One-Line haiku or Monoku:
Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,
On a regular base I am getting questions about haiku. Siggi of Maine for example asked me 'Why do our classical haiku masters write their haiku in one vertical or horizontal line? In the Western world we write haiku in three sentences?
This Carpe Diem lecture will, hopefully, give answers to that question.
In classical Japan writing was on Vertical strips of rice paper, that's why our classical haiku masters wrote their haiku in one line.By the way the One-Line haiku is also called 'Monoku'. During the decennia this changed into a Horizontal way of writing more related to the Western way of writing, but the classics stayed on to write their haiku in one-line.
When haiku came to the Western world many scientist of literature said that haiku could be written in three lines. It was in 1973 that the 'Haiku Society of America' who set the tone for the way we are writing our haiku nowadays in three lines with respectively 5-7-5 syllables (a total of 17 syllables which is the same as the characters ('no') in the Japanese haiku).
In the Western world there are several haiku-poets who are experimenting with the form of haiku, less syllables, less lines and so on. As you may know I write my haiku mostly with more or less than 17 syllables, which is called Kanshicho and was used several years by Basho.
In our Western world we have so called 'One-liners', for example a 'One-liner' by Kennedy when he was visiting Berlin "Ich bin ein Berliner", or what do you think of this 'One-liner': "I have a dream". This was said by Marten Luther King. So 'One-liners' aren't that strange in our Western world. So why do we write our haiku in three lines?
It's the Western custom for writing haiku as stated by the Haiku Society of America in 1973. So let us look to a few haiku written in both ways as the traditional 'One-Line' and as the Western 'Three-Line'.
a pebble bounches a few times
I feel a giant
Can we read this as one sentence? Yes we can ('yes we can' THE 'one-liner' by Obama!':-)). And this haiku written in the Western way looks awesome too.
a frog jumps in
the sound of water
I hope you had something at this Carpe Diem Lecture on 'One-Line'- haiku or 'Monoku'. Well ... it was fun to write this article and I learned something myself too. I had never heard of that name 'Monoku'. Well ... I start looking around for a new Carpe Diem lecture ... 'till ... have fun with this one.