Haiku & Senryu: Write Them Right

I see people struggle with writing haiku and senryu each day, posting what they write on Facebook, Twitter, or on their own blog sites. Haiku and senryu are short forms of poetry– yes poetry, not just random thoughts. Haiku and senryu are usually about one to four lines. Haiku focuses on nature images, while senryu focuses on human nature and is often humorous. The two forms capture the moments of our lives, good and bad.

For those who’ve been reading my blog over a period of time, you will notice that I have run  features about haiku and senryu, interviewed haiku/senryu poets, and have even written reviews about haiku/senryu collections.

Apart from my blog, I have given many workshops on haiku/senryu at writer’s conferences around the country, am a regular speaker  at libraries, and I also do haiku and senryu exhibits. I have two upcoming exhibits of haiku/senryu, one at a corporate gallery and another at a library, through early next year. The next one will be from July 8 through Sept. 30, at Meet Chicago Northwest, the Greater Woodfield  Convention and Visitors Bureau, in Schaumburg, IL. The subsequent one will be from Oct. 1, 2016 through Jan. 7, 2017 at Rolling Meadows (IL) Library.

I firmly believe that anyone can learn to write effective haiku and senryu if they focus on these two forms as being evocative, and on making their images impact the reader to the extent of feeling emotion.  Those who aspire to writing haiku and senryu should be mindful of reading good haiku and senryu on a daily basis. That’s why I run The Daily Haiku on my blog. If you read through the archives, you should begin to see that these poems aren’t just random thoughts.

It’s sometimes overwhelming to me how many people have tweeted  their haiku and senryu on a daily basis for a few years, not knowing  what they are. Because haiku and senryu are so brief, many mistakenly think that any thought they dash off constitutes  either one or the other. Back in 1994, my first attempts at haiku and senryu were atrocious until I started getting them rejected and realized I needed to start reading the two forms regularly to really catch on. Back then, we didn’t have access to free online haiku journals, so I spent a fair amount of money subscribing to five print journals every year. (I have never thrown away any of the haiku journals I’ve subscribed to through the years, so I have bookshelves of them in practically every room at home, including my kitchen.)

Postings of ineffective haiku and senryu are counterproductive to the efforts of those who try to educate the public on the true nature of the two forms. Those who really want to learn haiku and senryu should read good examples of them daily to catch on.

People often ask if they can submit their haiku to me for inclusion on The Daily Haiku. I don’t call for public submissions, simply because I like to maintain quality control. Many people who send me their haiku and senryu don’t understand what it is, and their examples wouldn’t be helpful to the people who want to really learn it.

Realize that poetry is poetry. That is, poems are both thoughtful and imagistic. If something is thoughtful, you have to really think about it in order to appreciate it.  Ramblings are rarely thoughtful. When I read  haiku and senryu, if they are written well and representative of the two forms, they make me stop and think. They are like a puzzle, calling to me to contemplate their full meaning.

If you read something trite, and your reaction is “so what,” it’s not a haiku or senryu.

Finally, if you want to delve deep into haiku and senryu to learn everything you need to know to write them with thought and effectiveness, you can read my book, Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All. And, tell me what you think of it. I would appreciate your comments. Did it help you?Adobe Photoshop PDF


Copyright 2016 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. I recently received an Official Commendation from Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner 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 five non-fiction books: 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; and Your Original Personal Ad. 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." 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 a Pushcart Prize in poetry. I have won forty-seven poetry awards, writing twelve 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 Appreciating Haiku, Appreciating nature, Appreciating Poetry, Beginning Poets, Charlotte Digregorio, creative writng, Daily Haiku, Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All, Haiku Book, Haiku Events, Haiku Exhibit, Haiku Poets, Haiku Workshops, human nature poems, Humorous Poems, imagistic poetry, Japanese-style poetry, Language Arts, literacy, micropoetry, nature poems, Poetry, Reading Haiku, Reading Senryu, Senryu, Writing Haiku, Writing Poety, Writing Senryu and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Haiku & Senryu: Write Them Right

  1. Susan Furst says:

    Hi Charlotte,
    I read your blog everyday. I love haiku and have been writing it since November. I replied to your email but realized you may not get it, so I am commenting here. I have taken to haiku quickly and I have many books both poetry and theory, including your excellent book. I have started a haiku group at my church and have used your book to help me teach. The problem is, as you know haiku is much more than 5/7/5, and I have a great desire to learn more. I am teaching myself through reading haiku and haiku poets, (I love Mike Dillon), and other books including “Disjunctive Dragonfly,” which is fascinating. The problem is that in order to grow you need real person, haiku literate feedback. I am amazed at well established journals and editors who really do not understand haiku. I have joined the hsa, but have not been able to connect with any groups, I am also limited in my travel abilities. I have taken classes with Marc Olmsted and Barbara Henning on writers.com, which is an excellent site and will probably do more. My question is, can I submit my haiku for consideration on your blog since I am an hsa member, and how would I do that? I am in the process of submitting to some journals, and I have a linked haiku of my holocaust poetry coming out in the fall, in Voices Israel Anthology. I was also published online at The Poetry Super Highway as Poet of the Week for the week of December 14, 2015. It is in the archives. The three haiku entitled The Oyster House Trilogy, (I know haiku do not have titles), were some of my first from Mark’s class. I will also have a poem published in the Frogpond 2016 anthology, although they publish you just because you are a member, so I’m not sure if that really counts. I have not found any consistent quality haiku sites online to submit to. I am continuing to write and revise and I have quite a list, but it is quality not quantity. I long to interact with other haiku poets who “get it.” Thanks for reading this.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s