Dhugal Lindsay (Yokosuka, Japan) believes English language haiku should aspire to be:
“Short poem of rhythmical structure, usually between 7 and 17 syllables in length. It contains a reference to a seasonal or otherwise natural entity, is concrete, and illuminates some aspect of the existence of one or more of the elements or entities within the poem.”
Dhugal and John Bird collaborated for this short description:
“A haiku is a brief poem, built on sensory images from the environment. It evokes an insight into Our world and The world.”
Cynthia Ludlow (Brisbane, Qld)
“Haiku are small nature poems that I don’t understand but know to be true.”
In 2007 the Australian Haiku Society committee requested John Bird to advise the Society on haiku definition(s) and to try to formulate one that we could adopt, officially, as meaningful for our members and helpful to those new to the genre.
John reports that he has considered many descriptions and definitions of haiku by overseas writers and now wants to understand how Australian poets, at all levels of experience, think about haiku.
He hopes to include some examples of the latter in his published report and would like to share a subset of these on the Australian Haiku Society [HaikuOz] site, if this is agreed to by their authors. If you would like your views to remain anonymous, please say so at the time you submit them. This will be respected.
Haiku are elusive to define. But in attempting to describe them we may come to understand them better. Please don’t feel intimidated that your definition must be academic, or even wise. It’s simply what you think haiku are about that counts. Please send John your personal definition of haiku, whether long-standing or written for this exercise, at: link removed
Please try to restrict your thoughts to 40 words, preferably no more than 25. If you have adopted a published definition written by somebody else, please include all details.
Below are two personal definitions of haiku. You are warmly invited to share yours.
Australian Haiku Society
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