Why Don’t You Like to Write Haiku?

Through the years, I’ve belonged to various poetry groups. When I’ve mentioned haiku, some really good poets have said they have read it, but have never been inclined to write it.

Some have said that they really don’t think haiku is poetry, but merely a thought. Others have said they find it hard to say something meaningful in just a few words. Still others, when I give them a copy of a haiku journal, say they enjoy reading it, but it doesn’t appeal to them as much as free verse. They don’t even want to try it.

I write formal verse and free verse in addition to some short Japanese forms. In some cases, I believe that you don’t need to write a long poem, when you can say what you need to say in a few words. When I compose a long poem, however, it’s because I like expanding on imagery.

To me, a good poem, whether long or short, is rich in imagery. A poet is an artist who paints a picture with images.

I’ve always disliked reading poetry that tells me something, without showing me. Haiku is a poem that really “shows” the reader something. It isn’t always a pretty image, and there is often a juxtaposition of two images that are seemingly unrelated.

Some general poetry journals that publish “haiku,” are not really publishing haiku. That’s why it’s important to read a haiku journal, and one with a good reputation. I recommend “Frogpond,” the journal of the Haiku Society of America, “bottle rockets,” published in Connecticut, and “Modern Haiku Journal,” published in Santa Fe. They contain genuine haiku.

If you want to publish haiku, you must read a lot of the type of haiku that is being published today. I read haiku at least each week, and I’ve been doing so since 1995, when I began getting it published.

Why don’t you like to write haiku? I’m curious. Your comments will be appreciated.

And, if you read Part One and Part Two of my blog, “Why Do You Write Haiku?”, did the haiku poets inspire you to try it? Did anything they said impress you about it?

Copyright 2011 by Charlotte Digregorio.

About Charlotte Digregorio

I publish books. I have marketed and/or published 55 titles. These books are sold in 46 countries to bookstores, libraries, universities, professional organizations, government agencies, and book clubs. In 2018, I was honored by the Governor of Illinois for my thirty-eight years of accomplishments in the literary arts, and my work to promote and advance the field by educating adults and students alike. I am the author of seven books including: Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All; Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Homes; You Can Be A Columnist; Beginners' Guide to Writing & Selling Quality Features; Your Original Personal Ad; and my latest, Ripples of Air: Poems of Healing. The first four books have been adopted as supplemental texts at universities throughout the U.S., Canada, India, Pakistan, and Catalonia. They are sold in 43 countries, and are displayed in major metropolitan cultural centers. These books have been reviewed, recommended, and praised by hundreds of critics, librarians, and professors worldwide. I am also the author of a poetry collection: "Shadows of Seasons: Selected Haiku and Senryu by Charlotte Digregorio." Two of my books have been Featured Selections of Writer's Digest Book Club. I am regularly interviewed by major print, radio, and television organizations throughout the U.S. I regularly sign books at libraries, chain bookstores, and university bookstores, and do poetry readings at art centers, cafes, tea houses, and galleries. I was recently nominated for two Pushcart Prizes in poetry. I have won fifty-nine poetry awards, writing fourteen poetic forms. My poetry has been translated into eight languages. I do illustrated solo poetry exhibits 365 days a year in libraries, galleries, corporate buildings, hospitals, convention centers, and other venues. My individual poems have been displayed at supermarkets, apparel and wine shops, banks, botanic gardens, restaurants, and on public transit. I have been nominated and listed in "The International Authors and Writers Who's Who" in Cambridge, England and in the "Who's Who In Writers, Editors & Poets U.S./Canada." I hosted my own radio program, "Poetry Beat," on public broadcasting. My poetry has been featured on several library web sites including those of Shreve Memorial Library in Louisiana and Cornell University's Mann Library. My background includes positions as a feature editor and columnist at daily newspapers and as a magazine editor. I have been a public relations director for a non-profit organization. I am self-employed as a public relations/marketing consultant, having served a total of 118 clients in 23 states for the past several decades . In other professional areas, I have been on university faculties, teaching French, Italian, and Writing. I regularly give lectures and workshops on publishing, journalism, publicity, poetry, and creativity to business and professional groups, and at writer's conferences, universities, literary festivals, non-profit organizations, and libraries. I have been a writer-in-residence at universities. There have been about 400 articles written about me in the media. I have served on the Boards of writers and publishers organizations. My positions have included Board Secretary of the Northwest Association of Book Publishers. I served for five years as Midwest Regional Coordinator of The Haiku Society of America, and for two years as its Second Vice President.
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8 Responses to Why Don’t You Like to Write Haiku?

  1. Have toyed with H but the main thing is that I try to write all poetry with same syllabic count say 8, 10 , 13 and such usually 10 to 14 lines so H does force syllabic count which forces a lot more craftsmanship even if free verse.

  2. Like you, I write both free verse and haiku and love both. My free verse friends for the most part don’t like it, say they don’t want to ‘conform to a form’, and most have major misconceptions about haiku, anyway. Only a few also publish haiku and do a good job of it. While my publishing focus has been mainly on free verse, I’ve published both. I find that haiku helps me make my free verse more ‘image driven’. I ‘show’ in my free verse just as haiku is ‘show not tell’. Writing good haiku takes a commitment of time in both reading good haiku, reading about it, and then writing it. I think that’s another consideration. If you haven’t been ‘hooked’ by it, many don’t want to use their time that way, just as I don’t want to commit myself to writing sonnets, yet have a couple of friends who write beautiful ones.

    • Pris, I agree with you completely about how many people have misconceptions about what haiku is. And, like you, I find that being a haikuist helps me be a better poet in other forms. I think we are both lucky to have discovered haiku, and I wish more people would give it a try.

  3. I love to write haiku, but as you said it is difficult. You will either love it or hate it, but taking the time to write them will make you a better writer.

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