At Carpe Diem Haiku Kai I published several lectures on haiku and renga, here is one of those lectures.
What is haiku?
Haiku is, what we call, the shortest poem on the world. It's an original Japanese poem. Haiku as we know it now has its roots in the Renga. A Renga was a game of poetry and it was a 'hit' at the Emperor's Court. Renga, also called Renku, Bound Verse or Linked Poem, was a 'game' in which (mainly) poets wrote long chains of poems. Renga started with a 'hokku' (starting verse) and had also strict rules, but that's maybe something for another 'lecture'. The hokku was a three lined verse with 5-7-5 syllables (or characters) and it mostly was a verse that had a double meaning. So with the starting verse the Renga could go in two ways. The game of Renga was to write hai ('question') and kai ('answer') in turns. Sometimes a Renga was played with big groups of poets and could …