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The Librarian’s Cache – Monoku

This month’s feature highlights THF resources on monoku as a haiku form. Rob Scott writes in a Per Diem article that “monoku is a one-liner poem in brevity and clarity in expression and its hybridity in origins: a Greek prefix wedded to a Japanese suffix to create a new English term as put forth by Jim Kacian. According to Jim, “Multiple stops yield subtle, rich, often ambiguous texts which generate alternative readings, and subsequent variable meanings. Each poem can be several poems, and the more the different readings cohere and reinforce each other, the larger the field occupied by the poem, the greater its weight in the mind.”


  • The Shape of Things to Come: Form Past and Future in Haiku – Monoku have not arisen out of a need simply to be different: they actually offer a range of technical and stylistic opportunities that are not available to the three-line haiku. It offers resources that one just can’t find elsewhere in haiku, and where there is new territory, poets will colonize.
  • Hands Up Who Likes One Liners – In this essay Janice Bostok considers the case for encouraging more one-line haiku in English.

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This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Good post. Especially enjoyed seeing the essay by the late Jan Bostok, an old friend and renku mate. as well as several one-line haiku by marlene mountain, another dear friend and frequent collaborator. Both Jan and mm were masters. Deep bows to both!

  2. Hi Dan,

    Thanks for highlighting what is perhaps our favorite haiku subgenre. We’d like to share our journal, Whiptail, Journal of the Single-Line Poem, in which we publish mostly one-line haiku (but also one-line tanka, micropoetry, and sequences that utilize these poems). Here is a link to our newest issue, where everyone is sure to see names they will recognize (as well as great newer folks in the community as well).

    Also, here is an essay we wrote first published in the December 2021 HSA newsletter on one-line haiku: Haiku: Walking the Fine Line –

    And here is the Whiptail Journal’s Lizard Lounge blog, where in every issue, we discuss issues of poetics as they relate to the one-line poems we published in previous issues:

    We hope you enjoy!

    Kat Lehmann & Robin Anna Smith
    Founding Co-Editors, Whiptail Journal of the Single-Line Poem

    1. Many thanks Kat and Robin for your note and the links. Whiptail is one of my favorites and maybe we can collaborate on co-authoring some articles about one-line poetry one day.

  3. Travelling the single line of haiku – one line haiku
    including commentaries and features:

    For more about one line haiku including examples by Alan Summers see also:

    Travelling the monorail – one line haiku

    and also:

    Layering of meaning beyond the immediate:
    the “now” in monoku

    Available soon:
    The Pull of the Single Poetic Line of Haiku
    by Alan Summers
    incl. “telling a story backward”
    2021 Japan Writers Conference

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