A Lot of Words About A Little Poem
An Introduction to Haiku Structures
A haiku poem cannot be defined according to the number of syllables and lines it contains (nor by the number of syllables in each line). Although I do not wish to go into the reasons why at this point (I will save that for a later discussion) the form of modern English haiku, as Haruo Shirane writes, is a short poem, usually written in one to three lines. (in Gilbert, 2009) At this point our definition sounds very vague. If the number of syllables and lines do not define a haiku poem, then what does? And if a haiku poem is simply a short one, two or three-line poem then what separates it from other forms of Western short-verse or, in the case of one-line haiku, a sentence?
Patricia Donegan writes, in agreement with the Western haiku community at large, that syllable counting... is not the important thing for haiku in English. Haiku is an experience, not an act of co