Want to explore?
There are some wonderful sites to learn more about haiku, senryu and other forms of Japanese poetry, and to see examples of haiga, which is photography or artwork combined with haiku. Here are a few great sources; many of these sites in turn have extensive lists of links.
Haiku and Senryu
Definitions of haiku and senryu on the website of the Haiku Society of America
Definition of haiku by Ray Rasmussen
Definition of senryu by Ray Rasmussen
Becoming a haiku poet, essay by Michael Dylan Welch
Haiku Society of America, a not-for-profit organization promoting haiku poetry in English
The Haiku Foundation, a website promoting English-language haiku
The Heron’s Nest, a quarterly journal of haiku
Modern Haiku, a journal of haiku and haibun
Frogpond, a journal of haiku, senryu and haibun published by the Haiku Society of America
Acorn, a biennial journal of contemporary haiku
tinywords, an international daily magazine of haiku and micropoetry
Prune Juice, an online journal of contemporary senryu and kyoka
Graceguts, an online poetry journal by haiku poet Michael Dylan Welch
Haiku, Senryu, and Haiga
Haiku is a form of poetry that emerged in Japan in the 17th century. These short but profound poems are traditionally focused on nature, containing a seasonal reference and juxtaposing two images or ideas.
It is commonly believed that haiku in English must have five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second line, and five syllables in the third. However, most serious practitioners of English language haiku do not follow this 5-7-5 format, typically writing shorter three-line poems that more closely match the feel of seventeen onji, or sound-syllables, in Japanese.
Senryu, which follow the same structure as haiku, emerged in Japan in the 18th century. These poems are focused on human nature and are often humorous or philosophical. There is often a gray area between haiku and senryu, and the term haiku may encompass both forms.
In Japanese tradition, haiku are often joined by haiga, artwork that adds depth and dimension to the poem. While they are traditionally painted with sumi ink on rice paper, today haiga are created in a range of mediums, including photography and digital art.
See the links at left for much more detailed discussion and examples of all these art forms.