The below tips are taken from A Haiku Workshop by Quendryth Young, a free haiku guide to English language haiku.
Guidelines for Writing Haiku
- 1. A haiku captures the essence of a passing moment
- 2. It is written in the present tense, without a full stop
- 3. A haiku generally refers to nature
- 4. A haiku is tightly focused
- 5. It is concise, no more than seventeen syllables, with no minimum
- 6. Juxtaposition compares or contrasts two images
- 7. A haiku generally uses a break (pause) after the first or the second line
- 8. A haiku reports observations experienced through the senses (what is seen, heard, smelt, touched or tasted)
- 9. A haiku uses simple language, (without poetic devices such as simile, rhyme or anthropomorphism)
- 10. Haiku is objective, (without abstractions, judgements or conclusions)
- 11. A haiku leaves something for the reader to ponder
- 12. A haiku poet lives every day with a mind wide open to receive the ‘ahhh’ moment
About Quendryth Young
Australian writer Quendryth Young discovered a passion for haiku in 2004, following a forty-year career as a cytologist. In 2005 she began her ongoing role as the coordinator of Cloudcatchers, a group of haiku poets on the Far North Coast of NSW, and edited the inaugural haiku section of FreeXpresSion (2007–2009).
More than eight hundred of Quendryth’s haiku have been published, and she has received twenty major international awards, including a second in the Mildred Kanterman Memorial Book Award (The Haiku Society of America) in 2008 for her haiku collection The Whole Body Singing, and a Touchstone Award (The Haiku Foundation) in 2010.
If you’d like to learn more about writing English language haiku, Quendryth Young’s haiku guide is available as a free ebook through SSOA.