[Haskell-cafe] Re: Haskell haikus

Richard O'Keefe ok at cs.otago.ac.nz
Sun Dec 7 21:21:06 EST 2008

On 8 Dec 2008, at 3:06 pm, Thomas Davie wrote:

> On 8 Dec 2008, at 03:02, Richard O'Keefe wrote:
>> It's proving remarkably hard to pin down just
>> what a "Haiku" is supposed to be in English.
>> Taking the 3-5-3 syllable pattern, how about
>> Soft rain falls
>> while Haskell infers
>> all my types.
> I always thought that
> Haikus had a seven five
> seven pattern, no?

(1) It's 5-7-5.
(2) Those numbers are not SYLLABLE counts but MORA counts.
     (See the Wikipedia article on Haiku.)
(3) According to http://www.ahapoetry.com/keirule.htm,
     "Today, many bilingual poets and translators in the mainstream
      North American haiku scene agree that something in the vicinity
      of 11 English syllables is a suitable approximation
      of 17 Japanese syllables, in order to convey about the same
      amount of information as well as the brevity and the fragmented
      quality found in Japanese haiku.  As to the form, some American
      poets advocate writing in 3-5-3 syllables or 2-3-2 accented  

There is also a Wikipedia article "Haiku in English",
which states that
     "It is impossible to single out any current style or format or
      subject matter as definitive.  Some of the more common
      practices in English are:
	* Use of three (or fewer) lines of 17 or fewer syllables;
	* Use of a season word (kigo);
	* Use of a cut or kireji (sometimes indicated by a punctuation
           mark) to contrast and compare, implicitly, two events,  
           or situations.
      The average length of the haiku appearing in the main
      English-language journals is about 13 syllables; few have a
      symmetrical line arrangement such as 5-7-5 or 3-6-3.
      Instead, current haiku poets (haijin) are more concerned with
      their haiku being expressed in 'one breath' and the extent to
      which the two phrases focus on description ("showing" as
      opposed to "telling") and not on having a "correct" syllable  

The rain reference is my kigo, and 'while' is my kireji.  I think.
I also _think_ it fits the "one breath" criterion, but what do I know?

In my room
  Haskell humbles me;
Look, green leaves!

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