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Have a Go at Haiku

February 19, 2014

As poet in residence for the Japan Day festival at The Forum, Northallerton, North Yorkshire on the 17th May I would like to invite you to have a go at haiku.
If you would like to participate in this celebration of a traditional form of Japanese poetry send your completed haiku to me by 31st March.
Successful entries will be showcased in the ‘Have a Go at Haiku’ display throughout the day from 11a.m. to 3p.m.
We are looking for poems written in ‘strict’ form i.e. 3 lines of 17 syllables arranged in a 5, 7, 5 syllable count with a shift in the 3rd line.
Once you have written your poem check that it has:
* a seasonal word/theme
* a natural world reference
* plain words (in English)
* two concrete images in juxtaposition
* a break (caesura)making a one and a two-line unit
It should also be:
* un-rhymed
* untitled
* written in the present tense
* readable in one breath
* with a hint of something beyond the poem
Remember to:
* avoid similes, metaphors and adjectives
* place strong words at the end of each line
A useful exercise to inspire you would be to take your notebook for a walk. Write down your observations. Look at things from a different perspective. Make notes of your observations. Experiment with writing haiku.
Check them against the 12 points made above. Put them away and see next week’s post for further revision suggestions and details of where to send polished versions.
More details of what’s happening on Japan Day can be found at


From → Poetry

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