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Modern Haiku Poetry - What It is and How to Write It!

The venerable haiku poem has been around for hundreds of years. Traditionally composed in Japan using a 5-7-5 arrangement of syllables, western poets have loosened this form to create what is now considered modern haiku poetry.

The modern version still sounds somewhat similar to the original but it does not adhere to making the syllables come out to 5-7-5. This is a good thing! It frees the poet up to explore what is truly important in haiku writing and that is its spirit!

To write modern haiku poetry one needs to know the technique behind it and that has everything to do with understanding fragment and phrase theory for haiku today is composed using this technique. For example, take a look at this modern haiku poem:

summer mist --
sap trickles
down the pine

Here we have a haiku consisting of a fragment and a phrase. The fragment "summer mist" gives us a macro view while the phrase "sap trickles down the pine" shows us a specific detail. To write modern haiku poetry, you don't really need to know more than this. Really.

Notice that emphasis is not on the syllable count. Emphasis here is on the poem itself. But the poem retains the essence of what haiku is because it is created using fragment/phrase technique.

Notice too that this poem's subject is nature. Haiku, if it's about anything, is about nature…how we see it and how we feel about it. The above poem simply describes an event happening in the present moment - another trademark of haiku poetry. Modern haiku poetry doesn't seek to transform what haiku is or the beauty of it, it just doesn’t care so much about counting syllables!

About the Author: Edward Weiss is a poet, author, and publisher of Wisteria Press. He has been helping students learn how to write haiku for many years and has just released his first book "Seashore Haiku!" Visit us now at and get the FREE report: "How to Write Haiku!"

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