Poems About Haiku

The following selected poems explore the nuances of haiku aesthetics or haiku history, and provide an alternate way into haiku as a genre of literature. They are all about haiku in one way or another, or connected to haiku. A few are not much more than jokes (and sometimes even misunderstand haiku), but most of them are  serious, mostly written by poets other than me (for other favourite poems, see also Poems by Others). Ive arranged these poems by category, and then alphabetically by each poet’s last name. You can also read selections of my own haiku and senryu as well as longer poems. Enjoy, and please let me know if you know of other poems about haiku! 

Reading and Writing Haiku

These poems speak of haiku aesthetics or techniques, or simply reading and writing this poetry.

if there is — Stephen Addiss
Stopping by Wakan’s on a Sunny Day — Winona Baker
How to Write Haiku — Kyle D. Craig
Presence — Jim Kacian
[untitled] — Charles F. Kennedy
[untitled] — Michael Ketchek
Releasing the Animals (the anti-haiku) — Marsh Muirhead
On What Is Haiku — Sydell Rosenberg
The Haiku for Me Is — Sonia Sanchez
Just as They Are — Sonojo
How to Write a Haiku — Naomi Beth Wakan
How to Respond to a Haiku — Michael Dylan Welch
Naming Haiku — Michael Dylan Welch
Seventeen Ways of Looking at a Haiku — Michael Dylan Welch
Haiku Is — Sheila Windsor
Bashō (2013) — David Young     +


[untitled] — Robert Aitken
Frogments — Gary Barwin and derek beaulieu
Aging Well — Robert Lee Brewer
While Reading Bashō [excerpts] — Hayden Carruth
Rock Hunting with Bashō, Dallas Road, February — Terry Ann Carter
untitled — Thomas A. Clark
The Bashō Story — Cid Corman
Great and Small — Milan Djordjevic
After Bashō — Margaret Dornaus     +
In the Footsteps of Bashō — Beverley George, ML Grace, Michael Thorley, David Terelinck, Catherine Smith, Robert Miller, Carmel Summers, and Lynette Arden
Old Pond — Allen Ginsberg
Along the Way — Judy Halebsky
A Breaking Word — Judy Halebsky
Bristlecone Pine — Judy Halebsky
The Kite Maker [excerpt] — Judy Halebsky
A Left-Branching Language — Judy Halebsky
Motel 6 — Judy Halebsky
Walk the Line — Judy Halebsky
Zen Monks Talking Big — Judy Halebsky
Conversation with Bashō — Peggy Heinrich
Homage to Bashō — David Lehman
Bashō — Alfred H. Marks
Old Pond — Alfred H. Marks
Reading Bashō in Our Valley — Terry Martin
Bashō Variations — Steve McCaffery (three poems)
Sylvan Pool — Dave McFadden
Bashō — Campbell McGrath
February 3 — Campbell McGrath
Bashō’s Child — W. S. Merwin
Poor Bashō — Marlene Mountain
Frightening Things — David Mura
Alliance — Lorine Niedecker
Bashō — Lorine Niedecker
[untitled] — Lorine Niedecker
The Noetic Frog — Noetica
Bashō, the hokku poet — Nyogen Senzaki
To Bashō [I] — Nyogen Senzaki
To Bashō [II] — Nyogen Senzaki
Thinking About Bashō — Bracha K. Sharp
33 Translations of One Bashō — Chad Sweeney
On Reading Diane Ackerman — Naomi Beth Wakan
Bellwether — Ronald Wallace
[untitled] — Karma Tenzing Wangchuk
Bashō, Glimpsed — Mike White
Thyme Flowering Among Rocks — Richard Wilbur
Passing Scenes (While Reading Bashō) — Franz Wright
Three Bashō Haibun — Franz Wright
Bashō (1986) — David Young     +
[untitled] — Mark Young
With Bashō on the Front Porch — Mark Young

Chiyo-ni, Buson, and Shiki

We clearly need more haiku written about Chiyo-ni, Buson, and Shiki.

A Doing Nothing Poem — Robert Bly
After the Haiku of Yosa Buson — David Budbill
Japan — Billy Collins
Flow — Michael Dylan Welch


With Issa — Nelson Ball
Haiku and Tanka for Shrike — David Budbill
Making a Poem by Quoting Issa — David Budbill
What Issa Heard — David Budbill
O Snail — Jane Hirshfield
Out of the Gate — Judy Halebsky
Something Small — David G. Lanoue
Issa’s Child — Joan Logghe
Taking a Walk with Issa — Hannah Mahoney
Reading the Japanese Poet Issa (1762–1826) — Czesław Miłosz
[untitled] — Gregory Orr (“Could it all be said”)
[untitled] — Dale Pendell
Poem Written with Issa [“The kids fighting”] — Matthew Rohrer
Nammu, Nammu — Hiroaki Sato
Issa on the Pequod — Ron Starr
On Reading Issa Each Morning — Naomi Beth Wakan
Song of Myself — Ronald Wallace
Dear Issa — Michael Dylan Welch
Flowers on the Roof of Hell — Michael Dylan Welch
Day five — Mark Young

About Haiku

These poems typically do not mention haiku at all, but may be considered to be about haiku to the extent that they present values and perspectives in keeping with a haiku spirit and practice.

[untitled] — David Budbill
As the Poems Go — Charles Bukowski
Little Things — Julia Abigail Fletcher Carney
Hokusai Says — Roger S. Keyes
Ordinary Lives — William Martin (translator)
To Look at Any Thing — John Moffitt
To the Poet — Marianne Monaco
Instructions for living a life — Mary Oliver
Mindful — Mary Oliver
Praying — Mary Oliver
Three Things to Remember — Mary Oliver
When Death Comes [excerpt] — Mary Oliver
Now You See It — Ron Padgett
Whatever It Is — Ron Padgett
[untitled] — Margaret Stawowy
[untitled] — John Vieira
Lacking Duende — Naomi Beth Wakan
The Uses of Tanka (really a poem about haiku) — Naomi Beth Wakan
Writing a Tanka (also a poem about haiku) — Naomi Beth Wakan
Drinking Wine — Tao Yuanming (Tao Qian)


These poems talk about haiku and haiku-related subjects, doing more than merely mentioning haiku.

It Is Not Much — Frank Ankenbrand, Jr.
In Haiku — R. D. Armstrong
Classic Haiku: A New Zealand Perspective — Nola Borrell
Three Brautigans — Richard Brautigan
Banteay Srei — Terry Ann Carter
Way of Haikai — Terry Ann Carter
Haiku — Henri Cole
Reading the Biographical Notes in a Haiku Anthology — Billy Collins
Orfordville — Lisa Fishman
Distressed Haiku — Donald Hall
Poem to Be Entitled Five Haiku — William J. Higginson
Samurai Angels — Judyth Hill
5 & 7 & 5 — Anselm Hollo
The Haiku Masters of Japan Drop In for a Visit — David Lehman
Falling Apart, or New Delhi Haiku Blues — Kevin Murphy
I Wrote a Little Haiku — Les Murray
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Haiku — Ron Padgett
Lilliputian — Steven Ratiner
Haiku — James Shea
The Haiku Master — Elizabeth Spires
Luther’s Narrow Road — Ron Starr
Unfinished Haiku — Jessica Tremblay
Processing the News — Naomi Beth Wakan
Seven Tanka on Haiku — Naomi Beth Wakan
Sex After 70 — Naomi Beth Wakan
Summer Haiku Meet — Naomi Beth Wakan
The Haiku Master — Naomi Beth Wakan

Mentioning Haiku

These poems typically just mention haiku (or hokku), which may be seen as an act of respect and appreciation.

Holding Radium [excerpt] — Diane Ackerman
[untitled] — Richard Aldington
I found a geophysicist — Christopher Arigo
[Rain that Imitates Anne Waldman] — John Burgess [poem starts at 6:00-minute mark in video]
the library of t-shirts — joanne burns
More Than a Moment Ago — John Bigler Crow
Figures — John Elsberg and Eric Greinke
A Haiku for Mars — Nikki Giovanni
With Only a Vague Outline [excerpt] — Jeff Hardin
Songs to Survive the Summer [excerpt] — Robert Hass
Near Miss Haiku — Anselm Hollo
Haiku Corner: On Charlie Rose — Garrison Keillor
Haiku — Elizabeth Kirschner
Confectionery Text — J. I. Kleinberg
The Meaning of a Sign — J. I. Kleinberg
To Paint the Written — J. I. Kleinberg
Putative Poem from Samurai Era — Bill Knott
Japan — Rudi Krausmanm
The ABZs of Poetry — Noelle Levy
Rentrement of Compulsion  L. W. Lindquist
Rules for Poetry — Rick Lupert
Rock Climbing with Snyder — Billy Marshall-Stoneking
not an ode to haiku — Marlene Mountain
Being Born, Then Dying — Elizabeth Oakes
Haiku — Ron Padgett
Letter to Toyota — Geoff Page
Impossible to Tell — Robert Pinsky
The Perfect Haiku — William M. Ramsey
Negation — Philip Salom
[untitled] — Nick Smith
On the Circuit — Vivian Smith
Amorphous Me — Naomi Beth Wakan
An Organised Life — Naomi Beth Wakan
Brevity — Judith Wright
Changing Genres — Dean Young
Three Poems — Andrea Zanzotto

For Fun

These poems offer jokes or humour relating to haiku, or about haiku.

Limerick — Anonymous
Limericku — Anonymous
Subversive Haiku — Anonymous
Knock, Knock — Attributed
[untitled] — Dave
[untitled] — Ellen DeGeneres
Captain Haiku vs. the Arch-Villanelle — Ed Gaillard
The Problem with Haiku — Michael S. Glaser
Three Acts in the Form of Bashō’s Famous Haiku — Martin Ingerson
Palindrome Haiku — Alice Lam
[untitled] — Tapan Avasthi
[untitled] — Cameron Malcher
Limerick — Alfred H. Marks
Haiku Degree — Marlene Mountain
Limerick — Michael Dylan Welch


These poems seek to define haiku by trying to be haiku about haiku, all too often with misunderstandings of haiku. The Ron Padgett poem, however, is intentionally ironic.

[untitled] — John Cooper Clarke
Not a Haiku — Gerald England
Fun-ku — Seren Fargo
[untitled] — Julie Bloss Kelsey
The Only Problem with Haiku — Roger McGough
Haiku on Haiku — Marlene Mountain
Three Ku — Marlene Mountain
[untitled] — Rolf Nelson
Haiku — Ron Padgett
[untitled] — Christopher Provost
[untitled] — Tom Raworth
A Long Haiku — Rob Shore
Knock, Knock — Hoi Sta
Why Do Haiku? — Steve
Too in Love with 5-7-5 — Michael Dylan Welch


These poems offer haiku-related parodies of songs or other existing texts, for a bit of fun.

Ku Contemplator — Terri L. French and Raymond French
Psalm for Haiku Poets — Tombō / Lorraine Ellis Harr
The Haiku Chicken — Richard Tice
Do You Want to Write a Haiku? — Michael Dylan Welch
Haikuna Matata — Michael Dylan Welch
If You’re Haikuing and You Know It — Michael Dylan Welch

Note: If you know of other poems about haiku, please contact Michael Dylan Welch—thanks!