Bica Blog

An Introduction to Haiku - What is a Senryu?

Posted on January 29, 2020 at 3:50 AM


What is a Senryū?

 

When haiku are above all about human nature, they are called Senryū. Senryū generally don’t use season words. They are often cynical or darkly humorous.


  

table for one—

the waiter offers me

a gossip magazine


 

—Corine Timmer

 

First published in FemkuMag, issue 15, August 2019

 

There is no season word in the above poem and it is cynical and darkly humorous. That makes it a Senryū.


 

 

town undertaker—

seeing more and more

of his old friends


 

—Barry George, Philadelphia, PA

 

Honorable Mention in the 2019 Gerald Brady Memorial Senryu Award


 

wedding day

the time he takes

to knot the tie


 

—Marylyn Appl Walker

 

Second prize in the 2013 Gerald Brady Memorial Senryu Award


  

behind

a stick of candyfloss

a child’s face!


 

—John Gonzalez

 

In the Lantern Light, haiku and Senryū by John Gonzalez, published by Alba Publishing, 2016

 

If you have enjoyed this introductory series and want to compose haiku yourself, please don’t be put off by the rules. Intuition and spontaneity play a large role in haiku. Tap into your inner child and use your senses. Perfecting your haiku is a process. It requires practice and time. But we start with the inspiration. The inspiration is the core.

 

If you are a beginner, you can (don´t have to) start with:

 

  1. A 5-7-5 syllable format.
  2. Choose a season or seasonal word (there are lists online) or just step outside.
  3. Focus on a moment in time (the here-and-now). Haiku are written in the present tense. Remember that camera? Where are you? What’s happening? What´s catching your attention? What can you see, hear, taste, smell, touch?
  4. Think of yin and yang (opposites).
  5. Introduce a surprise (cut the poem into two parts, two visuals).
  6. Does your poem resonate (1+1=3)?

 

In February it’s time for NaHaiWriMo (National Haiku Writing Month) again. One haiku a day during the shortest month of the year. This happens on the NaHaiWriMo Facebook page. Michael Dylan Welch posts a daily prompt and anyone can participate and post their haiku on the visitors page. This will be my fourth year as a participant. It’s a good place to start. Michael Dylan Welch is the founder. He is also an haiku expert. His website http://www.graceguts.com is a treasure trove for haiku fans.

 

Another good place to find out more about haiku is The Haiku Foundation, founded and directed by Jim Kacian https://www.thehaikufoundation.org

 

Many countries have a haiku society. I am a member of the British and American haiku societies:

 

http://britishhaikusociety.org.uk

 

http://www.hsa-haiku.org


 

The Haiku International Association in Japan

 

http://www.haiku-hia.com/index_en.html


  

Bye for now. Have fun!

 

Corine

 

Categories: haiku

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