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one line haiku

Started by Grace, April 04, 2013, 05:35:16 PM

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Can someone tell me exactly what constitutes a one line haiku.

When the music plays, I hope you dance


    Quote from: Grace on April 04, 2013, 05:35:16 PM
    Can someone tell me exactly what constitutes a one line haiku.

    A lot has been said, and will continue to be said about one line haiku.

    Here are some things said, and I hope others step in with thoughts, techniques, devices, and examples.

    One of many devices I employ is the abrupt method: It's a deliberate subvert technique.

    It's also been said that if it's a 1-line haiku you are aiming for they work best when they cannot be remade into three line haiku.  I'm not sure that's always the case, but it's a useful guideline.

    I'd suggest introducing "abruptions" as one method which is my term for breaking up normal syntax/semantics.

    abruptive techniques, my term for sharp changes in directing the reader, and I often subvert the adjective 'abruptive' into a noun i.e. look for abruptives in your haiku.

    Abruptive: suddenly disruptive
    Urban Dictionary
    abruptive (adjective) : showing a tendency to be abrupt

    abruptitude (noun) : the quality of extreme suddenness
    Ryan Muller

    Embrace the abruptitude!

    Sometimes one-line haiku are, or appear to be, a little subversive in order to tell a greater truth.

    If it's too smooth it could be just a line of poetry, or a statement.

    Alan Summers

      Jim Kacian says this:

      • "Multiple stops yield subtle, rich, often ambiguous texts which generate alternative readings, and subsequent variable meanings.

        Each poem can be several poems, and the more the different readings cohere and reinforce each other, the larger the field occupied by the poem, the greater its weight in the mind."

        The Way of One by Jim Kacian
        Roadrunner X:2

    More will be forthcoming in my book-in-progress.

    For now, here are some of my own haiku.

    snowing through the blizzard particles of me

    Publications credits: 
    The Haiku Calendar 2012 (Snapshot Press); The Humours of Haiku (Iron Press 2012); The In-Between Season (With Words Haiku Pamphlet Series 2012); Mann Library (as originally written as a one line haiku, March 2013)

    Award credits:
    Winner, The Haiku Calendar Competition 2011 (Snapshot Press)

    chestnut moon shifting in my memory ghost floors

    Publication Credits: Roadrunner 12.3 (December 2012)

    sick train the night heron shifts silt for all of us

    Publications credits:
    a handful of stones (2nd March 2011); A Blackbird Sings, a small stone anthology ISBN 978-0-9571584-2-9 ed.  Fiona Robyn & Kaspalita Thompson (Woodsmoke Press 2012)

    long grass nights star systems in the Big Dipper

    Publications credits: Haiku News (2012)

    this small ache and all the rain too robinsong

    Publications credits: Modern Haiku vol. 44.1 winter/spring 2013

    ground zero into the new friend's story

    Publications credits:  Roadunner Masks 4

    all those red apples amongst the blue tit

    Publications credits:
    Does Fish-God Know (Yet To Be Named Free Press 2012); roadrunner MASKS 4

    giallo this restricted area my birthplace

    Publications credits:
    bones journal Pre issue - Single haiku & Sequences (2012); Does Fish-God Know (Yet To Be Named Free Press 2012)

    Hirst's butterflies disturbing the exhibits people

    Publication Credits: Roadrunner 12.3 (December 2012)

    sloe-eyed horses in Lichtenstein bubble gum wrappers

    Publication Credits: Roadrunner 12.3 MASKS 4

    long hard rain my compass your true north

    Publications credits: Frogpond 36.1 • 2013

    rain on the river the jesus star shifting

    Publications credits: Janice M Bostok Haiku Prize 2012 Anthology Evening Breeze

    pull of stars turning cold the snail's navigation

    Publications credits:
    Does Fish-God Know (YTBN Press 2012); Blithe Spirit (February 2013)

    night-entangled moons treading judas floors

    Publication Credits:
    Dark Pens, a journal of moon haiku (1.1. 2013)

    Red Sea beat my heart still hydrozoa

    Publication Credits: Does Fish-God Know

    voodoo rain this new light year
    Publication Credits: Does Fish-God Know

    Alan Summers,
    founder, Call of the Page

    Peter Yovu

    A discussion on this matter is available here:

    I have not read (re-read) through this discussion, but I am sure there are some interesting points and provocations to be encountered therein, and I am reminded that not that long ago a bunch of us engaged in lively and often helpful explorations. For me, it was a chance to test out what I thought I knew. It was always about discovery.

    Gabi Greve

    The Japanese Angle

    Writing haiku in one line or three lines .. this is not discussed often with my Japanese friends, because it does not constitute a problem to them.
    Also dividing a haiku in fragment and phrase seems an American approach to formalizing and explaining haiku.

    I have gotten another inspiration to this discussion, an approach I usually take when a Japanese cultural phenomenon just does not fit in any other language so easily: give the child a different name.
    Let us not argue about the lines, but call them

    A Japanese haiku comes in three sections:

    kami go (the top five section)
    naka shichi (the middle seven section)
    shimo go (the lower five section)

    So, given the natural rhythm of the Japanese language, it is easy to recognize these sections when spoken.

    Writing these three sections usually depends on the Japanese paper you are given.

    On a small slip (tansaku) it goes from top to bottom.
    On a square decoration sheet (shikishi) it goes in three lines, usually from right to left.
    NHK Haiku writes in three lines from right to left, name of the artist most left.
    Very seldom it is written in three lines from left to right, the Latinized way.
    With a wordprocessor, it comes out as one line, from left to right, if not formatted differently.

    So, there are many ways to write it in Japanese too, but ALWAYS the three sections are clearly discernable.

    Thus, in English it should not be such a big problem whether you write it in one line or in three, but you should take care to make your three sections easily discernable, most probably in a way of using the format of
    short * long * short
    for the sections as a kind of imitation of the original Japanes haiku parent.

    And would you introduce writing your one-line haiku from top to bottom, just to imitate one way of Japanese writing?

    Monoku, one line ku, one-liner, one sentence ku, run-on sentence ku, one-line poem and other expressions are also sometimes used in English.
    But this often also refers to a different kind of poem.


    Wait; what about two lines but, then again, three may have a purpose in English... :P

    from the pond a mouse licks the Cheshire moon :P

    from the pond
    a mouse licks
    Cheshire moon

    Here is an original attempt of mine that I now question and think three lines with the 2-3-2 beat may come closer to the Japanese rhythm. There is the main cut separating the fragment from the phrase but with three line breaks there is emphasis on L2's verb...? ??? :-\

    sun shower
    a twig settles in the cloud

    sun shower
    a twig settles
    in the cloud

    or another...

    a stillness
    under the strider's leg
    dimpled star

    ;D ;D

    However, there is not much  distance  between the two images to allow the reader to explore it from his or her own experiences... ("ma" she's making eyes at me) sung by Eddie Cantor. ::)

    Perhaps more fitting is...

    April chill
    through the old man
    lake petals

      :-\ :-[ :'( :-X


    From December last year, a post I made about one line haiku updated since:

    all those red apples | travelling the monorail - haiku travelling in one line - one line haiku aka monostich aka monoku:

    Alan Summers,
    founder, Call of the Page


    Can monoku also be called cyclic ku?  Is being cyclic a specific attribute of  the monostitch?

    If anyone comes, / Turn into frogs, / O cooling melons!



    Stephen Gill aka Tito, and a few other British Haiku Society members created circular haiku, for example:

    They can be three line haiku, just put in a circle, as well as a monostich.

    Quote from: Anna on April 04, 2016, 04:05:57 PM
    Can monoku also be called cyclic ku?  Is being cyclic a specific attribute of  the monostitch?
    Alan Summers,
    founder, Call of the Page


    I've created a new essay about one-line haiku due to appear in a new bi-lingual anthology, but in the meantime, this feature has useful commentaries about monoku from both Yanty's Butterfly (Haiku Nook anthology) and invited guest poets:

    Travelling the single line of haiku

    Alan Summers,
    founder, Call of the Page


    Alan Summers,
    founder, Call of the Page


    Catch special features on Anna Maris & Hemapriya Chellappan as they travel the single line of haiku, with commentary by the poets themselves!
    Alan Summers,
    founder, Call of the Page

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