WHAT IS A HAIKU?
A haiku is a type of short-form poetry that originated in Japan. These poems traditionally contain 17 total syllables in three lines. Line one is 5 syllables, line two is 7 syllables, and line three is 5 syllables. However, this contest does not require that authors strictly follow the traditional form. We do recommend that any poem submitted contain less than 20 syllables with a short/long/short arrangement.
Haiku are traditionally nature-based and often follow a seasonal theme. They do not rhyme. Juxtaposition is an essential element of this form of poetry: haiku may closely connect two contrasting images or compare unexpected similarities.
Haiku also employ a “cutting word,” known as a kireji in Japanese. This is a word that provides a verbal punctuation mark separating the juxtaposed images. There is no English equivalent to a kireji so English writers sometimes use a dash or another form of punctuation to create a break or pause that gives readers a chance to reflect on the connection between the two parts.
For examples of Haiku, click here. For reference on additional guidelines regarding the “art of haiku,” click here.