Boost Your Haiku High-Q: How to Write a Haiku Infographic

One of my kids found me in the midst of this project the other day, and what followed was a bit of spirited discourse over whether my assertion was true that haiku is poetry, not a math problem. He’d been taught haiku as a straight-up 5-7-5 triplet. I won, of course, because I’m the parent. And besides, I’d done the research. I laid my “You don’t speak Japanese” trump card on the desk and he left my office grumbling.

It seems when Bashō encouraged would-be poets to “learn the rules and then forget them,” he knew there would be far more views on how to write haiku than syllables in the compact poetic form. We’ve gathered up the best advice in this helpful haiku infographic to help you Boost Your Haiku High-Q.

I have to tell you. When I read that one haiku expert suggested haiku was “not fun,” I knew he’d never visited Tweetspeak. We broke that rule right out of the gate.

haiku infographic

Read related posts about writing and reading haiku.

Check out our other infographics, from how to write a sonnet to Pride and Prejudice.

Post by L.W. Lindquist.


Buy How to Read a Poem

How to Read a Poem by Tania Runyan


  1. says

    Outstanding. I’ll pull this up in writing class next week to help launch our poetry unit.

    Yes, after a grueling year of essays and research papers, we are ending the year with a unit on poetry.

    Music to your ears?

    • L. L. Barkat says

      Phew. We made an infographic usable in the classroom :) This might be a first. 😉

      Totally rated G, unless you count the smelly socks, which might need censorship 😉

  2. says

    Another wonderful infographic, Lyla. You can go into business now.

    Do you know David M. Bader’s book “Haiku U.: From Aristotle to Zola, 100 Great Books in 17 Syllables”? A few of his haiku, like his take on Nabokov’s Lolita and Lawrence’s “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”, are naughty, though many are funny. Here’s his version of Jack London’s “Call of the Wild”:

    Alaskan tundra –
    a dog finds his inner wolf.
    White snows turn yellow.

    • says

      Thanks Charity. And yes — Laura told me yesterday when I was struggling with a section that if I could just write a paragraph I’d probably find it much easier. The infographic model requires distilling information down to the bare essentials, much like haiku does.

    • says

      At this point, I’d have to concur with your friend. And this really surprised me. I expected a single panel for this piece with a couple of pithy comments. Not so. :)

      I’m tackling a longer form for our next project, and looking forward to it maybe being slightly easier to visualize, strangely enough.

  3. says

    Way cool, dude. Lovin’ these infographics, Lyla. You’re a genius – but then, you know that already, right? All these years, I thought it was about syllable counting. Who knew??

  4. Donna says

    This is great Lyla! Made me wish I had a classroom wall to pin it on! (note to self; watch out for inadvertent rhyme or get used to sitting alone at the lunch table). 😀 lol!

  5. says

    Dear Lyla…A friend who happens to be a Brit who teaches English in Japan and China made me aware of the syllabic vs symbol count in 1987. Having failed to achieve an “A” in my 1950’s Jr High English class re not writing a proper Haiku/17 syllable, I became somewhat upset at age 44. In response to said, I avered, devised and demanded a true 17 (5-7-5) form which I call(ed) Neoku and/or AmNeoKu which allows one to write about anything…including nature and/or Shiki’s “…smokestacks and motorcycles”…(:-) Ergo: What say you about Shiki – from whom I borrowed “Cuckoo” – and “Senryu”…?


  6. says

    Even though I missed the original post by weeks, I’m sure as shooting glad to have found it now. 😉

    Perhaps someone at TSP is thinking of gathering poetry infographics into a book, say with spiral binding on the top so readers can flip to the page o’ the day (or week) and stand the book, tipi-style on the table… all whilst they whittle away word count and syllable and rhyme and sound.

  7. loanut says

    Dear All,
    Firstly, thanks your website this and your guidance in writing haiku in English.
    Secondly, how to become a member of this site and howz about the fee ? I not find yet these informations here so thanks that you can tell me.
    Thirdly, plz tell me about membership and things involve with that, for example that can post personal writing and hope that receive your comments it’s good or not yet in which part(s), can make a blog here and which your conditions for bloggers etc…
    Thank you very much for your reading and your replying in details to help me.
    Thanks again and God bless you all there.

  8. Lin Kaatz Chary says

    Wow, I just stumbled on this tonight and feel as if I’ve been suddenly given haiku wings! I’ve mostly bound myself to the rigid 7-5-7 structure which does have its merits in terms of discipline. But now I find my content has apparently been a little more rebellious than my syllables! Thanks, great piece.