Haiku, Renga, Senryu
Unfortunately some of the most misused poetry forms are the Japanese ones, especially Haiku. It has a wonderful simplistic form however, in ignorance most modern occidental poets not knowing the true form, or ignoring the truth, superimpose their own ideas and beliefs on it. It is the intention of this discourse not to be controversial, but merely to open the poets eyes to the nature and true beauty of these forms.
True Haiku presents an observation, a web of closely associated ideas (renso).
A suggestion of time and place linked with this observation and an active mind on the part of the reader and we have "Haiku".
Working together a mood of perception is given. The poet does not need to comment on this mood merely to leave the reader with the image that has been evoked.
True Haiku have two specific images and do not have a specific number of syllables, remembering that Japanese writing runs down the page and not left to right as occidental writing does.
Whenever possible only concrete specific language should be used. Adjectives and adverbs often interpret what is seen and should be avoided. Weak verbs should be replaced with strong verbs. ie; instead of "go", use"run or walk etc".
Words using sensory connotations are preferable so that the imagination is left to respond to the stimulus. As was stated earlier this poetry form emerged and was developed by the poet Basho(1644-1694) into a refinement of Taoist symbolism and Zen Buddhism and although starting in the eighth century many Japanese poets state that "Haiku" began and ended with Basho.
The important difference between Japanese poetry and occidental poetry is the reliance by occidental poetry on the metaphor to set the image. Japanese poetry relies on the literal accuracy.
The basic form is 5. 7. 5. Syllables.
Use words that arouse the imagination and make the senses respond.
The use of verbs should be strong with definite meaning like "Running" rather than weak like "Going".
Most of all adjectives and adverbs should be avoided as very often they help interpret what is happening rather than allowing the mind to sense what is happening.
A true Haiku is a spiritual experience, an extension of Zen and should contain reference to a season or nature and is a spiritual experience of the universe. The epiphany or ending (satori), should penetrate into the heart of the theme.
There is another form that follows exactly the same format as the Haiku called the Senryu. The senryu deals more with human nature and it is considered the best form when the satori is ironic or funny.