Haiku

An Online Treasure Hunt
for Second Year High School (English)

 
Introduction

Poetry is a means of “seeing” life. This is especially true of the haiku, a traditional Japanese poetic form that has gained popularity all over the world. You will find out why the haiku is well loved in this activity.

Specifically, you will explore the meaning of the haiku and how it has been used historically and in modern times, view examples of haiku written by master Japanese poets as well as young people like yourselves, and write your own haiku.

To do all these, go over the questions below. Then locate the answers to the questions in the websites given. Be sure to read the websites carefully as you will apply all of the information they provide in answering the Big Question.

To make the activity even more fun, you will work in groups of three. Be sure to work together.

Write down your answers and be ready to discuss them with the rest of the class when everyone has finished doing the treasure hunt.
 

Questions 

1. Which is the more important feature or characteristic of a haiku—the number of syllables or the number of images? Explain your answer.
2.
In what way is a good haiku like a good joke?
3.
 How is the haiku related to the hokku and haika?

4.
Why is Basho considered a great haiku poet?

5.
Traditional Haiku subject matter includes places, natural phenomena, wildlife, and common everyday experiences. Other poetic forms use the same subject matter. What makes the haiku different is how it treats or talks about them. Describe the haiku treatment of subject matter.
6.
Is there a lot of detail in haiku poetry? Discuss your answer using one of the children’s haiku as an example (or non-example).


Resources
A short guide to the haiku
http://www.cs.tufts.edu/~dlipton/haiku.html

About haiku
http://webusers.xula.edu/dlanoue/issa/abouthaiku.html

History of haiku (Basho)
http://www.big.or.jp/~loupe/links/ehisto/ebasho.shtml

Haiku conventions
http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/lit_terms_H.html

How to write haiku
http://www.toyomasu.com/haiku/#whatishaiku

Examples of haiku
http://www.ngfl-cymru.org.uk/vtc/Phase2delivery/NCA/Englishliterature/PoetryKeyStage3/Poetrydividedintotypes/Thehaikuclerihewlimerickandshape/Examplesofhaiku/Default.htm

Haiku for kids
http://www.johnettedowning.com/kids.htm#haiku
http://www.tecnet.or.jp/~haiku/


The Big Question

Now that you know what a haiku is, try writing your own haiku. Pick a scene from nature or any scene around you and focus on it. Follow the format for writing a haiku.

You will not do this part of the treasure hunt in class. Instead you will do this as homework. And you will each write a haiku of your own, rather than do a group haiku.

Have fun!


Authored by L. Gilo and P. Arinto