Arti Agarwal | What Haiku Can Tell Us About Creativity
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What Haiku Can Tell Us About Creativity

Nature by Ossi Petruska

What Haiku Can Tell Us About Creativity

Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry, that gets you out of your thinking hat and onto your offbeat trail of thoughts.

Haiku is not only a form of poetry, it is a way of thinking.

While you could be haiku-ing about practically anything, in any language, the original poetic form had certain rules which were to be adhered to, to get a piece of haiku “right”.

Though a form of poetry, Haiku can be a way to realign your thinking. It can even be used as a technique to get your mind out of its usual rut. Even when we think of writing poetry, the mind usually runs towards the a-b-a-c and similar kind of rhyme schemes, or simple prose. Not so with Haiku. It requires a certain kind of training for your mind, not just to write Haiku, but also to observe and think exactly what you are going to write about.

In the strict sense, Haiku must be themed around nature, though many variations exist on the internet. It is a really really short poem (a mere 10-14 syllables in total), with few words, and a lot of meaning.

Here is a few things writing Haiku can teach us about creativity:

1. Rules Can Be Good

Haiku is considered by many to be the shortest form of poetry with the maximum number of rules! Though we usually tend to think that rules limit creativity, that is not necessarily always the case. Many a time, that brings out hidden talents and potential in a person. The many rules of Haiku are important tools to train the mind to think along a different path.

2. Brevity is the Soul of Wit

Haiku is written in just a few words, and must necessarily have a deeper or less explicit meaning to it. It comprises of both – what the words say, and what they don’t say. The real creativity of the poet lies in composing the words in a way, as to say a whole lot more than what is said.

3. Do, Re-do, Re-re-do

Very rarely does anyone get a Haiku right at one go. Writing Haiku gives us, in small bits, the lesson of re-doing your work several times. It almost forces you to lost your attachment to your composition, discard it, and come up with something new again and yet again. It makes us realize, that having the inability to discard your own creative expression prevents us from exploring any further hidden creative ability.

4. “As usual, you see, but you don’t observe”

To write a Haiku about nature, or anything linked with nature, you need to observe. While that is required for any kind of poetry, when it comes to writing Haiku, because you can write only so much, you are forced to observe and think. Only after a lot of observation, can the subject for the Haiku be chosen, a subject which can be articulated into 14 syllables.

5. Don’t Connect the Dots

Haiku is written in three short phrases, out of which, there is a shift in the subject between two of the phrases. Though a simple rule by itself, it can sometimes be tricky to stop your mind from connecting everything it sees, without really disconnecting everything. It makes us aware of how quickly we connect subjects, events, happenings, in a pre-determined way. This default connection can sometimes be a huge roadblock to come up with a novel way of approaching a subject which has been studied several times before.

6. Doing, for the Sake of Doing

Many a time, in the effort of doing something creative, we forget the very reason, the very thing that inspires us to be creative: fulfillment. Many people get lost in the rat race of progress, getting appreciation, getting profits, getting a fan following, and forget the main reason why they took up some creative work on their day one. Haiku is a gentle, and poetic reminder of that. You will not get any “gains” from writing Haiku – just fulfillment.

 

Flickr Photo by Ossi Petruska

References:

Poetic Form: Haiku

How to Write a Haiku Poem

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