International Haiku Poetry Day, an initiative of The Haiku Foundation, celebrates the art form every April 17. A haiku is an ancient form of Japanese poetry that consists of three lines with the syllable structure “five-seven-five” — although this is contested for being a western way of teaching the haiku. Japanese haikus also count sounds, not only syllables. Haikus typically revolve around nature, the passing of seasons, or ephemeral beauty. At the risk of sounding like your high school English teacher, they rely more on images than metaphors. They’re also very concise, due to their short length. Try one!
International Haiku Poetry Day timeline
During this era, it is a social requirement to learn and be fluent in Chinese- and Japanese poetry.
Japanese poetry undergoes a rebirth, with a rise in lighter poetry called ‘haikai.’
The Japanese haiku as it is found today is perfected by the poet Matsuo Bashō.
The form of poetry known as ‘haiku’ becomes officially known by this name.
International Haiku Poetry Day Activities
Attend an event
The Haiku Foundation hosts many events on this day, such as readings, exhibitions, and competitions. It also sponsors the HaikuLife Haiku Film Festival, Earthrise Rolling Haiku Collaboration, and several international gatherings.
Read the classics
Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694) is perhaps the greatest haiku poet of all time. Read his work to understand what's possible, and set your standards high.
Write your own!
Anybody can write a haiku — although writing a good one is tricky. Check out examples online for inspiration, and try reciting a few out loud for a sense of flow. Share your work by using the hashtag #NationalHaikuPoetryDay and make sure to tag us @NatlToday!
Why We Love International Haiku Poetry Day
Rules encourage creativity
Although the rules of haiku may seem restrictive, they actually foster creativity, by triggering the brain's problem solving center.
Haikus are over 400 years old
The haiku form became popular in 17th century Japan, and was tied into the practice of zen meditation.
Brevity is the essence of witHaikus are so short
Poets must count ev'ry word
Fewer lines = more punch!
International Haiku Poetry Day dates