Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Teach, and Appreciate Haiku” as Want to Read:
The Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Teach, and Appreciate Haiku
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Teach, and Appreciate Haiku

4.31  ·  Rating Details ·  294 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
The Haiku Handbook is the first book to give readers everything they need to begin appreciating, writing, or teaching haiku. In this groundbreaking and now-classic volume, the authors present haiku poets writing in English, Spanish, French, German, and five other languages on an equal footing with Japanese poets. Not only are the four great Japanese masters of the haiku re ...more
Paperback, 25th Anniversary Edition, 331 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Kodansha (first published 1985)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Haiku Handbook, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Haiku Handbook

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Oct 14, 2008 Bryson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: haiku
A very good book, and I think a lot of people out there would say this is the introduction to haiku for English speakers.

Higginson passed away about four or five months after I began to read and write haiku. I'd seen The Haiku Handbook around at various haiku meetings, had seen it quoted on some different websites and blogs, and it eventually became one of those books with which I had a peripheral, if not personal relationship.

I believe I got a copy of this book about three or so weeks before Hi
Oleg Kagan
Jan 04, 2010 Oleg Kagan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: haiku
William J. Higginson's "Haiku Handbook" is a must-own for every haiku enthusiast. His survey of haiku development and history both in Japan and various areas in the West (read: not just North America) is a top-notch introduction. The haiku/senryu he uses as examples and explicates throughout the book are truly excellent choices and serve their purpose. Penny Harter's chapter on teaching haiku was so useful that I felt the need to acknowledge using her ideas at a haiku workshop I gave recently. F ...more
Bernie Gourley
Aug 28, 2012 Bernie Gourley rated it it was amazing
Many people think that a haiku is any poem of three lines consisting of 5, 7, and 5 syllables, respectively. Those who’ve gotten beyond a high school literature class introduction to the form may also know that these poems are usually observations of the nature world, and, specifically, the seasons. If the preceding sentences sum up haiku for you, but you’re interested in learning more, Higginson’s book will revolutionize your understanding of the art.

As it happens, the most fundamental notions
Nissa Annakindt
May 30, 2015 Nissa Annakindt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, haiku
When I read this book for the first time I wished that every school teacher that decides to do a haiku-writing lesson would read this book first. Haiku is more than just counting syllables!

This book goes into the traditions of haiku at great length and enables a serious student to understand what a haiku actually is, and how to tell a good one from a second-rate one.

For poets who'd like to try writing haiku, this book gives an overwhelming amount of information. I'd recommend going slow and read
This was a very nice book on Haiku and is definitely a must read/own for anyone serious about writing haiku. It has great information on the history, haiku poets, writing haiku in English, etc. It does get a bit esoteric at times You do have to keep in mind that it was written in 1985, so it does feel dated when he talks about technology, how people can share haiku, and any of the "current" resources (such as magazines and publications) may very well not be available anymore. Also, the teaching ...more
Jan 12, 2013 Joanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, haiku-tanka
Great introduction the art and craft of haiku, and the philosophy or way of looking at the world that lies behind it. I was a bit frustrated that there wasn't more on approaches to writing haiku - or more I could get a handle on anyway - and in some ways the more I was learning the more I wanted to write, and the more frustrated I got! But the handbook was a beautiful introduction and invitation to the reading of haiku, and the addition of haiku to my poetry reading habits is one of the gifts I ...more
Nate Davis
Feb 15, 2008 Nate Davis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The haiku handbook is one of the few excellent texts on haiku in English, covering the history of its traditional forms and abstraction away from earlier, longer poetry styles, the modern Western movement of haiku, and many technical chapters that find a good middle ground between the free musicality of haiku and its coherence as a form. The poems are well-chosen and give good context to the history and forms surrounding and related to haiku (for example, the imagist poems of Ezra Pound).

Rob Welch
Apr 05, 2011 Rob Welch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a very good look at Haiku, it's history, importance to Japanese culture, and transposition into other languages. It was a bit dry at time, (which isn't totally unexpected), but contained much valuable information.

One of the most crucial components is his suggested "Traditional Form" for haikus written in English, shedding the grammar-school 5-7-5 form.

Anyone interested in reading, writing, or teaching Haiku should read this book.
Oct 15, 2008 sisterimapoet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction09
A long overdue read. I've had this on my shelf for almost 10 years, and I wished I'd read it sooner.

But still very useful. Lots of tips useful for beginners or experts. I doubt there is any haiku writer or reader who wouldn't gain something from this book.

A generous and welcoming style throughout. Also packed with great examples of the poetry in question.
Sheri Fresonke Harper
Who could possible imagine that there would be some much to know about Haiku. This book covers the Four Masters of Japanese Haiku, the tradition of haiku, and haiku examples from around the world, including modern selections. It covers what makes a good haiku including the use of seasons in the poem. It also describes how to teach haiku. It's a great reference.
Jan 10, 2016 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry-stuff
A good background on origin of haiku, related poetry styles, history of it in Japan and rest of the world, rules and guidance on how to write. I read the original edit in which has some sections that may be less necessary in the Internet age, as one can google resources like where to publish and such.
Mar 14, 2015 Sorobai rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
This is a great book. Not only a nice introduction to the world of japanese haiku poetry but with a troughtfull aproach to the differences in haiku in the east and the west. Only flaw is there is not a single reference to haiku in portuguese.
Feb 05, 2011 Paula rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 25, 2013 Gabrielle rated it it was amazing
This is a great intro and handbook for Haiku enthusiast and newcomer alike. It may not be a complete/how-to book that teaches you the overall aspect or technicality of a haiku, but of history, philosophy, the basics and the true poetic knowledge. This will be a go to book for me.
Jul 01, 2010 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I very thorough history of the haiku poem form including Japanese (with english translation) of the "masters". Very interesting. Very informative. Writing Haiku is something I'd like to do when I have time to think!!!
I enjoyed reading this thorough and complete guide in English to the world haiku . YMMV It seemed along time for me to finish with this , whatever . ..
Elaine Bearden
looks really interesting to read - maybe some ideas for write on
Oct 30, 2008 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Am I the only person on the planet who wants to throw a drunken Haiku party???
Feb 17, 2013 Shamma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jul 20, 2007 Jilly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: creativewriting
Mar 17, 2009 Alohadudenyc rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a great resource for those interested in writing or reading haiku.
May 09, 2007 Tomas is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Poets
Great background information on where Haiku came from.
Jul 16, 2011 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
More teachers need to read this book! We have been guilty of teaching the structure rather than the spirit.
Laura-nassidesa Eschbaugh
This is an excellant 'what' about Haiku and its variations. There is a little of the how,but it jumps arond. If you are looking into the history and progress ok this form of poem, this is a start.
Tara Betts
Aug 17, 2007 Tara Betts added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in haiku
I should reread this, but I think it's very helpful and very sound in terms of understanding the craft of haiku. This one and Bruce Ross' book "How-To Haiku."
Jodi Tooke
Dec 07, 2015 Jodi Tooke rated it it was amazing
Excellent overview that captures essence of creating haiku. It's so much more than the 5-7-5 they taught in school.
Aug 23, 2009 Ruthpaget rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The definitive work on the topic. It shares examples from many languages and provides the best models from Japan in Japanese and in translation. It makes teaching this form easy.
Jun 02, 2011 Jessaka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
This is a book that you just reread in order to get the lessons.
Dec 02, 2010 Christina rated it it was amazing
The Bible on this subject, it was recommended to me years ago by the editor of *Frogpond*. It is my privilege to enthusiastically pass on the recommendation.
Sylvi Shayl
Sylvi Shayl rated it it was amazing
Mar 06, 2013
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Haiku Anthology:  Haiku And Senryu In English
  • The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa
  • The Classic Tradition of Haiku: An Anthology
  • Haiku Mind: 108 Poems to Cultivate Awareness and Open Your Heart
  • Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years
  • The Ink Dark Moon: Love Poems by Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu, Women of the Ancient Court of Japan
  • Japanese Death Poems: Written by Zen Monks and Haiku Poets on the Verge of Death
  • Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry
  • The Sound of Water: Haiku by Basho, Buson, Issa, and Other Poets
  • One Robe, One Bowl: The Zen Poetry of Ryokan
  • Basho: The Complete Haiku
  • Cold Mountain: One Hundred Poems by the T'Ang Poet Han-Shan
  • In the Palm of Your Hand: A Poet's Portable Workshop
  • Book of Haikus
  • The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics
  • The Teachers & Writers Handbook of Poetic Forms
  • Real Sofistikashun: Essays on Poetry and Craft
  • Rhyme's Reason: A Guide to English Verse

Share This Book