Haiku: Poetry Column

Introducing the poetic style of haiku, a Japanese form of short poems, expressing emotions through metaphorical representation of natural phenomena.

Nov 29, 2023

![Image description: Illustration of a hand holding a stylus over a sheet of paper, with many more sheets and books in the background. End ID]( 2611.png)
Haiku poetry is one of the many successful cultural exports from Japan. This style of poetry has recently gained popularity internationally and is no longer written only in its native Japanese language. Haikus are characterized by their short length and very strict rules of writing. Even though rhyming is not usually the point of writing haiku, the poeticness of these short pieces comes from the sense of rhythm. In order to achieve the particular haiku form and rhythm, poets count the number of syllables in a line of text. The most popular format of haiku is the 5-7-5 haiku, where the first and last line of the poem have five syllables and the middle line – seven. The themes in haiku are usually about natural phenomena and propose a metaphorical reading of the change of season, the weather, or the lives of animals.
Some of the most prominent Japanese poets who specialized in haiku are Basho (17th century), who is also credited as the father of the modern haiku format, Buson and Issa in the 18th century, and Masaoka Shiki, Takahama Kyoshi and Kawahigashi Hekigoto in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Inspired by these masters of haiku, millions of Japanese people have engaged in writing haiku in the present day.
This poetic form was first adapted by poets in Europe and North America in the 20th century because of the movement of the imagists and naturalists. Today, haiku is still practiced with much reverence to the traditional form. As you will see from the haiku masters on the NYU Abu Dhabi campus, these short poems can be a meditative practice and a reflection of one’s emotions and reality.
Tiesta Dangwal: November Rain
November rain falls—
I observe my reflection,
shift in a puddle.
Dina Damouri: Amidst the Night
In the wilderness of thought
Comes a rushing breeze —
A nudge of sunny days.
Dina Damouri: In a Different World
The sun would end the night
Days given crickets
And weathers a reason to live.
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