Random Haiku Generator Introduction

by elizabeth friedman

Haiku is an honored form of poetry of Japanese origin that came into existence during Japan's Edo period (1603-1867). It is highly structured, consisting of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables, respectively. Following is a beautiful, traditional Haiku poem by the revered poet, Matuso Basho (1644-1694). It is presented here to illustrate the sublime subtlety of this art form as well as its structural character.

scent of plum blossoms
on the misty mountain path
a big rising sun

Basho traveled extensively during his lifetime, using his experiences as the basis for his art. The first person to compose Haiku in English was another inveterate traveler, Jack Kerouac (1922-1969).

I have created a random Haiku generator based on Oblique Strategies, a 1975 work by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt, which is composed of over one hundred worthwhile dilemmas. I present my random generator with the greatest respect for both the art of Haiku and the spirit embodied in Oblique Strategies.