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We Haiku. Do You?

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By Writing Center Staff

In honor of National Poetry Month, the Walden Writing Center is running a haiku contest. Full details and rules are here:

So . . . what’s a haiku? According to Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary, it is “an unrhymed verse form of Japanese origin having three lines containing usually five, seven, and five syllables respectively.” Because they are so short, haiku usually present just one moment in time. They also tend to focus on the natural world.

Here’s an example:

Toward those short trees
We saw a hawk descending
On a day in spring
– Masaoka Shiki

  1. Say it out loud. I know we give this advice for academic writing, but it works for poetry as well. Haiku are focused on sounds and syllables, so put your ear to the test.
  2. Think small to capture the essence of an experience.
  3. Use imagery. Let the reader see that experience (like the trees and the hawk in the poem above).

Post your haiku on our Facebook page or Tweet @WUWritingCenter by April 29th. We will announce a winner on May 1 and feature that winner on our website. The prize is sort of like a “get out of jail free card”: one appointment to use when the tutoring schedule is full.

We look forward to reading your entries. Happy Poetry Month!

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