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Haiku Society of America
Educational Resources


An Introduction to Haiku & Senryu for New Haiku & Senryu Poets (pdf)
by Curtis Dunlap

Once you open your “haiku eye”, it never closes. In fact, I dreamed in haiku once and I know of at least one other haiku poet who has dreamed in haiku. The dream was sort of like a musical but without music. Every word spoken, every poet in the dream communicated via haiku! It was a wonderfully pleasant dream. But I digress...

Guidelines for Writing Haibun in English (pdf)
by Margaret Chula

Haiku in Haibun - Moves the story forward. Takes the narrative in another direction. Adds insight or another dimension to the prose. Resolves the conflict in an unpredictable way, or questions the resolution of the prose. Prose is the narrative and haiku is the revelation or the reaction.

Winning Poems from the Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku Competition (one page pdf)
a haiku competition for Grades 7—12, co-sponsored by the Haiku Society of America.

winter night
cracks in the floorboards

Mary Rice, age 16, 2009

Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku Competition Collection (four pages pdf)

The Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku Competition for Grades 7-12 was founded in 1990 by the Sacred Heart Church in Camden, N.J. It is sponsored and administered by the Nick Virgilio Haiku Association in memory of Nicholas A. Virgilio, a charter member of the Haiku Society of America, who died in 1989. The Haiku Society of America co-sponsors the contest, provides judges, and publishes the contest results in its journal, Frogpond, and on its Website (http://www.hsa-haiku.org).

summer cottage
the bullfrog 
slips my grasp

Emily Cornish, Age 15, School of the Arts, Rochester, NY

Thoughts on teaching and learning haiku (pdf)
by Jeannie Martin

Over the past ten years I have been lucky enough to teach haiku in a variety of settings, but always with adults. These are some thoughts I want to share with you, with the hope that they will be useful in your own teaching. Teaching haiku is something like the form itself: direct, immediate, and responsive to time and place. It is not a matter of expert-to-student but instead a participation in the deep sharing of the present moment. Haiku should be and is pleasurable, relaxing, fun, and with any luck at all, people can create a couple of haiku poems pretty much right away that they like and enjoy sharing.

Haiku Workshop Devonian Botanical Garden (pdf)
by Bruce Ross

The following schedule for a full day haiku workshop was facilitated by Bruce Ross at the Devonian Botanical Garden, and extension of the University of Alberta on April 13, 2002. It is oriented to adult learners and coordinated with Bruce Ross’s book How to Haiku, A Writer’s Guide to Haiku and Related Forms (Tuttle, 2002) (HH)). This book would make an excellent source for haiku study and practice, whether in a classroom or workshop format.

Workshop: How-to-Haiku (pdf)
by Tom Painting

Step1: Facilitator distributes 3X5 cards to workshop participants. On one side of the card each participant should write a definition of haiku. On the flip side, each participant writes a question that they would like answered about haiku by the end of the workshop. Participants may choose to either place their name on the card or remain anonymous. Facilitator collects cards, which will be shared with the group at the end of the workshop.

Workshop: Haiku and Imagery (pdf)
by Tom Painting

Haiku is an imagistic poetic form, often relying on an observation through one of the five senses. (One may also wish to add the sense of heat and cold as distinct from the common five: touch, smell, taste, sound and sight). It is the artful juxtaposition of concrete images that make a good haiku; one that is able to delight and surprise.

Workshop: Kigo and Seasonality in Haiku (pdf)
by Tom Painting

Step 1: In general a distinction can be made between haiku and senryu. This point, which should not be belabored is usually established in Workshop 1. Since haiku is most often defined by its association with a particular season (there are five: spring, summer, autumn winter and the New Year) this is a good time to introduce the word kigo and the importance of seasonality.

Workshop: Narrative Thinking (pdf)
by Tom Painting

Focus on a particular topic that will be the subject of a brief narrative. Topics should necessarily deal with concrete images, for example, the moon, crows, candles... etc. Once the topic is assigned, participants write their own stories related to the topic. Writing narrative has the potential to release the rich treasury of personal memory.

Haiku: Lesson Plan for Teachers, Grades 6—12 (pdf)
by anonymous

Read aloud sample poems. Attached is a page of award-winning haiku written by young poets (see Winning Poems from the Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku Competition). If possible, project the poems and have the students take turns reading poems out loud. Read slowly! Ask the students what they notice about the poems. What characteristics or common features do they see? List these common features on the board as the students say them. Fill in any additional features so there will be a list for later use.

Scents and Sensitivity: A Haibun Workshop (pdf)
by Margaret Chula

Smell is a great stimulator of memory. When asked, “What is the single sensual image of Japan,” translator Edward Seidensticker replied, “The smell of mildew.” Poet Ted Kooser says, “I’ve often thought it would be wonderful to have a shoebox full of little vials of the kinds of perfume that women were wearing when I was a little boy. White Shoulders and all those lost perfumes and then I could unscrew one and take a little sniff and travel through time. And apparently it’s a fact that fragrances go directly to the part of the brain that is inaccessible in other ways.”

Scents and Sensitivity: A Haibun Workshop Examples of Haibun Related to the Senses (pdf)
by Margaret Chula

Voices of Stone (Excerpt) - Christopher Herold

At the zendo door, bowing, where the scent of temple incense drifts out into the world. I move slowly to my cushion. Soon we are all in our places, full of anticipation, full of fear, full of determination.

creek sound . . .
a soft mallet bumps three ripples
f rom the big brass bell

Haiku Unit Plan for Secondary Education (linked web site)
by Molly Burns

This secondary education Haiku Unit Plan was developed as a project in Global Haiku Traditions at Millikin Univeristy, taught by Dr. Randy Brooks in Spring 2005.

Overall Description: This two-week unit will cover the basic forms of haiku (both American and Japanese traditions). We will spend a few days looking at various haiku authors, both traditional and temporary and at first simply work on reading and appreciating their haiku. Later in the unit, we will work on writing our own haiku based on images, or in response to what we have read. We will discuss the different types of haiku (senryu, different kinds of links). Students will also have the option of writing a rengay with a partner. Finally, we will conclude the unit with a kukai, in which we will read and appreciate one another's haiku and pick favorites. The winners of this kukai will receive haiku-themed prizes (such as copies of Mayfly or Modern Haiku or copies of books by some of the authors we have studied).

Graceguts (linked web site)
by Michael Dylan Welch

Call this a poetry magazine, if you like. Something authentic and delirious. It has just one main contributor. This is a place for poems, essays, stories, book reviews, and other materials that I've written—plus a few surprises. I’ll add to it organically, focusing on published work. I’ve published thousands of poems, mostly haiku and related genres, as well as hundreds of book reviews and essays, so this site is far from complete, but I hope you enjoy it. Thank you for visiting! —Michael Dylan Welch

Line Dancing (pdf)
by Margaret Chula

Line breaks in Japanese haiku are clearly defined by the 5-7-5 syllabic form. Writers of haiku in English, however, do not necessarily follow this strict count. Although we grant ourselves more liberty to arrange lines and words, we usually follow the short-long-short pattern of three phrases to create a “one breath poem.” How we arrange these lines is part of the art of haiku. Beginners often create a poetic sentence, divide it into three lines and call it haiku. As we become more skillful, however, we begin to pay attention to word choice, sound, rhythm and form. We think about ways that we can use line breaks to our advantage.


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