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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

August 12, 2004

haiku glossary — by jim kacian

Filed under: — David Giacalone @ 5:48 pm


First Thoughts–A Haiku Primer

(draft, 2005; title subject to change)

Jim Kacian is editor of Red Moon Press a glimpse of red

co-founder of the World Haiku Society; former editor of

frogpond, journal of the Haiku Society of America.


caesura—a pause or breathing place, usually in the middle of a line, and indicating a pause in the sense or meaning of the line.

choka—long poem (also nagauta) in contradistinction to waka (short poem, which includes haiku and tanka).

haibun—haikai writing of many sorts; contemporaneously, a combination of (often poetic) prose and haiku (or senryu or zappai).

haiga—haiku painting; the combination of image and text, often simple and sketch-like, where each element enhances the character of the other.

haikai—as contemporarily used, haiku and related forms, such as renku, sequences, etc. Classically, suggesting irregular and/or comic poetic forms.

haiku–a brief poem in 1 to 4 lines, often concerned with nature or the human experience, and usually juxtaposing a pair of images; at its best, it fosters a resonance which deepens over time.

hiragana—one of the two syllabaries, along with katakana, and collectively called kana, used in writing the Japanese language. Hiragana is the more traditional, and was originated, according to popular legend, by the Buddhist bhodisattva (enlightened being) Kobo Daishi in the 9th century A.D.

hokku—the opening verse of a renga or haikai sequence, sometimes composed independent of its linked usage; the forerunner of haiku.


ikebana—flower arrangement in one of many Japanese styles.

Jizo—the Japanese name for the Mahayana Buddhist bhodisattva Kshitigarbha. He is especially concerned with the welfare of the dead, and is the special protector of dead children, as well as being concerned with roads and mountains. Shrines to Jizo are found throughout Japan

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