A very short poem in Japanese literature. In Japan, a person who writes haiku is called haijin. Originally called hokku, the haiku, like the tanka, received its modern name from Masaoka Shiki, who promoted a theme of describing observations of nature. The first haiku published in English was by Ezra Pound in 1913.
- May only contain seventeen syllables in a 5-7-5 format.
- Usually used as a sharp contrast of two objects, occurrences, or ideas.
- When the kireji (cutting word) is used in the middle verse it changes the thought and, making the first and second thought half independent of each other. When used at the end, it signals a final resolution of the two thoughts.
The tanka is an ancient form of Japanese poetry that uses 31 syllables. Once upon a time, it was called waka. Tanka translates to “short poem” to distinguish it from a “long poem” choka. Long ago, waka was exchanged between cultured lovers. In the late 20th century, Japanese poet and critic Masaoka Shiki wanted to renew the art form and decided to let tanka be the renewed name.
- Follows a common syllable pattern of 5-7-5-7-7
- The 5-7-5 is known as the kami-no-ku (upper phrase) and the 7-7 is known as the shima-no-ku (lower phrase)
- Cricket Never Does: A Collection of Haiku and Tanka DB046169
- Haiku: Asian Arts and Crafts for Creative Kids DB060202
The seasons of Time; Tanka Poetry of Ancient Japan BR000906