Very simple way
to practice, think in English
Just write a haiku
What’s a Haiku?
A haiku is a Japanese poem with three lines.
The first line has five syllables, the second line has seven syllables, and the third line has five syllables again: 5-7-5.
One of my favorite silly haikus is on a Threadless t-shirt:
Haikus are easy
But sometimes they don’t make sense.
Why write haikus in English?
It can feel hard to write in English! I know, I feel the same way about writing in Spanish or French. Practice is the only way it will feel easier.
Since haikus are so short, they’re approachable. If you write one haiku in English today, you’ll write and think in English. Excellent!
You’ll work with syllables.
Clearly, you will need to know a bit about English syllables to write a haiku. But you will learn more about syllables by writing!
The site How Many Syllables? is very useful when you’re unsure. It tells you both the total number of syllables in a word/phrase and what they are.
You’ll learn synonyms.
Let’s say you want to use the word “awesome” (2 syllables) but only have room for one syllable. You need a synonym!
When this happens, use thesaurus.com to find words with the same meaning, but with more or less syllables.
Write a Haiku (.com)
Don’t worry, writing a haiku is super easy with the site “Write a Haiku.”
Here’s what the home page looks like:
Here’s their sample haiku, broken into syllables:
Sum-mer is o-ver (5)
A new school year starts a-gain (7)
As you write, it will show the total number of syllables on the right of the line. If the number is too low for that line, it will be in red:
When it’s the correct number of syllables for that line, the number will be grey:
And when you finish writing a haiku, the fish at the bottom becomes colorful!
- You can listen to (~5 min.) or read this NPR story about haikus on Twitter.
- @DailyKu tweets a haiku twice a day. Note: Since most of these are translated from Japanese, the syllables might not be 5-7-5 in English.
- Participate in haiku email, where you only send emails in haikus!
- Start your own 30-day or 100-day project! Write a haiku every day for 30 days.
- Share your haikus on Twitter with the hashtag #haiku. You can also browse and read others’ haikus here.
Thank you for reading! Now go write a haiku. Yes, now! Share it as a comment below or on Twitter (@EnglishWithRebe).