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An Introduction to Haiku - What is a Senryu?

Geplaatst op 29 januari, 2020 om 3:50

What is a Senryū?


When haiku are above all about human nature, they are called Senryū. Senryū generally don’t use season words. They are often cynical or darkly humorous.


table for one—

the waiter offers me

a gossip magazine


—Corine Timmer


First published in FemkuMag, issue 15, August 2019


There is no season word in the above poem and it is cynical and darkly humorous. That makes it a Senryū.



town undertaker—

seeing more and more

of his old friends


—Barry George, Philadelphia, PA


Honorable Mention in the 2019 Gerald Brady Memorial Senryu Award


wedding day

the time he takes

to knot the tie


—Marylyn Appl Walker


Second prize in the 2013 Gerald Brady Memorial Senryu Award



a stick of candyfloss

a child’s face!


—John Gonzalez


In the Lantern Light, haiku and Senryū by John Gonzalez, published by Alba Publishing, 2016


If you have enjoyed this introductory series and want to compose haiku yourself, please don’t be put off by the rules. Intuition and spontaneity play a large role in haiku. Tap into your inner child and use your senses. Perfecting your haiku is a process. It requires practice and time. But we start with the inspiration. The inspiration is the core.


If you are a beginner, you can (don´t have to) start with:


  1. A 5-7-5 syllable format.
  2. Choose a season or seasonal word (there are lists online) or just step outside.
  3. Focus on a moment in time (the here-and-now). Haiku are written in the present tense. Remember that camera? Where are you? What’s happening? What´s catching your attention? What can you see, hear, taste, smell, touch?
  4. Think of yin and yang (opposites).
  5. Introduce a surprise (cut the poem into two parts, two visuals).
  6. Does your poem resonate (1+1=3)?


In February it’s time for NaHaiWriMo (National Haiku Writing Month) again. One haiku a day during the shortest month of the year. This happens on the NaHaiWriMo Facebook page. Michael Dylan Welch posts a daily prompt and anyone can participate and post their haiku on the visitors page. This will be my fourth year as a participant. It’s a good place to start. Michael Dylan Welch is the founder. He is also an haiku expert. His website is a treasure trove for haiku fans.


Another good place to find out more about haiku is The Haiku Foundation, founded and directed by Jim Kacian


Many countries have a haiku society. I am a member of the British and American haiku societies:


The Haiku International Association in Japan


Bye for now. Have fun!




Categorieën: haiku

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