How to Write a Haiku

A haiku is a short poem, originating in Japan. It is unique because it has a specific number of lines and syllables per line:

  • A haiku can be only three lines long
  • The first line of the haiku must contain 5 syllables
  • The second line must contain 7 syllables
  • The third (and last) line must contain 5 syllables

Those are the only rules of haiku, and the rest is up to you as the author. You can punctuate and capitalise it how you want, and you can choose to use rhyme, or not. Traditionally haiku poetry discusses nature, and refers to a particular season, but you can get creative and discuss whatever you want.

Haiku is an ideal platform for discussing a small element or idea – like a dewdrop instead of a thunderstorm, but you can go as small or large as you want with your ideas. If you are looking for inspiration, read other poets’ haiku and look to the world around you.

If you want to check your syllable count is correct, here is a great haiku tool.

Haiku is harder

than it seems. Five, Seven, Five

On only three lines.

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JJ is a writer by night, & a Product Manager by day. She loves young adult and children’s fiction and is the director of NZ Booklovers. She has a Masters in Creative Writing, and is an ex-English tutor. She lives in Auckland with her husband, daughter, and two chihuahuas.

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