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WLT Off the Beaten Craft: “Minimalism and Maximalism in English-Language Haiku” with Allyson Whipple

August 18, 2022 8:00 PM - 9:00 PM CDT

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WLT hosts Off the Beaten Craft talks a few times a year, featuring presentations from authors and experts who know their stuff, focused on a genre, form, or topic that we don’t often get to talk about.

WLT is excited to partner with Austin-Oita Sister City Committee (AOSCC) for this special WLT Off the Beaten Craft presentation. Join us to learn more about the haiku form, AOSCC, plus get the chance to win a pair of tickets to their upcoming #OitaATX Japan Festival. 

About the event: 

Most Americans encounter haiku in their language arts classes as children, and are taught something to the effect of, “Haiku is a Japanese poem written in three lines, consisting of five, seven, and five syllables.” While not entirely wrong, this is at best an oversimplification that results in students creating overstuffed haiku in an attempt to fulfill an inaccurate syllable count. The structures of English and Japanese are so different that a 5-7-5 haiku in English is considered too long by Japanese practitioners.

In response to deeper understandings of the incompatibility between Japanese and English syllabics, serious English-language haiku practitioners have adopted a variety of standards in attempt to create more authentic haiku. Some poets and editors simply assign a maximum of 17 syllables, without being concerned about the number in each line. Others argue for a maximum of 12 syllables. In one notable example, someone published a haiku consisting of just two syllables, which sparked a multi-decade debate in the English-language haiku world.

In this talk, Allyson Whipple will discuss the different approaches to English haiku structure, include syllable count and number of lines. She will share examples that illustrate how subtle changes can have a significant impact on such a short poem. Participants will come away with a more expansive knowledge of haiku structure, as well as tools for their writer’s toolbox that they can incorporate into their haiku practice.

Join us for this presentation if:

  • You learned a reductive approach to haiku in school and want a more nuanced understanding;
  • You are a haiku beginner and want strategies for how to approach the form;
  • You have a haiku practice and are interested about the evolution of haiku in English
About AOSCC:
The Austin-Oita Sister City Committee (AOSCC) was established in 1990 to build sister city bridges between the citizens of Oita, Japan and Austin, Texas.  
AOSCC fosters goodwill through cultural, athletic, education, business, and government exchanges. Celebrate the culture of Japan at the #OitaATX Japan Festival on Saturday, August 20th, 11 am – 4 pm. There will be taiko, sumo, kendo, JPOP, Japanese food and drinks, kids’ activities, cultural education & more! More information to purchase tickets and to volunteer: https://www.austinoita.org/2022-oita-japan-festival

Featured Presenter(s)

Allyson Whipple is the editor and host of the Culinary Saijiki blog and podcast (www.culinarysaijiki.com), a project that explores the relationship between the food, seasons, and haiku. Allyson lived in Texas for 14 years, during which she co-edited the Texas Poetry Calendar four times. She also served as administrative director and board president of Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review. Allyson is the author of two poetry chapbooks: Come Into the World Like That (Five Oaks Press, 2016) and We're Smaller Than We Think We Are (2013). She is also the co-creator of the interactive fiction Choice: Texas (www.playchoicetexas.com). Allyson now lives in St. Louis, Missouri, and is a member of the Mississippi Mud Daubers haiku group.


August 18, 2022
8:00 PM - 9:00 PM CDT
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Online via Zoom