One of my interests is practising haiku and senryû, two types of Japanese short verse.

A classical shasei haiku consists of three unrhymed lines arranged in a syllable count of 5-7-5. A haiku reflects on some aspect of nature and expresses a single idea. It has two juxtaposed thematic units separated by the kireji, cutting word or pause at the end of either the first or the second line. An important element of a haiku is the kigo word, a seasonal anchor, representative of the season in which the poem is set.

I'm intrigued by the seemingly simplistic elements, expressly formulated and organized so as to be maximally suggestive. Shasei haiku does not attempt at beauty in expression but elegance in sudden, precise revelation. Haiku is said to be the most accessible and the most inaccessible form of poetry.

Senryû resembles haiku in form and length, but the two couldn't be further apart thematically. Senryû involves personal experience and often tends toward (black) humor, double entendres, and intense implication.

In the West, 20th-century haiku has been associated with the modernist movement and imagist poetry in particular. Haikus in the Western, Kerouacian sense are less restricted content-wise; the American free-form may be urban or resemble Zen koans. Master Kerouac called his lot 'pomes' and 'pops'.

Interested readers will appreciate the article 'Essence of Haiku' by Bruce Ross (in Modern Haiku Vol 38.3, autumn 2007), or my very own 'Haiku: mitä on' (2008; available in Finnish only).

My two books of haiku poetry in Finnish, Harmaan satama (ntamo 2008), and Samaa pimeää (ntamo 2012) are available for purchase online and at designated bookstores.

My haiku in English have appeared in The Mainichi Daily News in Japan (2008) and in the anthology O mie de cocori: concursul international de haiku in Romania (2008).

autioituneen harjun
yllä huutavat

portaan kauneus pysäyttää

Rea Lehtonen, Harmaan satama
Language: Finnish
Cover design: Aleksi Salokannel / sisin
Cover art: Rea Lehtonen
Layout: Make Copies
Publisher: ntamo (Leevi Lehto)
ISBN: 978-9-5221-5038-7