A New Perspective on Haiku
Most of the haiku are written in three lines, but in the postmodern age we find several variants also:one-word haiku, three-word haiku, single line haiku and five lines haiku.
The significant thingfor a haiku poet to remember is not the number of lines he has chosen for his haiku.The most important thing for a haiku poet is to have passion for truth, beauty and spiritual power. Great haiku poets always create ‘haiku moment’ that with its delicate rainbow hues produces an extraordinary emotional hold on the readers. In the poetry of Homer, Sophocles, Virgil, Dante and Shakespearewe find this ‘haiku moment’ though they didn’t write haiku. This is precisely the case with the following immortal lines uttered by Lear with Cordelia’s dead body in his arms in Shakespeare’s King Lear: Thou’it come no more Never, never, never, never, never!
Moreover, it must be added that the use of 'kigo' (season word) should not be mandatory for writing a genuine haiku.
Ban’ya Natsuishi has widened the territory of haiku by writing haiku concerned with human condition. He is not confined to nature or season-word. Ban’ya wisely points out: “On the other hand, there are muki haiku, non-seasonal poem, whose keywords are not connected to seasonal aspects. It is a new style of expression in contemporary haiku. Freed from seasonal limitations, contemporary muki haiku have been enriched and expanded with keywords that indicate all living things (animals, plants, and any natural phenomenon), human beings themselves and the culture created
Sayumi Kamakura, one of the finest contemporary haiku poets, holding the same opinion, pointed out in an interview: “When I first began writing haiku, I was taught that a haiku poem had to contain season words. To be quite blunt, a poem was considered a haiku only if it contained season words. Should this criterion really hold? Season words are still merely words. As long as they are words, then the emotions the author attempts to convey with them should take precedence over the words themselves. The Japanese haiku that has touched me are those where the author's true sentiments burst from the words. What is most important in haiku is how much true feeling is included in the poem.”
Moreover, the most significant thing which creates great haiku is not blind adherence to 5-7-5 pattern. Ban’ya aptly remarks: “Perhaps there is no overseas language for which Japanese form of 5, 7 and 5 syllables has a fully poetical reason and effect, except Chinese” ( World Haiku No. 4:77). A rigid pursuit of “holy seven” is not enough to write creative haiku.