Haiku and Senryu are often confused with one another. They are both three line poems with a 5/7/5 syllable count but the difference is subject and tone. A haiku is about nature and seasons with a somewhat reverent tone while haiku’s cousin, senryu ,is about human nature (characteristics, behavior, emotions, traits) often with an humorous tone. See my example poems below.
acorns pelt my head i look up in the oak tree at squirrels laughing ©Danna Smith at poetrypop.com
SENRYU (HUMAN NATURE)
i tipped the artist a benjamin for every wrinkle overlooked ©Danna Smith at poetrypop.com
rules for writing a senryu
- Three lines with optional 5/7/5/ syllable count.
- Like haiku, senryu is written in incomplete sentences.
- Usually speaks of human nature (behavior, emotions, characteristics).
- Often has a humorous tone.
- Senryu are untitled and do not rhyme.
- As with haiku, no capitalizations or periods (em dash, comma, and explanation points are okay)
NOT SURE HOW TO COUNT SYLLABLES?
- Clap out each syllable as you say the word.
- The word “blue” has one syllable (one clap): blue.
- The word “thunder” has two syllables (two claps): thun-der.
- The word “poetry” has three syllables (three claps): po-et-ry.