Write a Haiku and send it to stuartv@splice.org.nz for reading at the Ellen Melville Centre. Entries close on 20 January 2021.

A haiku is traditionally a Japanese poem consisting of three short lines that do not rhyme. The origins of haiku poems can be traced back as far as the 9th century.  It is a way of looking at the physical world and seeing something deeper, like the very nature of existence. It should leave the reader with a strong feeling or impression. 

Some examples from a Haiku master Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)

An old silent pond...       
A frog jumps into the pond,  
splash! Silence again.


Autumn moonlight-
a worm digs silently
into the chestnut.


Several core principles are woven into the tapestry of modern haiku. A haiku focuses on one brief moment in time, employs provocative, colourful imagery, and provides a sudden moment of illumination.  Here are some examples of 20th-century haiku:

From across the lake,
Past the black winter trees,
Faint sounds of a flute.
- Richard Wright

out of the water
out of itself
- Nick Virgilio 

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Last updated: 29 November 2020