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Frogpond 46.1 • 2023

Museum of Haiku
Literature Award

Haiku & Senryu

Essay 1 - Repetition in Haiku

Essay 2 - Punctuation Words in English Haiku



Book Reviews

Haiku Society of America


Repetition in Haiku

by Brad Bennett

Repetition in Haiku (complete PDF version)

Here is a sample excerpt from the opening page of this essay:

As haiku poets, we bring a rich variety of approaches, aesthetic considerations, and writing techniques to each poem we write. Repetition is one of the many dynamic tools in the haiku poet’s toolbox. Repeating words, or parts of words, can be an effective and successful strategy as we craft our haiku. Historically, using repetition in English-language haiku has often been discouraged. In fact, repetition has been included on some lists of “haiku don’ts.” But throughout its long history, Japanese and English-language haiku have been written about various forms of repetition that occur in the natural world. What are kigo if they are not time markers that tap into our collective experience and knowledge of the seasons and other natural cycles, born of repetition? So, we owe it to our haiku ancestors, our natural world, and ourselves to examine the literary benefits of repetition in our beloved form.

Repetition is a common and important device in all forms of poetry. As poet and critic Edward Hirsch has said, “Meaning accrues through repetition. One of the deep fundamentals of poetry is the recurrence of sounds, syllables, words, phrases, lines, and stanzas. Repetition can be one of the most intoxicating features of poetry. It creates expectations, which can be fulfilled or frustrated.”2 But how does repetition work in a haiku? What resonating or intoxicating effects can the haiku poet create through repetition?

Repetition can occur in various ways in a haiku. For the purposes of this article, we will examine the repetition of words and phrases, not the repetition of sounds or phonemes that are part and parcel of devices like alliteration, consonance, and assonance. The haiku writer can decide to repeat subsets of a haiku—a word, a couple of words, a clause, a fragment, or a whole line. Repetition can also occur using different parts of speech—nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, or prepositions.

[essay continues for several more pages] . . .

. . .

Bennett, Brad. "Repetition in Haiku." Frogpond 46.1, Winter, 2023, 104-118.

This excerpt inclues the first page of the essay: page 104. The complete essay includes pages 104-118. To read the complete essay, click on the link to the PDF version:

Repetition in Haiku
(complete PDF version)