Let me rant about haikus for a moment.

I feel like haikus are a bastardized poetic form, often usurped and violated by uncreative creative writers who want to make their words seem more significant than they actually are. Now before I continue, let me say that I do respect the haiku as a form; the source of my irritation lies with the people who misuse it.

Since the haiku is so short, it makes people feel like they don’t have to put much thought into their work, when writers with more experience and more integrity realize that a shorter form requires more concise words, not less thought-out ideas. People somehow think that restricting the number of syllables in their sentences automatically imbues their writing with a poetic quality, often arbitrarily choosing words in order to fit the structure and wrecking any decent intention they may have had.

“I wrote a poem! It’s a haiku.” I hear this and shudder. I’ve seen a share of acceptably written haikus in my time, but the vast majority (especially from adolescents and young adults) are uninspired, insignificantly constructed, and for lack of a better word, offensive toward an otherwise delicate and majestic art form.

Let me punctuate my argument with a satirical piece of hypocrisy:

Just because you count
Syllables, it doesn’t make
You a damn poet.


  1. Well, I like Haiku. I think the form translates some what poorly to English, but it can be fun working within strict parameters sometimes. I've taught haiku to 6th graders before too and everyone had fun (: Here's one I wrote:

    A duck among goose,
    eating and flying with them.
    Is it a real duck?

  2. Haikus can be awesome! I was introduced to them as a kid, and they really helped me start developing a sense for syllabic rhythms and linguistic expression. What I don't like is older kids and young adults using them as a shortcut for their otherwise bullshit writing to have meaning.

  3. as I lay, slowly
    my thoughts and words turn to math
    god, I am a nerd.

    I made that one in algebra class about 7 years ago.

  4. People with no sense for what art really is ruin it. All. The. Time. I can get quite irritated by this myself. People being all like "LOOK WHAT I MADE", and then I just ask them if they think it's art. Answer? "Uhm..."

  5. Agreed, I like haikus but they can be absolutely horrendous sometimes. Some people just cram the right amount of syllables in and think they're awesome poets for that feat alone.

    Anyway, jumping on the bandwagon and adding a bad haiku I came up with right now:

    A tax return comes
    I will buy Cataclysm
    Fat nerd mode engaged

  6. i really like reading haikus but for me my love for it should just stay there.

  7. count my syllables
    i am now a great poet
    just kidding ha ha


  8. I'm not very poetry-savy, but I enjoy reading it. Followed.

  9. reading these comments
    is fucking hilarious
    i could laugh all day

    anyways cool blog, ill follow and support!

  10. I apologize personally, and vow to think much harder about my haikus next time.