1. amorgan3
    Offline

    amorgan3 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2009
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    5

    Haiku and Morae

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by amorgan3, Dec 9, 2009.

    Hey all,

    I was always under the impression that haiku were written in a 5-7-5 syllable format. It just recently came to my attention when I began to get into some English language haiku that this pattern clearly was not being followed. Now, I've done some searching on the definition of a mora, but despite all that I've read, I still can't seem to grasp the concept.

    Does anyone know precisely how to measure a mora? It's really bothering me. =\
     
  2. arron89
    Offline

    arron89 Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2008
    Messages:
    2,460
    Likes Received:
    91
    Location:
    Auckland
    The explanation for why the structure isn't followed is far simpler than the one you're searching for (and certainly doesn't necessitate an advanced understanding of linguistics!). In Japanese, haiku, by definition, follow that pattern of 5-7-5 syllables. In translation, however, we are faced with the problem of deciding how best to convey the meaning of the poem. Some choose to value the form over the content, and retain the 5-7-5 format but may be forced to compromise the original meaning of the poem in doing so. Others may choose to deviate from the given structure in order to better communicate the content of the poem. For that reason, in languages other than the original Japanese, haiku often deviate from the formula. Since these versions have become popular in the non-Japanese world, many poets writing haiku in English (mistakenly) believe they need not adhere to the structure since the poems they've read do not. While it is forgivable to call an English translation of a haiku a haiku (even though it isn't, strictly speaking), a poem written in English that does not adhere to the 5-7-5 format is not technically a haiku.

    Though amateur poets everywhere will try to convince you otherwise ;)
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Evil Flamingo
    Offline

    Evil Flamingo Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2009
    Messages:
    3,298
    Likes Received:
    27
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Yeah I've always followed the course that if it doesn't adhere to the 5-7-5, it's not a haiku. That has been the standard formula, for who knows how long, by the Japanese.
     
  4. amorgan3
    Offline

    amorgan3 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2009
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    5
    I feel so much better now, haha. Thanks a lot, bro.
     
  5. Kas
    Offline

    Kas Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    The ***hole of the world
    I always thought the whole point of writing haikus in English would be the challenge imposed by restrictions. If you relax the rules, doesn't that just lessen the challenge and defeat the purpose? Like cheating at a game.

    Sometimes it seems the writing industry is overrun by cheaters.
     
  6. Etan Isar
    Offline

    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2007
    Messages:
    1,183
    Likes Received:
    32


    Actually, Japanese haiku aren't based on syllables. It's one count for every (C)V and two for every (C)VN.


    I do agree that 5-7-5 is the appropriate syllable count for English haiku, although not the only requirement.
     
  7. amorgan3
    Offline

    amorgan3 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2009
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    5
    (C)V, (C)VN? Sorry, it's been awhile since I've dealt with literary abbreviations. Transitive/Intransitive?
     
  8. Etan Isar
    Offline

    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2007
    Messages:
    1,183
    Likes Received:
    32
    Japanese syllables are either a vowel, a consonant and a vowel, or a consonant, a vowel, and an "m" "n" or "ng". V=vowel C=consonant "N"= m, n, or ng. () mean optional.
     

Share This Page