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by Suzette Richards

After reading a comment on a poetry website where the discussion turned to how people learned, it struck me that haiku and photography are akin in technique. A photographer captures the moment without comment. The subject matter which he selected to photograph, says it all - no need for any explanation: the photographer leaves it up to you to appraise his work and get pleasure out of this snapshot of life.

Haiku is also a snapshot of a moment in life. Therefore, choose your words to not only capture the moment, but to enthral the reader. By using few choice words in haiku, one leaves room for the reader to put his own interpretation on the scene which you have described.

With haiku, as in photography, the composition and content is everything. Set the scene and elaborate upon it (the first phrase). Then conclude with what it is that you wish to draw the attention of the reader to - the subject of the haiku. In order to make this punch line stand out, the first phrase is always set in juxtaposition with this second phrase - as in the focal point set against the background in photography.

Haiku is about sensory input, without symbolism and ego (objective). Present your haiku without capital letters and no descriptive words (adjectives) and gerunds (-ing). No title is required. For beginners the 5-7-5 syllable count per line is a good point to start, but the contemporary haiku writers (in English) use far less syllables to get their point across.

"Poetry by other schools is like coloured painting. Poetry of my school (haiku) should be written as if it were black-ink painting." ~Basho

From my article on Let’s Talk Poetry & Prose (my fb page), dated 6 May 2014.

Book: Shattered Sighs