Poetry Kaleidoscope: Guide to Poetry


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SciFaiku (science fiction haiku) is a form of poetry invented by Tom Brinck in 1995 and inspired by the Japanese haiku. Scifaiku explores science and science fiction themes. They are based on the principles of the haiku but are free to deviate from its structure. For example:

Next time you hear
crickets fiddling, watch out
for tiny spaceships.
– Yvonne Aburrow

Brinck wrote the The SciFaiku Manifesto in 1995 in which he declared of the principles of scifaiku. See The SciFaiku Manifesto.

Scifaiku follow three major principles – minimalism, immediacy and human insight:

  • Minimalism follows the haiku model, and like much English language haiku, the spirit of minimalism is to have a single concept (or often a comparison of concepts) presented in uncluttered, direct words. While traditional haiku consisted of 3 lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables, respectively, scifaiku may be somewhat shorter or longer according to the principle of minimalism and understanding the necessity of longer technical terms, e.g. anisomorphism.
  • Immediacy is the use of direct sensory perceptions to give a sense of being in the moment. Concrete, rather than abstract, terms are used. Metaphor is rarely explicit though often implied.
  • Human insight comes from the idea that this is in fact the purpose of much science fiction: to understand ourselves better through exploring possible futures or speculative realities.

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