English 340, Studies in Poetry: Global Haiku Tradition examines the origins and spread of Japanese haikai poetics from Japan around the world, with a special focus on the adaptation of haiku into other cultures and languages.
A special feature of the course students will research leading international poets, editors and scholars of contemporary haiku. We will study the history of haiku and related poetics in Japan, and then examine the contemporary internalization of haiku in various international cultures.
Students also learn the art of haiku from both a reader and a writer perspective, thus practicing the haikai arts, not merely reading about them.
Students will explore the history and practice Japanese haikai poetics and learn about the role of this literary art in both Japanese and contemporary American culture. Students will compare authors and approaches to haiku from both Japanese and American traditions. Students will develop their professional writing abilities, as academic research writers through a study of a contemporary haiku writer.
The haikai arts emphasize the power of concise writing, in which silence and things not said may be as important as the things said. Therefore, study of the haikai arts helps students develop exact, precise writing skills. Also, since haiku is the art of suggestion and connotation, it requires an integration of reading and writing abilities. Haikai arts stress the importance of an active reader to “finish” the haiku in their own mind. The active response to a haiku is to share your imagined response, or to create another haiku or extension of the original haiku. This process of connecting personal experiences, memories and feelings to the haiku by others helps students explore their own lives, memories, feelings and values.
As students practice the art of reading and writing haiku, they discover that the haikai arts are not the exclusive domain of professional writers. They discover that haiku is a possible means of developing a personal life of meaning and value from their own reading responses and through the writing of their own original haiku.
Download the complete Global Haiku Traditions Syllabus (doc file).