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Haiku v Senryu (1 Viewer)

PiP

Staff member
Co-Owner
I am struggling to understand the difference between Haiku and Senryu. I've been trawling the net for a clear explanation of both (what they are or what they are not with clear examples) so I can differentiate between them.

Any haiku or senryu gurus out there who would be willing to offer some advice on poems in the workshop? And/r can they offer some advice by way of example here, please?
 
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Phil Istine

WF Veterans
I am struggling to understand the difference between Haiku and Senryu. I've been trawling the net for a clear explanation of both (what they are or what they are not with clear examples) so I can differentiate between them.

Any Haiku or Senryu gurus out there who would be willing to offer some advice on poems in the workshop? And/r can they offer some advice by way of example here, please?

Not a guru here :) - and not a definitive point of view
My understanding is that haiku are about nature and senryu are about human nature. I do see the potential for some overlap if human behaviour can be inferred by something that happens in nature.
A lot of senryu are mistakenly referred to as haiku.

Leaving aside the fact that I used the words April and spring, the one below could be either a haiku or a senryu. If read as a senryu, it's a bit racy. It can be read two totally different ways (which is why I wrote it). It's from an old NaPo challenge).

glistening wetness
beautiful April showers​
spring is in the air
 
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PiP

Staff member
Co-Owner
What a clever play on words! LoL

Just focusing on writing Haiku at the moment so digging a little deeper I've just found some easy to follow points on this website.
https://writingcooperative.com/how-to-write-haiku-fa5fe7792661


1.
]A haiku is not usually all one sentence — rather, it is two parts. The easiest way to structure haiku for a beginner is to describe the setting in the first line, then the subject and action in the second and third lines. One line is usually a fragment — often the first line — while the other two lines are one phrase



2.
Written in present tense, haiku is meant to be “in the moment,” taking something ordinary and making it extraordinary.

3.
Poetic devices like metaphor, simile, etc are not used.


4.
Haiku is meant to be simple.

5
Capitalization is not necessary, and punctuation is minimal or not there at all as haiku are meant to feel open, almost unfinished.

6.
The poetry in haiku is created by juxtaposing the two parts to create resonance.


7.
Show; don’t tell. Haiku that merely describe a scene without creating any emotional resonance will be boring

 

Phil Istine

WF Veterans
Excellent work, Carole.
The main surprise for me was in no. 1 "while the other two lines are one phrase".

I always saw the first two lines as building up for a little twist in line 3.
 
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PiP

Staff member
Co-Owner
Excellent work, Carole.
The main surprise for me was in no. 1 "while the other two lines are one phrase".

I always saw the first two lines as building up for a little twist in line 3.

Good point! I think I read on another website they did. I'll do some further research.
 

TL Murphy

Met3 Member
Staff member
Chief Mentor
Most of what English poets write when they think they are writing haiku is actually senryu. Neither haiku or senryu are capitalized. That would be like capitalizing the word “sonnet”.

Haiku has a lot of rules but the main two rules seem to be the use of a seasonal image (not the month or the name of the season, but a reference to the season like “snow” or falling leaves). The second is the “cut” or “kiriji”, which often comes down to a single word where the poem changes direction or flips. The kiriji is the heart of the juxtaposition and usually occurs in the second line but sometimes in the third. Japanese scholars spend years studying kiriji words. Haiku is about nature, senryu is about the human condition and is much looser with rules. Seasonal reference and juxtaposition are not required.

The other myth about haiku is that the syllable count must be 5-7-5, which has become a western genre in its own right, but 17 syllables is not what makes a haiku. Most Japanese haiku are actually shorter than than: 12 -13 syllables instead of 17.
 

PiP

Staff member
Co-Owner
Haiku has a lot of rules but the main two rules seem to be the use of a seasonal image (not the month or the name of the season, but a reference to the season like “snow” or falling leaves).

I was looking for some good examples of haiku and came across this
Robert Oxnam
President Emeritus, Asia Society

Every haiku has two parts to it. It's divided in the middle by what's called a "cutting word". It's a structure that is designed to engage the reader and it permits multiple interpretations to this potent poetic form.

Haiku Poem

kareeda ni
karasu no tomarikeri
aki no kure



on a bare branch
a crow has alighted
autumn evening 2

Haruo Shirane
The kigo, or seasonal word, is very obvious: it's the autumn. And there's what's called a kireji, or cutting word, in the middle and it comes right after "has alighted," "tomarikeri." So we have two parts to what's now called the haiku, but what was then called the hokku. "On a bare branch a crow has alighted" and then there's a break, and the second half is "autumn night fall" or "end of autumn."

Now, the important part about the cut, the kireji, which cuts the two parts of the haiku is that it leaves the poem open for the reader to complete. So, it's like the linked verse. You have one verse, the verse is basically unfinished. The next person has to complete that by adding a verse. The same thing happens within the bounds of the haiku, or the hokku. The two parts are sliced in half and there's an open space which the reader, the audience, is supposed to enter into.
The second is the “cut” or “kiriji”, which often comes down to a single word where the poem changes direction or flips. The kiriji is the heart of the juxtaposition and usually occurs in the second line but sometimes in the third. Japanese scholars spend years studying kiriji words.


~Tim, Please can you give us some examples?





 
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TL Murphy

Met3 Member
Staff member
Chief Mentor
I don't know that specific words are designated as kiriji. I think it's more the relationship between words, i.e. the situation. My understanding is that the kiriji is like the pivot-point where the poem changes direction to ultimately form a paradox. It's interesting what the above passage says about leaving the poem open. That's a different perspective I've not seen before but it makes sense.
 
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rcallaci

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Administrator
Senryu deals primarily with the human condition while Haiku deals with nature. There are many disagreements on what is and is not Senryu. Some consider that haiku concerns itself with nature and Senryu human nature. Others see some human nature poems as haiku. The bulk of Haiku usually combines both human nature with nature. Primarily the big difference between Haiku and Senryu is tone. Senryu deals with political issues, heavy satiric humor and darker themes concerning humanity. The structure 5/7/5 or 17 syllables or less is similar.


Example of Haiku and Senryu: All the poetry in this last section was written by me.

a hug and a kiss-
midmorning sun clear skies and (this is a Haiku)
melting icicles



strangers on a train-
a hundred thousand virgins (this is a Senryu)
unholy jihad


The first piece can be considered haiku –it’s a first impression imprint with a kigo and has a natural feel to it. The second is a little more dark dealing with the baser aspects of human nature.
 
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PiP

Staff member
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Example of Haiku and Senryu: All the poetry in this last section was written by me.

a hug and a kiss-
midmorning sun clear skies and (this is a Haiku)
melting icicles



strangers on a train-
a hundred thousand virgins (this is a Senryu)
unholy jihad


The first piece can be considered haiku –it’s a first impression imprint with a kigo and has a natural feel to it. The second is a little more dark dealing with the baser aspects of human nature.

great explanation, rcallaci. Thanks. I will return to my Senryu studies.
 

TL Murphy

Met3 Member
Staff member
Chief Mentor
I was recently researching the kiriji (or cut word) in haiku. I learned some new things. The haiku, although in 3 lines, is two parts, separated by the kiriji, which in Japanese, is a “cut word”. But the cut word is not possible in the English language. I am not sure why, but they actual cut, or kiriji, in English, is formed with punctuation - a dash or a semi-colon or a comma. The two parts of the haiku form tension or antithesis, or a paradox.
 
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