5-7-5: The Isthmus Haiku Contest

Haiku for the peeps / The Mad poets delivered! / Our contest results

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Haiku syllable count

Ahem, 5-7-5 has only ever been 'traditional' in English thanks to a misunderstanding the earliest translators made. One Japanese sound unit does *not* equate to an English syllable so although Japanese haiku truly are traditionally 5-7-5 (sound units), this is not something that moves directly into English as our speech rhythms falls into a different pattern. Today, the vast majority of haiku written in English are *not* written using any particular syllable count. Instead, there are a couple of different ways of looking at it - poems able to be said in one breath, or about 20 syllables of fewer (certainly no more than 20) arranged in lines that are short-long-short. Writing a poem to fit a 5-7-5 frame does not make it a haiku. :)

Sandra 358 days ago


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