Hokku are poems of a long tradition. While they were primarily introduction poems to longer works, they came to be known as stand-alone poems during Basho's era. Today, they and variations of them, are more often written on their own than as introductions.
Under the Basho editors look for the following qualities:
- phrase/fragment - a comparison, juxtaposition or disjunction.
- cut-marker (kireji)
- season indicator through kigo or zoka ... zoka being the cause of seasons, all activities of nature, and the original source of kigo. This includes festivals and other annual events that take place regionally - not just in Japan.
- short/long/short line format - three lines (we will make an exception at our discretion if we feel the hokku warrants it)
- poems that include Basho aesthetics such as zoka, koto, ma, yugen, wabi, sabi, kokoro, makoto and so forth (these are poems of the old generation aesthetics)
Hokku - poems about nature; while they are not "nature poems" they are poems about nature, about the Tao, about the activities of the Universe - the comings and goings of all things - the cosmic tide.
teetering grass . . .
just moments ago