Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Carpe Diem Ask Jane ... #1,

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

It's my pleasure to publish the first episode of our new Carpe Diem Haiku Kai feature "Ask Jane ..." I just received it by mail. In this episode Jane answers a question by Managua Hamish Gunn. Have fun!
PS. Do you have questions for Jane Reichhold? Than you can email them to our special emailaddress:

I will take care for forwarding it to Jane.



Hi Jane,

 I have read a lot from Jane's website over the years, but I was wondering what definable concept, makes a haiku. Is it definable? Is almost any verse of three lines definable as a haiku, or should the reader experience more than three lines that have a certain style? As I said, I read a lot on her website - and followed as possible many of the suggestions, but was wondering at what stage a haiku can be termed thus. Managua Hamish Gunn

Dear Managua,

Yes, I believe it is possible to define what a haiku is. The problem comes when each of us has a different definition of the form and we are liable to change our minds from month to month depending on what we have read and admired. That makes it hard to chisel it in stone! and brings grief to publishers or leaders who only want one definition.
I feel it is best if each serious writer of haiku becomes acquainted with the various styles and methods in which others have written haiku and then, from this knowledge creates his or her own haiku parameters.
Here is the article with the 65 various “rules” of haiku ( ) so you can choose which ones you want to follow. Anytime you see someone else using other rules, and you like that work, you are encouraged to change your own rules and try new haiku in that style.
You also ask “Is almost any verse of three lines definable as a haiku, or should the reader experience more than three lines that have a certain style?”
The answer is firm no. I find other kinds of poetry written in three lines which I do not consider to be haiku such as aphorisms, anagrams, and short poetry which includes one-line haiku which keep none of ‘my’ rules.
1. To be a haiku I feel the poem must be written in two parts which I call the phrase and fragment. You can read the complete article on the subject at:
2. A haiku is written in the present tense and handles only one point in time – the now of the action.
3. Some facet of nature is included or even the focus of the poem.
4. The poem uses at least of one of your own senses – hearing, touching, smelling, tasting, seeing, and less often –thinking, feeling, knowing.
5. Haiku avoids personalization which means making some aspect of nature into an activity done by a person – ‘the moon dances on the far hill.’
6. If you find yourself using persons in your haiku, you might think of using this inspiration for a tanka where this kind of thinking fits better.
7. My opinion only for my work - I believe haiku should be used to uplift the spirits.  Not everyone agrees with me and that is okay, but I feel the world offers us so much beauty, it is a shame to ignore it. Haiku opened my eyes to the wonder of the world so I tend to keep it there.

The marvelous aspect of haiku is, being such a short form of poetry, it has the most rules, options, and variations of how to do it. Thus, there is always something new to learn!
Blessings on your journey!

 \o/ Jane


  1. Wonderful! And thank you so much.

  2. Great question Amish, covered all the bases. After reading the response from Miss Reichold I don't know what I have been writing. But I have been having fun! LOL.

  3. In total agreement with Mrs. Reichhold's list. Especially the #1 rule: Fragment and phase.

    If you can learn fragment and phase your haiku will tighten up and catch fire!

    What a great question, Hamish Gunn and I thank you kindly for asking it.

  4. Thanks you Jane - and also Hamish and Chevrefeuille. :)

  5. Thank you so much Jane for your inspiration and to Hamish for the great question

  6. I'm still thinking of my question, Kristjaan -- just thinking of something that won't make Jane think I'm a total idiot o.O

    Where to start .... where to start??