In 17th century Japan the wandering poet Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694) revitalized haiku. “Abide by rules then throw them out! — only then may you achieve true freedom,” he told his followers.
During the 1950s the American beat poet, Jack Kerouac was one of the first Westerners to adopt the form. He wrote:- “The “haiku” was invented and developed over hundreds of years in Japan to be a complete poem in seventeen syllables and to pack in a whole vision of life in three short lines. A “Western Haiku” need not concern itself with the seventeen syllables since Western languages cannot adapt themselves to the fluid syllabic Japanese. I propose that the “Western Haiku” simply say a lot in three short lines in any Western language. Above all, a Haiku must be very simple and free of all poetic trickery and make a little picture and yet be as airy and graceful as a Vivaldi Pastorella.”
Whether or not you prefer the free wheeling style of Kerouac or the more refined style of the classical Japanese poets, haiku has the power to connect us to with the essence of life. The author Gail Shere writes that composing haiku is a “way of tracking life into its deepest lair.” The same can be said for creating haibun and haiga. Haiku Masters pdf – Gail Sher
Basho wrote – “I am a poet. As a dropout from bushido society, I reject the vulgar values of the merchant class. Stitched together by a single thread of art, literature provides an alternative. I call it fuga-no-michi, the “Way of Elegance.”
On the Road Prompts are offered as suggestions for creative exploration – a single thread of art – how you interpret the prompts is up to you.