#81 of #365 A Prompt A Day For Bee ~ Season Words

December 2018

Four years ago I learned that writing haiku can be a bit of a controversial practice…

August 2014

Yesterday I wrote I would have a closer look at the season words in Haiku which are called Kigo in Japanese. Ki means here “season” and go “word” even though this expression has not been used before the beginning of the 20th century.

Again cultural differences

Again we have a problem with the cultural differences between Japan and western countries: The mention of the seasons has a big part in Japanese poetry ever since the Japanese have started writing poetry. Therefore a lot of expressions automatically create a complex impression in a Japanese reader of an original Haiku

Discussions about the importance of season words

There seems to be a discussion going on in Japan on how important Kigos still are in traditional Haiku though. There is also a discussion going on about how much of an importance Kigos are in HAIKU of other traditions. There are viable HAIKU which do not use a season word, but a “keyword” which makes sense to me.

My understanding of writing haiku

As I understand the writing of a HAIKU at this moment in time is that there is a line with a word or expression that creates an image or atmosphere in the reader’s mind. The next two lines juxtapose this image with a subject and an action which in turn are an image or atmosphere. This can also be turned around that the key image comes in the last line.

A variety of understanding a poem

I personally like the reference to a season and I do not find it a problem that seasons are different in different parts of the world. You might not understand the haiku in the way it was written, but it will give you your own interpretation and therefore an experience of “understanding”.

I believe Hilde Domin was right who said that as soon as a poem is read its meaning will change according to the life experience the reader brings into the poem. As soon as a poet publishes a poem, it changes in a way into what the reader makes of it.

I like using kigo

Personally, I think I will try to use season words as it gives me a challenge to be more open and more observant of nature. But I like reading haiku of other interpretations as well.


Harvested field

children’s kites fly

happily over

Resource: Kigo: Season words in haiku ~ Hubpages

3 thoughts on “#81 of #365 A Prompt A Day For Bee ~ Season Words

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