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Write haiku love poems and thrill someone you love

Can’t find the words to say what you feel? Learn how to express your love, and write six love poems to be proud of.
Rachel McAlpine
50 students enrolled
• write authentic haiku following four simple guidelines
• write six original love poems
• edit your poems until you are ready to share them
• know where to publish your poems
• bonus: learn techniques that can improve all your writing — even business documents

You are bursting with love for that special person — your lover, spouse, friend, or even grandchild. Of course you want to write a love poem. But you want it to be unique, and beautiful, and personal. You want to write a good love poem. And you will! 

This course gives you the opportunity to write and edit six short love poems in the form of authentic modern haiku. Just watch the lectures, learning one guideline at a time, and do seven little assignments. By the end of the course, you’ll have something very special to share … and maybe publish.

This course is suitable for beginners and intermediate writers. 

Section 1. Getting started — love poems and haiku

Why we write love poems — always have, always will

This is what you will achieve in this lecture:

  • Learn why the urge to write a love poem is so strong
  • Discover 7 excellent reasons for writing love poems
  • Understand why we are using the haiku form.

This lecture, and some of the others, is followed by an optional assignment. Don't be alarmed: all assignments are optional and your writing won't be assessed or marked. The assignments help you to apply what you have learned, one step at a time. Assignment 1 invites you to write your very first poem for the course. It's easy: in fact it's impossible to fail!

Introduction and tour: four guidelines, four ways to learn

In this lecture you will discover how the course works, so that you feel comfortable about what lies ahead. This is a lifestyle course, and any assignments or quizzes are entirely optional; nevertheless the course is rigorously constructed, so that if you want to learn and develop as a poet, you will. Specifically, the lecture will clarify the following:

  • How you will absorb knowledge and guidelines step by step, one section at a time
  • Four different learning styles that you can experience
  • The style of the course: short, fun, informative and satisfying
  • Who should take this course.
My life as a poet in Japan: the making of a haiku teacher

I’m your instructor for the whole of this course. So it’s only fair to tell you a bit about myself, and why I have created this course for you. I am a poet. I enjoy the Japanese aesthetic and the spirit of Zen. And I love helping people to achieve their writing goals by using the clearest, simplest, and most practical instructions. This lecture shows, I hope, that after many years as a much-published poet and an award-winning teacher, I can give you expert help in this fun project, writing love haiku. 

I wonder what your own motives are, and what you're hoping to gain from this course? If you write this down (either privately or on the discussion board), you may enjoy referring to your notes later. 

Basic form and style in modern international haiku

The enduring and flexible spirit of haiku

This lecture contains key information about the nature of haiku, ancient or modern. A haiku nearly always contains four ingredients — and they may not include the one you thought you knew for sure!

  • Meet three Japanese haiku pioneers Basho, Buson and Issa
  • Understand why the original haiku rules cannot work literally for modern international poets
  • Consider the modern poet’s dilemma: anachronism, anarchy, or authenticity?
  • Learn about 4 modern guidelines that retain the spirit of haiku

After the lecture you can do Assignment 3, in which you will write a haiku, applying what you have learnt. (You’ll find the assignment under Resources for this lecture.) It’s easy and it’s interesting!

Popular assumptions about haiku

The word “haiku” means different things to different people — even distinguished scholars and poets agree to disagree. After this lecture, here’s what I hope you’ll be able to do.

  • Acknowledge three popular definitions of haiku, and know why they are not sufficient
  • Adopt four guidelines for yourself, but keep an open mind
  • Realise that our four guidelines can apply to any haiku, regardless of ideology or style
  • Hold the values of lightness and imperfect beauty in your mind
Forget about syllables!

This lecture gives three good reasons why we won't use the 17-syllable rule in this course.  After watching the video, here's what you'll be able to do:

  • Feel confident about ignoring the 5-7-5 syllable convention for haiku
  • Write better haiku as a result 

Please note that sometimes you may write 17 syllables by accident, which is a bonus!

Guideline #1: Brevity

You will learn three useful things from this reassuring lecture.

  • You will learn the ultra-simple guideline of brevity
  • From examples, you will see that 3 short lines can convey a powerful image or message
  • You will start to value brevity not only in creative writing but also in business writing

Assignment 4 is attached to this lecture. This one is particularly easy — as you might guess! And yet I think you'll write something special when you do it.

Guideline #2: Snapshot

In this lecture you will learn more about the second guideline for writing haiku.

  • Learn how to write as if you were taking a snapshot
  • See the guideline clearly in examples of haiku
  • Enjoy the challenge of avoiding comparisons and explanations
  • Discover the impact of simplicity on business writing

After the lecture you may choose to do Assignment 5, in which you will write a haiku, applying what you have learnt. (You’ll find the assignment under Resources for this lecture.) 

Turning points and nature in modern haiku

Guideline #3: The Switch, or sudden change of subject

In this lecture you will learn more about the third guideline for writing haiku.

  • Notice a sudden switch of topics within certain haiku
  • See how poets use the device of juxtaposition (placing two images or ideas side by side)
  • Notice how a topic switch can give readers a sudden insight or delight
  • Learn how to signal a switch with punctuation
  • Discover how certain haiku can be read as three separate poems, thanks to the switch

After the lecture you may choose to do Assignment 6, in which you will write a haiku, applying your knowledge about that magical trick, the switch. (You’ll find the assignment under Resources for this lecture.) 

Guideline #4: Naturalness, or nature as we experience it

What’s in this lecture? Liberation! Many modern haiku writers have abandoned one traditional Japanese rule and reinterpreted another one to fit their own world. After this lecture you’ll be able to do the following.

  • Understand the strange custom of including code-words for seasons
  • See why an old rule about nature doesn’t work outside of Japan
  • Adapt the nature rule for city life
  • Learn to focus on what is natural in your own world
  • Adopt a modern, international nature guideline that is faithful to the spirit of the old.

After the lecture you may choose to do Assignment 7, in which you will write a haiku, applying what you have learnt. (You’ll find the assignment under Resources for this lecture.) You know a lot now, and your haiku are becoming more and more interesting.

Edit and share your wonderful love poems

Edit your haiku: Stage 1 & 2 — big picture and play

At this point your writing project gets exciting. You’ve probably written six haiku or little poems— that’s like a tiny book of tiny poems! In this lecture, you will learn how to do the following:

  • Edit your haiku in stages, one at a time
  • Start with the big picture before attending to the details
  • Perceive all your poems as a single work, and arrange them in the best sequence
  • Experiment playfully with the words and lines of each haiku.

The assignment on editing all your haiku is attached to Lecture 13. You might like to look at that in advance. You can start the first two stages of editing your haiku whenever you like. 

Edit your haiku: Stage 3 (checking against the guidelines)

At first sight, this stage of editing may look complex, as it involves checking each of your own poems against each of four guidelines. But we make it easy by showing you pairs of haiku for comparison. Afterwards, you will be able to do the following:

  • Check whether your own poems meet all the four haiku guidelines
  • Know the difference between brevity and conciseness
  • Fix any of your poems that don’t meet a guideline — but only if you choose to.

You might want to look at Assignment 8 now and start this stage of the editing process now. But it’s fine to wait until you have watched the next lecture.

Edit your haiku: Stage 4 — copy editing

Yay, now we’ve reached the final stage of editing, where you check the smallest details and polish them up. After this lecture you will know how to:

  • Scope the work of copy-editing and proof-reading
  • Identify and delete unnecessary words
  • Check spelling
  • Make decisions about punctuation

Now it’s time to tackle your haiku editing in earnest. Assignment 8 puts all the instructions in one place, so you can manage the process easily. Remember your first intentions, and make sure your haiku are fit for purpose: you are the boss of your own haiku!

Share your love haiku and publish them

At last your love poems are finished — now what? After this lecture you will be ready to do the following:

  • Plan a great way to share your poems with that special person
  • Consider all sorts of ways to share or publish your poems
  • See anything from the sky to a teapot as a suitable channel for publication!
  • Bask in the delight of the one you love when you present your poems
Hooked on haiku? Where to read, write, and share more poems

This short course needn’t be the end of your haiku journey: it could be just a beginning. In this lecture I’ll suggest various ways that you might want to continue learning and reading and writing haiku (or other kinds of poems). Afterwards, you’ll be prepared to:

  • Explore resources for reading and writing and understanding haiku
  • Share your writing with other haiku fans online
  • Post your haiku on a social media channel or your own blog
  • Join a haiku group for mutual support
  • Take part in events that celebrate poets and poetry
Quiz: What have you learned about haiku?

Test your knowledge of haiku and consolidate what you have learned.

You can view and review the lecture materials indefinitely, like an on-demand channel.
Definitely! If you have an internet connection, courses on Udemy are available on any device at any time. If you don't have an internet connection, some instructors also let their students download course lectures. That's up to the instructor though, so make sure you get on their good side!
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