Haikus from 日本語六

In Ms. Hasegawa's Japanese 6 class, students were given the daunting task of writing a poem in Japanese - however, this was not just any poem!

The haiku is a distinguished art form which arrived in its recognizable, poetic form in the 17th century. Originally called hokku, the haiku is commonly distinguished by three characteristics:

  • A "cutting" (kiru) of ideas by using the juxaposition of two images and a kireii ("cutting word") between them, which creates meaning.
  • 17 on (also called morae, "syllables") in three phrases of 5, 7 and 5 syllables.
  • A kigo (seasonal reference), usually drawn from a saijiki, an extensive but defined list of such words.

Modern haikus can deviate in the 5-7-5 form and the restriction of seasonal themes (although these are both still commonly accepted as tradition), but the "cutting" of ideas remains an important part of haiku structure.

Here are the haikus of LaGuardia's Japanese students - some include kigo, some do not, but they all use the 5-7-5 format and eloquently use the parallelisms of traditional haikus. The original poems are included in Japanese, and their literal translations are to the right.  

The poets are Radhia Rahman, Charlotte Force, Lily Pisano, Emma Patterson, Zishun Lin, Ewa Nowogorski, Flora Tse, Ariana Mohabir, Ally Li, Joshua Rickman, Emily Ruan, Nicole Sambat, Sara Diaz, Ausar Bennett, Vickie Yuen, and Annie Song (all from period 8 Japanese).