Haikai Home

Haiku and Related Forms Web Site edited by William J. Higginson

Our pages have recently moved from our old site, and you may find some glitches here, in links, styles, and so on. If you would like to report a problem, please contact the webmaster.

"Haikai" is the collective name for a number of types of writing which arose in Japan and flowered in the 17th century, continuing today both in Japan and worldwide. These include haiku (the brief, seasonal poem formerly called hokku in both Japanese and English and now sometimes called "haikai" in Spanish and "jaicai" in Portuguese), senryu (similar to haiku, but focussed on human concerns), and renku (a type of linked poem; also called haikai no renga or haikai renga), and haibun (prose in haikai style, usually including haiku verses). Tanka is a much older genre which might be considered the great-grandfather of haikai. It is very different from haikai, but since many people interested in one are interested in both, I include information on tanka on this site.

Haiku  Gateway to our slowly growing haiku section. Links to an important article on haiku form, "Haiku by the Numbers, Seriously", that includes an overview of more than 100 years of haiku translations in English. Another link takes you to a group of new translations of classic and modern Japanese haiku in "A Taste of Butterfly Dreams", a terrific electronic book of nature photographs by Michael Lustbader paired with haiku translations by wjh. I have just added a multi-paged review of the Haiku Canada Conference 2007, with many photographs and commentary on the program and other features of the event. Then, on the web site of the Washington Poets Association, you can read the excellent winners of the 2007 Francine Porad Haiku Contest, embedded in my "Judge's Comments" on them at http://www.washingtonpoets.org/owas/view.php?a=1044. Meanwhile, you may also wish to visit the Web site of the Haiku Society of America at http://www.hsa-haiku.org, or the extensive list of online haiku resources which I edit for the Open Directory, here: http://www.dmoz.org/Arts/Literature/Poetry/Forms/Haiku_and_Related_Forms.

Senryu  Or, in romanized Japanese, senryû; this page is under development. In the meantime, the following link will take you to the definition of "senryu" offered by the Haiku Society of America, on their web site at http://www.hsa-haiku.org/HSA_Definitions_2004.html#Senryu. (Note that other terms used here are also defined on the same page.)

Renku  This link takes you to my already built and substantial Web site on the subject of traditional Japanese-style linked poetry. The URL is http://haikai.2hweb.net/renku.

Haibun  This page is under development. In the meantime, you may want to explore Contemporary Haibun Online, an e-zine devoted to the genre. The URL is http://www.poetrylives.com/CHO/.

Tanka  This page is under development. Meanwhile, you may wish to visit the Web site of the Tanka Society of America at http://www.tankasocietyofamerica.com. I have a bibliography of books relating to Japanese tanka and waka, on Gerald England's web site entitled "The Art of Haiku": http://www.geraldengland.co.uk/hk/hk002.htm. I also edit the list of online tanka resources for the Open Directory (the main source for all online directories and starting point for most search engines), here: http://www.dmoz.org/Arts/Literature/Poetry/Forms/Haiku_and_Related_Forms/Tanka.

Saijiki  Eventually, I hope to build an extensive online saijiki. In the meantime, this link takes you to a listing of the 500 Essential Seasonwords, compiled by Yamamoto Kenkichi and translated by Kris Young Kondo and William J. Higginson, on my Renku Home Web site. The URL is http://haikai.2hweb.net/renku/500ESWd.html.

Links  Takes you to the Open Directory's "Haiku and Related Forms" page, with immediate access to well over200 links to Web resources on all manner of haiku-related subjects. (I am an editor of this page and its subcategories.) The URL of the page is http://dmoz.org/Arts/Literature/Poetry/Forms/Haiku_and_Related_Forms/.

Lessons  Takes you to my page describing my services as a private, online haiku instructor. You're welcome to look, but at present I am unable to take on additional students. The URL is http://wordfield.2hweb.net//.

Reviews  Takes you to my personal Web site, where I have posted a number of reviews of books relating to haiku and poetry in general, as well as occasionally other books in my areas of interest. Most of these reviews have been published previously in print media, such as literary journals and newspapers. The URL is http://wjhigginson.home.att.net/.

Glossary  This page is under development. My plan is that, unless otherwise indicated or in a menu, clicking on a linked word in the body of a document on this web site will take you to its entry in the glossary. Meanwhile, you may wish to look at the extensive glossary at the end of the article "Link and Shift: A Practical Guide to Renku Composition", by Tadashi Kondô and William J. Higginson, on my Renku Home Web site. The URL is http://www.2hweb.net/haikai/renku/Link_Shift.html#Japanese_Terms.

Professional Bio  I am a professional poet, translator, reviewer and literary historian, as well as public speaker and workshop leader. If you are not already familiar with my work in the field of haiku and poetry in general, you may be interested in my brief biography and CV, on my Renku Home Web site at http://www.2hweb.net/haikai/renku/bios.html#Higginson.

Changes and new material appear here every month or two, so drop around every now and then to see what's new.

Note: Technically, tanka is not part of the haikai genre in Japan, where tanka poets tend to have their own clubs, in part because the tanka has its direct forebears in the waka tradition that begins with the very origins of Japanese literature, before the eighth century c.e. Haikai—as we are using the term on this web site—began much more recently, most scholars would say in the sixteenth century. However, today, most Japanese newspapers and popular magazines that regularly include tanka also include both haiku and senryu, each in its own dedicated space, all on the same page. Meanwhile, there is much interest in tanka among poets writing in other languages, in which it is frequently associated with haiku and related genres; so this web site will include a tanka section. See that section for more on the historical connections between tanka, linked poetry, and haikai.