International Haiku Poetry Day

haiku poetry
today celebrates the art
of five seven five
Katsushika, Hokusai, Artist. Teahouse at Koishikawa the morning after a snowfall. [Between 1890 and 1940] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2008661015/>.

Another fun observance of National Poetry Month is International Haiku Poetry Day! Today celebrates reading and writing of the traditional poetry form in addition to encouraging the study of it as an aspect of Japanese culture and history. This observance is the collaborative effort of Sari Grandstaff, its founder, and the National Poetry Foundation, its sponsor. 

Haiku is an ancient art form which dates back to the 1200s in Japan. But its structure and history are more complex than the simple 5-7-5 stanzas which are often seen today. The word and style of haiku come from the combination of other forms of Japanese poetry, haikai and hokku. How did this type of poem have such a long lasting impact and become enduringly popular in English language poetry, you may wonder. The answer lies in its simple format and historical significance in depicting the natural world and encouraging its writer to draw upon the senses when doing so

Looking for Digital Library Resources?

  • My First Book of Haiku Poems: A Picture, a Poem and a Dream; Classic Poems by Japanese Haiku Masters (Bilingual English and Japanese Texts by Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen
  • Write Your Own Haiku for Kids: Write Poetry in the Japanese Tradition – Easy Step-by-Step Instructions to Compose Simple Poems by Patricia Donegan
  • Walden by Haiku by Ian Marshall
  • How to Read a Japanese Poem by Steven D. Carter
  • Idly Scribbling Rhymers: Poetry, Print, and Community in Nineteenth-Century Japan by Robert Tuck


Science News
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Building Vocabulary with Fruit Haiku from Teaching Channel Video Library

Utagawa, Kunisada, Artist, and Hiroshige Andō. Fūryū Genji Yuki No Nagame. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2002700023/>.

Browsing the Library

Tips for Browsing the Stacks

Haikus are a form of traditional Japanese poetry, so most resources on the topic will be found in the classifications of literature and/ or Japan & Japanese culture. For books about Japan during the time period that haiku was emerging and gaining popularity, browse DS801-897 for history of Japan. Most of the material on the subject will fall under PL700-889 for Japanese language and literature. As the classification of literature is ordered by the author’s country of origin and time period, that is an important aspect of searching. For haikus written originally in English, check PS for American literature or PR for English literature. Additional resources might be found in PN241-241.5 for translating literature. 

Andō, Hiroshige, Artist. Fūkeiga
. [Between 1900 and 1940, from an earlier print] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2008660517/>.

Selections from the Children’s Section

  • How to Write Haiku and Other Short Poems by Paul B. Janeczko
  • If Not For the Cat by Jack Prelutsky
  • Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told In Haiku by Lee Wardlaw
  • Black Swan/White Crow by J. Patrick Lewis
  • The Way Of Silence: The Prose And Poetry Of Basho by Bashō Matsuo

From the Web

In Need of Some Primary Sources?

Current Resources

Ishikawa, Toyonobu, Artist. Hanging Poems on a Cherry Tree. [, Printed Later] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2008680291/>.

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