The Allure of Haiku

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April 14, 2016 – It’s summer here in the Philippines. Like most summers in my life, this summer is a bummer (I have a new poem coming up with this title). I’m about to take summer classes and I’m not a studious person. So I rarely have anything to do during brief vacant times. So I search the App Store for fun apps to kill my time and alas! I found this awesome app “HaikuJAM!” (Yes, free advertisement for you here. Not much traffic yet though, so thank me later.)

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HaikuJAM is a social poetry experience, inspired by the Ancient Japanese art of Haiku. Connect with three people, anywhere in the world and write poetry or create photo haiku together.

The best thing about this app is that it is collaborative(or sometimes worst thing, especially when they’re dumb), which means that you will be connected to 2 other poets randomly and you will each contribute one line to complete a Haiku. They call each session a JAM. (For more info, check out their app page or download the damn app.)

Now the description didn’t clearly state what a Haiku is and so I thought it merely meant “poem” in Japanese. So during my first JAMs, I’ve always tried to make my line rhyme with the others, until a japanese lady (who probably stalked me a lot for her to notice) that I was trying too hard to make my lines rhyme and told me it’s good but unnecessary. (Arigato for not being condescending japanese lady. Sayonara!)

So I did a bit of research on what a Haiku is (actually just googled then read wikipedia’s page), and so I found out that it usually doesn’t rhyme and originally has a 5-7-5 format. Meaning, 5 syllables on the first and third line while 7 on the middle. The HaikuJAM app however, allows you to write 5-7-5 words instead, regardless of syllables. Traditionally, the topics for haikus usually involves nature but modern day haikus are now tackling any topic under the sun. (Figuratively. Yes, you can write about outer space.)

I continued using the app today and it took most of my time. As I kept JAMing out, I slowly but surely fell in love with haiku. The right word to describe it would be “alluring”. I’m not exactly sure about the reason why. Perhaps, the limited amount of words you can use adds to that sense of mystery. People have to be very brief with what they type, so you’ll never know if there’s something more they could’ve written on a normal poem. No, that’s not it. I think what attracts me the most is its simplicity. It’s so simple yet so beautiful. It’s like a bubble, or chocolate, or a pony. (What the heck am I saying?) Furthermore, I think it also tests one’s poetry skills, for I believe it takes a great poet to effectively reach out despite limited amount of words/syllables.

Oh wait, I think the best thing about it is it’s short and it really works for a lazy writer like me. Yes, that’s probably it. Haha. Kidding.

Anyways, it’s really fun and beautiful but don’t just take my word for it, try it yourself. I’ll post some of my own haikus here anytime soon. Feel free to send me your works as well. I would greatly appreciate it! (If it’s worth appreciating, that is!)

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