Monday, April 11, 2016

Haiku A to Z: I is for Imagery and Ideas

across the road 2014
"The most important characteristic of haiku is how it conveys, through implication and suggestion, a moment of keen perception and perhaps insight into nature or human nature. Haiku does not state this insight, however, but implies it. In the last hundred years--in Japanese and English-language haiku--implication has been achieved most successfully through the use of objective imagery." --Michael Dylan Welch, Becoming a Haiku Poet

Characteristics of haiku: implication and suggestion, a moment of keen perception, perhaps insight into nature, yes. Achieved most successfully through the use of objective imagery, yes. Haiku is a beautiful medium that offers so much in so few words.

But what is the one thing that comes first? Why, the idea! 

Where might the idea come from? Tom Painting (here) suggests three possibilities: 1. memory; 2. imagination; 3. the 'here-and-now.' I'd add a #4: inspiration. And for me, inspiration often comes on walks or through photography. For others it might mean being around people, listening to music, reflecting on a good book (or even, as we found out in the last two A-Z days, grammar and history).

No matter the source of our inspiration, there's one more element (another 'i'-word) to fit into the equation: intentionality. If we want to write haiku (or any form of writing) we must choose to actually write. It was after I set a goal of writing two haiku a week that poems began to come. I might not have known what I was doing, but at least it was a start--only because I was intentional.

Having said all of that, I offer this invitation to my Day Nine Haiku:

ice rinks fall through night,
snow-laces freeze and tangle...
dodge 'em cars skate past
--Kenda Turner


  1. Gorgeous photo. Inspiration comes to me too, when I'm walking. Just look at the clouds, the birds, the trees and flowers. Even though I don't write poetry, the beauty around me helps me untangle places in a story where I'm having trouble. I guess nature relaxes me so my thoughts can straighten out my confusion. Love your Haiku.

  2. Beverly, glad to know you like your walks, too :-) There's just something about being outside that helps clear the mind and kick-start ideas or, as you say, untangle a problem in a story. Enjoy your next walk out there!

  3. Okay, I don't know a lot about haiku, but this one I can't resist:

    Your invitation
    brings my inspiration ... and
    our conversation.

    Title it: Kenda's blog.

  4. Peggy, I love it! You are the creative one :-) And I do enjoy our 'conversations.' One of these days we have to get together in real time! Thanks for your support...