What Are The Rules Of A Haiku Poem?

What Are The Rules Of A Haiku Poem?

Haiku poems are some of the most beautiful and beloved forms of poetry in the world. They are brief, simple, and yet often profound works of art.

In this article, we’ll explore everything you should know about haiku poems – from the history of haiku to its components, structure, and rules to how to write a haiku yourself.

History of Haiku

Haiku is an ancient form of Japanese poetry that began in the 1600s. The term “haiku” itself is derived from two Japanese words: haya (meaning “brief”) and ku (meaning “poem”). It was developed by two Japanese poets—Matsuo Basho and Yosa Buson—and it quickly became popular throughout Japan.

Haiku is a type of nature-based poetry that focuses on presenting natural images or moments in only a few words. This style of writing was often used by Japanese monks to reflect on their environment and express their spiritual beliefs.

Components of Haiku

A typical haiku poem consists of three lines with a total of 17 syllables. The first line typically has five syllables, the second line seven syllables, and the third line five syllables. Although these are traditional guidelines for a haiku poem, there is no set rule for the exact number of syllables used in each line.

The main idea behind a haiku poem is to express emotion or describe an experience in the most concise way possible.

Haiku poets often rely on imagery to create a vivid picture in just a few words. They use similes, metaphors, and other poetic devices to paint a detailed picture without using too many words.

Structure and Rules of Haiku

The traditional structure for a haiku poem is as follows: five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second line, and five syllables in the third line. However, this is not set in stone; there is no set rule for how many syllables should be used in each line.

When writing a haiku poem, it is important to consider the theme or message you are trying to convey. This can be anything from a description of nature to an emotion or feeling about something.

It is also important to note that haikus usually contain one main image that is repeated throughout the poem; this image should be powerful enough to evoke emotion from the reader without being too obscure or difficult to understand.

In addition to structure and imagery, there are other rules that must be followed when writing a haiku poem.

These include avoiding cliches or overly complicated language; using vivid verbs and adjectives; avoiding sentimentality; focusing on brevity; and allowing readers to draw their own conclusions about what you’re trying to say.

How to Write a Haiku Yourself

When it comes to learning how to write a haiku can be both fun and rewarding! To begin, decide on your theme or subject matter—this can be anything from a moment in nature to an emotion you feel strongly about—and try to come up with one single image that captures your point perfectly.

Then start writing your first line with five syllables; if you’re having trouble deciding what words you want to use for each line, try using some alliteration or sound play for extra effect!

Next, write your second line with seven syllables—this should give you enough room to expand on your initial image from before while still keeping it concise enough for readers to understand quickly without getting lost in too many details.

Finally, complete your third line with five more syllables that act as either a conclusion or exclamation point for your piece—think about how you want readers to feel when they reach the end!

What Makes A Good Haiku?

A good haiku should be able to capture a moment or image in just three lines. It should be meaningful yet succinct. Good haikus often evoke a certain emotion or feeling from their readers. Here are some tips for writing better haikus:

1. Choose a Topic or Theme

When you’re writing a haiku, it’s important to choose a topic or theme that interests you or that you have something to say about.

Think about what you want to convey through your poem, and make sure it’s something that can be expressed in just three lines.

2. Use Imagery

Haikus often use vivid imagery to capture a moment in time and create a vivid picture in the reader’s mind. By including vivid descriptions in your haiku, you can help the reader visualize what you are describing and make them feel connected to the poem.

3. Be Metaphorical

One of the best ways to create an interesting and thought-provoking haiku is by being metaphorical in your writing.

Using metaphors can help you describe something without actually saying it directly, allowing you to convey more emotion or meaning in fewer words.

4. Create Contrasts

Creating contrasts between two ideas can help create tension and drama within your haiku poem. By combining two seemingly opposite ideas into one poem, you can create an interesting juxtaposition that will draw the reader in and make them think about what’s being said in a new way.

5. Have Fun With It!

Remember that haikus don’t have to be serious or somber – they can also be playful and lighthearted! Writing a haiku can be a great way to explore different topics and play with words while still conveying meaningful messages or emotions through your poetry.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing a Haiku Poem

1. Overusing Cliches

One of the most common mistakes when writing a haiku is overusing cliches or tired phrases that don’t add any value to your poem.

While it’s tempting to rely on cliches as shortcuts when writing poetry, they usually end up making your poem sound flat and uninspired – so try to avoid them as much as possible! 

2. Not Paying Attention to Syllable Counts

The structure of a haiku is very specific – each line should contain five syllables (in Japanese) or 17 syllables (in English).

Not paying attention to these syllable counts can lead to awkward-sounding poems that don’t flow naturally – so make sure you count out each line before submitting your work! 

3. Neglecting Imagery and Metaphors

As mentioned earlier, imagery and metaphors are essential elements of good haikus – but if not used properly, they can also cause your poem to become confusing or incoherent!

Make sure your imagery and metaphors are clear enough for readers to understand what you are trying to say in your poem – otherwise, they may end up missing out on its meaning entirely! 

4. Ignoring the “Rules” Of Haikus

While it’s important to know the structure of traditional haikus (five-seven-five), don’t feel like you need to stick too strictly to this formula if it doesn’t fit with your poem! Remember that there is no one “right way” to write a haiku – so don’t feel obligated to force yourself into fitting into any particular “rulebook.” 

5. Using Too Many Words

Haikus should be short and sweet – so try not to use more words than necessary! Too many words can make your poem sound cluttered and may prevent readers from fully understanding its meaning – so try keeping things concise while still conveying all of the emotions or ideas that you want readers to take away from your work! 


In conclusion, haikus are simple yet powerful poems that capture an image or emotion perfectly within three short lines. They have been around since ancient times but remain just as popular today due to their beauty and brevity.

Whether you want to learn more about them or even write your own haikus someday—you now know everything you should know about haikus!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *