Haiku Society of America Educational Resources - for Haiku Writers

Haiku Society of America Educational Resources

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Educational Resources for Haiku Writers

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Introductory Workshops

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

This blog post comes with a warning: 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 . . .

So, what are haiku? In a nutshell, haiku are one-breath poems; they are picture poems. The haiku poet uses words to paint a picture without adding personal thought or feelings to the poem. In haiku the poet must “show, don’t tell”. Strong haiku can evoke an emotional response in the reader, an extraordinarily wonderful thing to experience when reading these concise poems . . .


Writing Haiku Guide (pdf)
by Jay Friedenberg

Compiled from a variety of resources. Here is an excerpt:

Five Elements a Haiku Writer Must Addresss: 1. Form. 2. Season. 3. A particular event in the present tense. 4. The “cut” or caesura. 5. Internal comparison.


How Form Deepens Meaning in English-Language Haiku (pdf)
by Patricia J. Machmiller

Imagine you own a precious unset jewel. How would you store it? Would you toss it on top of your dresser? Or drop it in a desk drawer? Or plop it on a mantel to gather dust? To preserve it in a way commensurate with its value you might, instead, consider commissioning a specially carved wooden box with a fitted lid that closes snugly so that you can feel the care that has been taken to construct the box, care that speaks to the preciousness of the stone inside.

You could think of form in relationship to haiku that way — as a container in which to store your words. On the one hand, that box might be no more than a showy but unnecessary accessory. On the other hand, form can work as more than a mere "container". It can become an integral part of the haiku, supporting, reinforcing, and amplifying meaning just as the setting of a jewel becomes part of a brooch or ring . . .


How to Lead a Workshop (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 . . .


Thoughts on Teaching 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 . . .


A Haiku Workshop (pdf)
by Quendryth Young

Australian writer Quendryth Young discovered a passion for haiku in 2004, following a forty-year career as a cytologist. Published here for the first time are Quendryth's comprehensive and succinct guidelines to writing English-language haiku — backed up with examples from her own extensive and award-winning body of work. Quendryth has agreed to share these guidelines with our Sydney School of Arts & Humanities community to spread the message, spread the joy, spread the elation . . . of living with senses wide open to the environment, in order to capture significant moments of observation with concision and resonance. Everyone here at the school extends our warmest gratitude to Quendryth for her generosity and enthusiasm in creating such a valuable resource.


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.

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Specific Techniques or Prompts

Haiku Revision (pdf)
by Chuck Brickley

Have you ever looked at one of your haiku, and thought: something's missing. Something's not quite right. It could be a haiku you've just written, or an old one you came across in a journal. Could be a haiku that's been rejected by several journals, and there it is in your notebook, taunting you. Or maybe this particular haiku has been published. Maybe even won an award. But here you are, years later, trying to admire your award-winning poem; trying, because something still nags, something you can't put a finger on. You go for a walk, clear your head, come back, and sneak up on it. For a brief moment, you think--hey, there's nothing wrong with this poem! It's pretty decent. Decent? Is that enough, you wonder. Was there an insight in the original experience that got lost in the writing of it, and that you have since forgotten? Or an insight you haven't yet discovered because, way back when, you accepted too easily your first go at it? You take a deep breath. You know there's a good haiku in there somewhere. You roll up your sleeves. You dig in . . .


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.


Scent Haiku Challenge (pdf)
by Jacob Salzer

Write at least one haiku for each of the 10 main categories of scent we can detect as humans . . . fragrant . . . woody . . .


Sound Haiku Challenge (pdf)
by Jacob Salzer

Write a haiku about each prompt with a focus on sound (or lack of sound): on a train . . . in the forest . . . whispers . . .

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Haibun Workshop

Guidelines for Writing Haibun (pdf)
by Margaret Chula

Tense - written both in present and in past tense

Subject matter - Autobiographical prose, travel journal, slice of life, memory, dream short sketch of a person, place, event, object
Traditional topics: life as a journey, love affairs, illness, human concerns & experiences . . .

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.” See worskshop sample haibun.

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Scott Mason's Haiku Course
Hudsonn Valley Writers' Center

Session 1 – Beginnings - course overview; Haiku Origins & Japanese Aesthetics

Session 2 – Time - To Every Thing There is a Season

Session 3 – The Senses - The Medium is [Part of] the Message: Language, Phonic and Format Choices in Haiku

Session 4 – Place - Cinematic Effects in Haiku” & “Four Poets of Place

Session 5 – People - Introduction to Senryu and rengay

Session 6 – Conclusions - Three Distinctive Voices; the haiku community, resources, events and publishing opportunities; closing comments

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How-To Haiku Books

Several “how-to-haiku” books have been written offering advice on the art of writing haiku. Modern Haiku published a review of these how-to books in 2018:

Haiku How-to Books: Retrospective Reviews.” Modern Haiku, 49.1, Portsmouth, RI: Modern Haiku Press, Winter-Spring 2018.

Akmakjian, Hiag. Snow Falling from a Bamboo Leaf: The Art of Haiku. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Capra Press, 1979.

Calkins, Jean, Editor. Handbook on Haiku, Patterned Poems and Articles, Volume 2. Kanona, NY: J & C Transcripts, 1972.

Carter, Terry Ann. Lighting the Global Lantern: A Teacher’s Guide to Writing Haiku and Related Literary Forms. Yarker, Ont.: Wintergreen Studios Press, 2011.

Coomler, David. Hokku: Writing Traditional Haiku in English: The Gift to be Simple. Springfield, Ill.: Octavo Press / Templegate Publishers, 2001.

Drevniok, Betty. Aware: A Haiku Primer. Bellingham, WA: Portal Publications, (1981). The Haiku Foundation Digital Library. Web. 4 May 2016.

Digregorio, Charlotte. Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All. Winnetka, Ill.: Artful Communicators Press, 2014.

Giroux, Joan. The Haiku Form. Rutland, Vt. and Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1974.

Gurga, Lee. Haiku: A Poet’s Guide. Lincoln, Ill.: Modern Haiku Press, 2003.

Higginson, William J., with Penny Harter. The Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Share, and Teach Haiku. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1985 and later editions.

Lanoue, David G. Write Like Issa: A Haiku How-to. New Orleans: Haiku Guy, 2017.

Machmiller, Patricia. Zigzag of the Dragonfly: Writing the Haiku Way. Yuki Teki Haiku Society, 2020.

Reichhold, Jane. Writing and Enjoying Haiku: A Hands-On Guide. Tokyo: Kodansha International, 2002.

Root-Bernstein, Michele, and Francine Banwarth. The Haiku Life: What We Learned as Editors of Frogpond. Lincoln, Ill.: Modern Haiku Press, 2017.

Ross, Bruce. How to Haiku: A Writer’s Guide to Haiku and Related Forms. Boston: Charles E. Tuttle Co., 2002.

Wakan, Naomi Beth. The Haiku Bag. Qualicum Beach, B.C.: Lightsmith Publishing, 1999.

Wakan, Naomi Beth. The Way of Haiku. Brunswick, ME: Shanti Arts Publishing Publishing, 2019.

Welch, Michael Dylan. Becoming a Haiku Poet. Sammamish, Wash.: Press Here, First printing, 2015. Foreword by Aubrie Cox.

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Recommended Books to Read

Addiss, Stephen. The Art of Haiku: Its History Through Poems and Paintings of the Japanese Masters. Boston & London: Shambala, 2012.

Aitken, Robert. A Zen Wave: Bashô’s Haiku & Zen. New York and Tokyo: John Weatherhill, Inc., 1978.

Amann, Eric. The Wordless Poem: A Study of Zen in Haiku. Toronto, Ontario: The Haiku Society of Canada, 1978. Reprint of 1969 edition, signed.

Basho, Matsuo. Translated by Jane Reichhold. Basho: The Complete Haiku. New York: Kodansha International, 2008.

Basho, Matsuo. Translated by Dorothy Britton. A Haiku Journey: Basho’s Narrow Road to a Far Province. New York: Kodansha International, 1980. Revised paperback edition.

Beichman, Janine. Masaoka Shiki. Boston, MA: Twayne Publishers, 1982.

Blyth, R.H., Translator. Haiku: Volume 1,2, 3, 4, Eastern Culture. Tokyo, Japan: Hokuseido Press, 1949. Twenty-third printing, 1976.

Brooks, Randy. The Art of Reading and Writing Haiku: A Reader Response Approah. Taylorville, IL: Brooks Books, 2019.

Burns, Allan, Editor. Where the River Goes: The Nature Tradition in English-Language Haiku. Ormisk, UK: Snap Shot Press, 2013.

Buson, Yosa. Edited and translated by Edith Marcombe Shiffert and Yuki Sawa. Haiku Master Buson: Translations from the Writings of Yosa Buson—Poet and Artist—With Related Materials. Buffalo, NY: White Pine Press, 2007. [Reprint of 1978 edition.]

Corman, Cid, translator. Born of a Dream: 50 Haiku by Basho, Buson, Taigi, Issa, Shiki. Frankfort, KY: Gnomon

Donegan, Patricia. Haiku Mind: 108 Poems to Cultivate Awareness and Open Your Heart. Boston, MA: Shambala, 2008.

Gilbert, Richard. The Disjunctive Dragonfly: A New Approach to English-language Haiku. Winchester, VA: Red Moon Press, 2013.

Gilbert, Richard. Poems of Consciousness: Contemporary Japanese & English-language Haiku in Cross-cultural Perspective. Winchester, VA: Red Moon Press, 2008.

Gurga, Lee and Scott Metz. Haiku 21: An Anthology of Contemporary English-language Haiku. Lincoln, IL: Modern Haiku Press, 2011.

Haiku Society of America Twentieth Anniversary Book Committee. A Haiku Path: The Haiku Society of America 1968-1988. New York: Haiku Society of America, 1994.

Issa, Kobayashi. Translated by David G. Lanoue. Issa, Cup of Tea Poems: Selected Haiku of Kobayashi Issa. Berkeley, CA: Asian Humanities Press, 1991.

Issa, Kobayashi. Translated by Lewis Mackenzie. The Autumn Wind: A Selection from the Poems of Issa. London: John Murray (Publishers) Ltd, 1957.

Kacian, Jim, Editor with Philip Rowland and Allan Burns. Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2013.

Lanoue, David G. Haiku Guy. Winchester, VA: Red Moon Press, 2000.

Lucas, Martin. Stepping Stones: A Way into Haiku. Essex, UK: British Haiku Society, 2007.

Mason, Scott, Editor. The Wonder Code: Discover the Way of Haiku and the See the World with New Eyes. Chappaqua, NY: Girasole Press, 2017.

Ross, Bruce, Editor. Haiku Moment: An Anthology of Contemporary North American Haiku. Rutland, VT: Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1993.

Ueda, Makoto, Bashô and His Interpreters: Selected Hokku with Commentary. Standford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1992.

Ueda, Makoto, Matsuo Bashô. Tokyo & New York: Kodansha International LTD., 1982.

Ueda, Makoto. Editor and translator. Modern Japanese Haiku: An Anthology. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1976.

Virgilio, Nicholas. Nick Virgilio: A Life in Haiku. Edited by Raffael de Gruttola. Arlington, VA: Turtle Light Press, 2012.

Yamaguchi, Tazuo & Randy Brooks, Editors. Haiku: The Art of the Short Poem. Film by Tazuo Yamaguchi on DVD. Decatur, IL: Brooks Books, 2008.


For more suggestions on books to read, see teh bibliography published in Juxtapositions issue 1.1:

Bibliographical Essay. Randy Brooks and the Juxtaposition editors, Stephen Addiss, Bill Cooper, Aubrie Cox, Jim Kacian, and Peter McDonald. “Haiku Resources: A Scholar’s Library of Haiku in English.” in Juxtapositions: The Journal of Haiku Research and Scholarship, 1.1, The Haiku Foundation, (Winchester, VA), May 2015.

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The Haiku Society of America is pleased to provide resources to those teaching and learning the literary art of haiku. Many of these resources are assessible to a wide range of learners including children. Others have been developed for engagement by specific age groups. Note that the Haiku Sociey of America mentorship program also has several PDF guides to online resources.

Please know that the following web pages provide resources for a specific audience but should NOT exclude anyone from considering resources from any category!


For Haiku Writers

Introductory Workshops
Specific Tecnhiques
Scott Mason - Haiku Course
How-To Haiku Books
Recommended Books to Read


For College Students

Teaching Haiku in Higher Educaiton
Art of Reading & Writing Haiku
Millikin Haiku Anthology
Articles & Online Resources
Recommended Books


For Secondary Students

Workshops & Lessons
Student Haiku Award Collection
Haiku Unit Plan
Haiku Cut Competition
Articles & Online Resources
Recommended Books


For Primary Students

Haiku Unit Plan
Workshops & Lessons
Articles & Online Resources
Recommended Books


Education Resources Web Sites

Haiku Organizaitons & Societies
Haiku Leaders & Teachers
Haiku Podcasts
Haiku Archives & Directories


For Scholars & Literary Criticism

HSA Definitions
Scholar’s Library of Haiku
Frogpond Essays
Frogpond Book Reviews

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