I view haiku as a genre with its own historical traditions, and I reject the view of haiku as a poetic form consisting of five-seven-five syllables. As with most genres, haiku come in a wide variety of forms including one line, visual, three line, two line, four line, free-form, syllabic form and so forth. Japanese haiku are written as a single line, straight down. The essential element of form in English-language haiku is that each haiku is a short one-breath poem that usually contains a juxtaposition of images.

Haiku capture moments of being alive conveyed through sensory images. They do not explain nor describe nor provide philosophical or political commentary. Haiku are gifts of the here and now, deliberately incomplete so that the reader can enter into the haiku moment and experience the feelings of that moment for his or her self.

Warrensburg-Latham Middle School
sixth grade students writing project

 November 1998
©1998 Brooks Books

Randy M. Brooks, Ph.D.
workshop leader & editor