Haiku Tip #1.5


This week I thought I’d cover capitalization and since it is a short topic will write another one later.


I look back at my earlier haiku and see that I used standard rules I learned in English class. But now after reading many books and other works I have a better understanding of the use of capitalization. Below are a few simple tips to keep in mind.

1. Try and keep capitalization as unobtrusive as possible.

2. Capitalizing the first word of a haiku is like a neon sign advertising a poem is coming.

3. If a capital is used within the body of the poem it can detract from the simpleness that should be inherit in a haiku.

Personally I feel, currently, that only the pronoun “I” needs to be capitalized and I am considering going e.e cummings for a while and seeing how that goes too.

I hope this gives you food for thought and helps you along your journey.

Blyth, R.H: History of Haiku 1964
Gurga, Lee: Haiku: A Poets Guide Modern Haiku Press, 2003
Higginson, William: The Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Share, and Teach Haiku McGraw-Hill, 1985

About fiercebuddhist

Welcome. I am happy that our paths have crossed. Here you will find various poems, articles and photography. I hope that you enjoy them and visit often. I am currently working on writing “A Haiku A Day” so that I can, perhaps, have enough good ones for publication. If you are wondering what a “Fierce Buddhist” the following declaration should clarify. The “Fierce” in FierceBuddhist I define as “an obligation to do what I can to benefit all sentient beings, not just those close to me or those I agree with. If I see something or someone that is hurting others I must step forward and do what I can to assist them.” In the Army and in the dojo I learned how to defend myself, family and country but that does not mean I endorse the use of force. Two nonviolent examples of Fierce Buddhists that come to mind are Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama. While I do not claim be even close to them I can strive and so can you. Furthermore, my Buddhist name, given to me by Sensei Kubose, is Seiyo. His interpretation of my communication and interaction with him led him to this name. He told me Seiyo means “Fierce Sun.” The sun shines on everyone without prejudices without giving preferential treatment to anyone. This is tough to live up to, as you can imagine, but it sure sets the tone for my life. In Buddhism this is called a Fierce Bodhisattva. I am only on the path to Enlightenment and can only say to be a Fierce Buddhist.

2 responses »

  1. thanks! I’ve been wondering myself about using capitalization in haiku–it doesn’t seem like it belongs there. I really need to get another book about haiku and study the form more as I truly enjoy writing it the best.

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