Haiku is a poetic form resembling spiritual and experiential snapshots. Concision is key. A daily discipline trains you to pack as much as possible into a minimum of words. This is great training for screenwriting, which I see as a series of haiku moments lined up to create the momentum of a narrative. Haiku also informs one’s visual awareness for composing movie frames—-or paintings, or sculptures, even jokes and punchlines.

I started writing haiku decades ago on a whim and it became a daily discipline. My haiku practice functions as both meditation and a door into my creative awareness. Haiku is a very specific art form that is often maligned as greeting card philosophy, nature poems, an ancient form of tweeting, or any scribble of 17 syllables. These clichés are wildly inaccurate. Haiku is a very specific poetic form comprised of three basic elements; a nature reference, the capture of a specific fleeting moment in time where observed phenomena interact to create a spark of enlightenment, and a window into the philosophical outlook of the poet. Line and syllabic constraints are meaningless in any language other than Japanese, but the added discipline can help as prompts for poets of other languages.

What started as a whim became a practice that has informed several books, art projects, videos, feature films, and theatre pieces. But most importantly, haiku has enriched my experience of the things around me and deepened my appreciation of every fleeting moment.