Poetry Unit: Tanka and Haiku

Poetry Unit: Japanese Poetry
Tanka and Haiku
12 CP English
2nd Marking Period
Basic Definitions
Tanka: a five-line
Haiku: a brief,
Japanese poem
that evokes a
three-line poem
strong image or
developed in
emotion through
Japan in the
indirect means.
 Well-known form of Japanese poetry
usually about nature
 Elements that make up a haiku:
 Short! (traditionally 3 lines, 5-7-5, 17 syllables)
 Haikus usually express just one moment in time
(not what happened before or after)
 Imagery (use sensory details to paint a vivid
 But no similes or metaphors- keep it simple!
 Nature (typically about nature or using
seasonal references)
 Simple language (no need to be wordy; concise
is always best)
How to write a haiku…
 Write of a specific event or observation; do not write in
general terms.
 Write in the present tense.
 Try to indicate the feelings of the poet as she/he is writing
the poem.
 When describing an event, present it as an image.
For example, the following is NOT a traditional haiku:
I watched the rain
Drops as they splattered
Into the puddle.
As written by a 4th grade student, the same sentiment is
expressed as haiku:
Soft warm splattering
Echoing in circles
Settle in the puddle.
Haiku Poets:
pg 449 in Elements of Literature
Read the haiku’s by Matsuo Basho on pages 449450 and answer the “Thinking Critically”
questions on page 454 in complete sentences
Mood is the overall emotion created by a work of
Tone is the author’s attitude towards a subject
Article of the Week due!
Put in basket NOW!!!!
 Tanka means “short songs” in Japanese
 AKA brief lyrical poems
 Invented more than a thousand years ago
 Consists of exactly 31 syllables that are divided among 5 lines
 Traditionally: 3 lines have 7 syllables and the other 2 lines have 5
 Lines 1 and 3 – 5 syllables
 Lines 2, 4 & 5- 7 syllables
 Contains beauty and emotion through strong imagery …it’s just as
important in what the poet does not say as it is important as what
the poet does say. (direct vs. implied)
 Typically written about nature, seasons, love, sadness, or any other
strong emotion
 Contains similes or metaphors
How to write a tanka:
What can create a strong emotion?
You may want to incorporate art again if you are having trouble
selecting a subject.
Vivid imagery (using sensory details to paint an image in
your reader’s minds)
Include a simile or metaphor (YOUR TANKA MUST DO THIS)
Start the with a description of the image (lines 1 & 2)
Then, write your response to this image (lines 3-5)
Thinking Critically about Tankas
pg 443-445 in Elements of Lit textbook
Read the tankas on pages 443 & 444 and
answer the Thinking Critically questions IN
Put your responses on the same paper that
you did the Haiku Thinking Critically