Poetry 101: Kinds Of Poems – The Haiku

Poetry 101: Kinds Of Poems – The Haiku

We continue our poetry 101 series and explain the haiku – with examples.

Haikus are rather mysterious as far as poems go. At least, I always thought so and because we spent most of last month counting syllables, I thought we could look at Haikus and keep counting – to 17 as it were. Also, because today is International Haiku Day.  Hip-hip-Hooray.

I have always been wary of Haikus and thought them to be very short and odd little things, but after the sonnet I feel like I could attempt one, because I enjoyed the challenge involved with the sonnet.

What do I have to do to write Haiku?

A Haiku typically has three lines and a total of 17 syllables. The syllables are divided as follows:

Line 1: 5 Syllables

Line 2: 7 Syllables

Line 3: 5 Syllables

Much like the couplet of the sonnet there is turning point in the Haiku.

Haikus originated in Japan and it is interesting to note that syllables are counted slightly differently in Japanese so they don’t always translate perfectly.

And as with all creative writing there are many interpretations of the form and the art form has evolved other the years. The goal of the Haiku would be to convey a specific emotion or image and the poems often relate to scenes in nature.


This Haiku by Yosa Buson was translated from Japanese and dates from the 1700s.

Not quite dark yet
and the stars shining
above the withered fields.

And a more recent example by Alisha L Mead, which I think is lovely:

I am over you
Then my eyes meet yours once more
And I fall in love

We’ll be writing a haiku a little later this year. I hope this will help when the time comes.

Happy Haiku Day.

Types Of Poems:

  1. Poetry 101: Kinds Of Poems: The Ballad
  2. Poetry 101: Kinds Of Poems – The Villanelle
  3. Poetry 101: Kinds Of Poems – The Limerick
  4. Poetry 101: Kinds Of Poems – The Haiku
  5. Poetry 101: Kinds Of Poems – Free Verse
  6. Poetry 101: Kinds Of Poems – The Sonnet

General Posts

  1. Poetry 101: What Is A Poem?
  2. Poetry 101: How To Analyse A Poem
  3. Poetry 101: Creating Figurative Language Using Literary Devices
  4. How To Write And Talk About Poetry When You Don’t Have A Clue
  5. 17 Of The Most Powerful Excerpts From Poetry
  6. 15 Reasons To Write Poetry

P.S. If you are taking part in the 12 Poems Challenge, join the group on Facebook: 12 Poems in 12 Months

 by Mia Botha

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Posted on: 17th April 2019

2 thoughts on “Poetry 101: Kinds Of Poems – The Haiku”

  1. Thank you. That seems clear and neatly structured. I liked the structure and puzzle of the sonnet a lot. Might get a little practice in 😉

  2. I never understood the point of haikus and only recently learned that syllables are counted (rather than chanted) which kind of kills the thing when they’re translated (rather like translation killing the rhyme in a verse).
    Seems like haiku month will be a shorter struggle than sonnet month

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