Symbiosis International University Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts

The Heart of Haiku

Faculty Course Type Credits Prerequisites Semester
Kala Ramesh General 4 None Any

 Brief Overview 

Go to the pine if you want to learn about the pine, or to the bamboo if you want to learn about the bamboo. And in doing so, you must leave your subjective preoccupation with yourself. Otherwise you impose yourself on the object and do not learn. Your poetry issues of its own accord when you and the object have become one – when you have plunged deep enough into the object to see something like a hidden glimmering there. However well phrased your poetry may be, if your feeling is not natural – if the object and yourself are separate – then your poetry is not true poetry but merely your subjective counterfeit. – Basho

Courtsey - Basho's Road

Haiku is a Japanese art form that is more than 400 years old. Poetry, that seems to have fascinated both Rabindranath Tagore and Subramanya Bharathi, at the beginning of the last century.

“Essentially to understand the nuances of an art form and relish its intricacies. In the silences between notes, between words, between lines, the emotions that arise is rasa —the aesthetic essence— which gives poetry, music or dance, a much greater sense of depth and resonance. Rasa is something that cannot be described in words, because it has taken us to a sublime plane where sounds have slipped away . . . leaving us alone with this distilled aesthetic essence. It is these silences and pauses in haiku, and what this does in the reader’s mind, that fascinate me” – Kala Ramesh 

 Course Objectives 

This course would equip you with the art of appreciating and attempting to write Haiku. You will be exposed to other allied genres like Tanka (a five line lyrical poem), Haibun (tight prose embedded with haiku), Renku (collaborative linked verse).

 Teaching Methodology 

Haiku, known as the most condensed form of poetry in the world, is also riddled with rules. But again —Techniques are the banks of a river . . .

Ginko – a walk with nature and haiku contests known as Kukai would be a part of this course. The culture of in depth workshopping and critical appreciation would be inculcated.

Artists, from other allied fields, would be invited to interact with students in “Meet the Artist” hour. It could be a poet, a dancer, or a musician. For I believe all art forms feed into one another enriching the root source of one’s creativity.


Students are expected to –

  • Actively participate in class activities and discussions, and
  • Complete all evaluative processes for successful course completion!