Gray Days Inspire Haiku

Adobe Photoshop PDFThe gray days of winter may not be pleasant to look at, but they definitely affect our moods–which can be good for a writer! This season inspires a lot of my haiku, as I am holed up inside.

taking refuge

from torrential rain . . .

gray inside


wooded hills . . .

the evening downpour

fogs distant city lights

The two haiku above were published years ago and reprinted, among hundreds of writers’ poems, in my new book, Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All. Like all haiku, they should allow the reader to feel the emotion and mood of the writer, as I explain in my how-to book.

Let this be a good lesson for you in writing haiku. If the image is something that the reader can’t relate to and only has significance for the writer, it isn’t an effective haiku.

Even if the reader has never experienced a particular image before, can he at least understand how the writer is feeling? That is key. So often, beginning haikuists ask me to look over their haiku, and I find it is a personal image that isn’t developed enough for the reader to understand. They saw an image, maybe a pretty one, that stuck in their minds, but when the reader reads it, it is nothing more than a pretty image. We, as readers, say “so what?” There is no real thought behind it.

Haiku allows the reader to feel an emotion, a mood, without describing too much. It is subtle. The poet doesn’t hammer the reader with the image.

Often, beginners can’t tell whether their image actually says something. This is normal. Until you do a lot of reading of a poetic form, you can’t very well pick up the style points and expression of it.

As with any genre, do your homework about haiku. A good starting point is the Haiku Society of America. I have been a member for more than twenty years, and I now serve as the organization’s Second Vice President. The HSA publishes wonderful journals and anthologies, including Frogpond. Log onto the HSA site,, to learn more.

A great haiku journal is bottle rockets, published by Stanford Forrester in Windsor, CT.  My book mentioned above also contains generous examples of good haiku with detailed analysis. Haiku is flourishing today, written in dozens of languages worldwide. It appeals to people in a fast-paced society for its brevity, much like flash fiction does.

Haiku teaches us to slow down and experience the moments of our lives and to write about them.  Haiku is about our moments, whether happy, sad, fun, or even tragic. But, they aren’t written in a sentimental way, and they come across as being all the more powerful for their subtlety. Haiku are good therapy for readers and writers alike, if they are written well and catch us dead in our tracks from their evocative images.

Copyright 2015 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.
This entry was posted in bottle rockets journal, creative writing, Creativity, Frogpond journal, Haiku, Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All, haiku journals, haiku organizations, Haiku Society of America, Japanese Style Poetry, our life's moments, Poetry, poetry journals, Poets, Short Poems, Stanford Forrester, therapy, writers, writers' therapy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Gray Days Inspire Haiku

  1. Dear Charlotte, Congratulations on your election as the Second Vice President for The Haiku Society of America. Best wishes and thank you, Ellen

  2. Ellen, you are kind, but I was running unopposed! It was either me or no one! I sure enjoy your poetry. Keep writing, always! Hope it’s a good year for you.

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