The new haiku is an “instant” form of brief verse can be written by anyone from child to professional. Present-day writers have dropped virtually all of the traditional standards, emphasizing personal freedom and pursuing ongoing experimentation, exploration and innovation in both form and subject matter.
Because of the great number of different views and practices today, it is impossible to characterize any current single style or format or subject matter as definitive “haiku.” The term has broadened greatly in modern usage to cover any short verse descended in spirit from the reforms of Shiki. Nonetheless, some of the more common practices are:
Use of three lines written in five-seven-five English syllables;
Use of three (or fewer) lines of no more than 17 syllables in total;
Use of metrical feet rather than syllables. A haiku then becomes three lines of 2, 3, and 2 metrical feet, with a break or pause after the second or fifth;
Use of the “one deep breath” rule: the reader should be able to read the haiku aloud without taking a second breath.
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