April 17 – National Haiku Poetry Day

Posted on April 17, 2015

Way back in 2011, I informed everyone that December 22 is National Haiku Poetry Day

However, in 2007 Sari Grandstaff registered April 17 as an “unofficial” National day, and in 2012 is was publicized as a part of a project for The Haiku Foundation.

And of course, why not celebrate both dates?

April is National Poetry Month in the United States,  so celebrating haiku poetry during the month seems like a great idea. This short poetry form originated in Japan and normally has 3 short lines with the syllable pattern 5-7-5.

Most haiku are inspired by some aspect of nature: a gorgeous glimpse of a dew-decked spider web, perhaps, or the bright colors of some fallen leaves.

Because they are so short and structured, and because they are usually about nature, haiku poems are easier for most people to write than a more general assignment like, “Write a poem.”

It's worth noting that many people writing haiku in English don't follow the strict 5-7-5 syllable pattern. Also, many of our examples of Haiku poems are translations that of course do not in all cases have the same numbers of syllables.

Here is an example from the first great poet of haiku, Basho Matsuo (1600s):

Autumn moonlight—
a worm digs silently
into the chestnut.

And this is from Yosa Buson (1700s):

Light of the moon
Moves west, flowers' shadows
Creep eastward.

Finally, I really like this Kobayaski Issa haiku (early 1800s):

O snail,
Climb Mount Fuji,
But slowly, slowly!

  • KidZone suggests writing “What am I?” haiku such as this riddle:

    What Am I?
Green and speckled legs,
Hop on logs and lily pads
Splash in cool water.

  • Or try “haiku paintings” or “musical haikus.” Scholastic has some great suggestions... 

Also on this date:

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