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Monoku: Historical Perspective and Experimenting with Structural Style

Updated: May 15

Pravat Kumar Padhy provides an in-depth study into the world of one-line haiku


Monoku is a one-line poem featuring brevity and clarity of expression. The term

was coined by Jim Kacian in his essay “The Shape of Things to Come,” and weds

a Greek prefix (mono, one) with a Japanese suffix (ku, poem) to create a new

English term. The concept of one-line haiku in English developed in the 1970s.

Japanese haiku are written in a single vertical line with 17 on (sound units, not

syllables). There may be subtle pauses in monoku corresponding to speech rhythm.

(In conventional 3-line haiku, there is one pause (kireji) between the fragment and

phrase of haiku.) Monoku can be interpreted with multiple pauses (kireji)

depending on how it is parsed. Some one-breath monoku cannot be expressed in

conventional 3-line haiku. Hence a poet may opt to use monoku to create imageries

with the shortest speech.


Alan Summer suggests there is a white space, as though some words have been left

unsaid in monoku which readers nevertheless divine. In conventional 3-line (s/l/s)

English-language haiku, there is a single kireji, and the contrast of images is

explicit. Monoku, however, may create multiple stops. It is worth mentioning that

monoku are not sentences.

Historical Perspective

Monoku has been called monostich, one-line ku, a one-liner, one sentence ku etc.

This casual usage is often inexact if not totally wrong. The word ‘monoku’ might

have been derived from, ‘Epigram’, a Greek poetry style.

Monostich were first penned by the ancient Roman author Marcus Valerius

Martialis  (c. 38 and 41 CE–c. 102 and 104 CE). Edward Hirsh, in his A Poet’s

Glossary, states “As [per] the Greek Anthology (tenth century), it is said that the

monostich can be a proverb, an aphorism, a fragment, an image, an enigma.” Here

are some contemporary examples:

Valery Bryusov (Russian, 1894): 

Oh, cover thy pale feet! (translated by Babette Deutsch and Avrahm


Guillaume Apollinaire (French, Poems 1898–1913): 

And the single string of the sea trumpets (translated by William Meridith)

Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore (Bengali, 1916, The Stray Birds):

If you shed tears when you miss the sun, you also miss the stars.

K. S. Venkatramani (English, 1921, Paper Boats): 

the corners cut paper boat I float again.

Ralph Hodgson (1871–1962)’s one-liner:

 ‘Skunks,’ the squirrel said, ‘are sent to try us.’ 

is an early attempt at a one-line poem. Walt Whitman included one monostich

(though with a very long line) in the 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass. In 1893 and

1894 Edith Thomas, possibly in collaboration with an amateur author Samuel R.

Elliott (1836–1909), anonymously published several one-line poems in The

Atlantic Monthly intended as a joke. Guillaume Apollinaire is known as the first

poet to write a one-line poem in his 1913 book Alcools: Poems 1898-1913 in

French. Lafcadio Hearn, one of the earliest translators of Japanese haiku into

English, published his results as one-line poems. Emmanuel Lochac published one-

liners in French under the title Monostiches in a literary magazine in 1929 and

included some in his collection with that title in 1936:


Schooner bearing away the sun in its arms (translated by Breunig)  

In the 1920s one-line poetry was rediscovered in the US by Yvor Winters, Edwin

Ford Piper, Charles Reznikoff and others. Later John Ashbery (“37 Haiku”), Allen

Ginsberg (American Sentences, 1995-1997; each with 17 syllables (“Death &

Fame: Last Poems”), and Ian McBryde pioneered the concept through their

published work. 


Jack Kerouac was the first to experiment with a single-line format in the 1950s. He

has been followed by John Wills, M. Kettner, Jim Kacian, Janice Bostok, Chris

Gordon, Scott Metz, Stuart Quine, John Barlow, and many others. William

Higginson's “Characteristics of monostichs” has enumerated the historical

perspective of one-line haiku. Michael Segers in the early 1970s and subsequently

Matsuo Allard and Marlene Mountain shaped the art of monoku writing in English.

Allan Burns in his Montage for the week of May 3, 2009 (and also as Gallery

Three in Montage: The Book) writes:

“English-language haiku tend to be written in three lines, corresponding to the

metrical division of Japanese haiku, but Japanese haiku are actually usually

printed in a single vertical column. By way of analogy with this form, poets such as

Matsuo Allard and Marlene Mountain began writing English haiku in a single

horizontal line—and thanks to their efforts that form has become established in

English as the major alternative to the typical three-liner”.

Hiroaki Sato was the pioneer of translating Japanese haiku into one line in English.

Mountain (formerly Wills) wrote collaborative linked one-line haiku sequences

(known as Mountain Sonnets, each consisting of 14 one-line haiku). 

The definition quoted in Whiptail Journal (eds. Kat Lehmann and Robin Smith):

“Unlike poetry with line breaks, single-line poetry does not rely on physical

enjambment to enhance the meaning of the poem. As such, one-line poetry can

have more than one break in syntax to create multiple meanings. Single-line poetry

can be a slippery lizard or a long-necked swan.” 

Some of the memorable examples of one-line haiku:

A dandelion seed floats above the marsh grass with the mosquitos.

Allen Ginsberg, “Following haiku”, White Shroud: Poems 1980–1985


in the eggshell after the chick has hatched

Michael Segers, Haiku Magazine, 1971 

a dixie cup floats down the Nile.

Cor Van den Heuvel, EO7, 1964

old woodcutter rests on the rings of the oak

Marlene Mountain, the old tin roof, 1976

an icicle the moon drifting through it

Matsuo Allard, Bird Day Afternoon, 1978

cry of the peacock widens the crack in the adobe wall

Elizabeth Searle Lamb, Harold G. Henderson Haiku Awards 1981

my head in the clouds in the lake

Ruby Spriggs, Frogpond 6:2, 14. 

Some star or other went out, and you, thank you for your book and year

John Ashbery, “37 Haiku”, 1984

Kind of Blue the smell of rain

Allan Burns, Acorn 20, 2008. 

stone before stone Buddha

Karma Tenzing Wangchuk, Stone Buddha, 2009, 54. 

Schooner bearing away the sun in its arms 

Emmanuel Lochac, Monostiches, 1929

pig and i spring rain

Marlene Mountain, Frogpond 2.3-4, 1979

the thyme-scented morning lizard's tongue flicking out

Martin Lucas, Presence 39, 2009

i hope i’m right where the river ice ends

Jim Kacian, Frogpond  35.2, 2012

in the dark of the kitchen with the fridge door open winter solstice

Oliver Schopfer, Under the Basho, 2015

envelope my thumb slips open the seal of his tongue

Janice M. Bostok, Amongst the Graffiti: Collected Haiku and Senryu 1972-

2002 (2005)

dusk from rock to rock a waterthrush

John Wills, The Haiku Anthology (Ed. Cor Van Den Heuvel) 2000

Techniques of Monoku Writing

William J. Higginson, Jim Kacian, Alan Summers, Jacob Salzer, and others have

broadly dealt with the techniques and styles of monoku writing. Artful placement

of words, creating multiple options by the use of the word as verb and noun,

sometimes avoiding the use of verb and expressing in condensed form, and

resonating multiple meanings with more than one pause (kireji) are just some of

the most common techniques. The poetic use of the images, juxtaposing images of

nature and the sense of human behavior, etc constitute the art of monoku


Abruptive Techniques, as suggested by Alan Summers, is a term for sharp changes

in directing the reader. It is one method for breaking up normal syntax/semantics.

Summers writes, “Whether the author wants these monoku read rapidly or a little

slower, we touch on just some of those where velocity with quality of language as

sound, not just meaning and content, can play its part, and produce from velocity

and quality something I will call veloquality. Does one-line haiku echo the one line

image of the fragment/section and phrasal (two-line imagery) sections that creates

sparks, bringing together an altogether different and extra overall image? Or does

it do something different to the technique of juxtaposing imagery? Above all it’s

the invisible text that counts as much as the visible text, as a catalyst for

everything, including the vertical layers of alternative, additional, and

complementary meanings from the horizontal surface meaning.”  

The broad techniques of monoku writing such as haiku in one-breath, classic style

of one-line haiku and one-line haiku with classic multiple meanings have been

described by William J. Higginson. 

I. Haiku in One-breath: The poem starts and finishes in one stroke without any

pause or break in between (poetics of caesura). It has to have a vivid interplay of

image and poetic sense. Otherwise, it would appear more like a sentence or a

prosaic expression.

Jim Kacian’s Where I Leave Off is both a collection of , and a primer on the

writing of, one-line haiku (as well as one-line haibun!). Kacian illustrates with his

own monoku:

“One-line one-thought”:

“Rather than a piling up of images upon the imagination, a single image is extended or elaborated into a second context, stated or implied.”

Similarly, Jim Wilson describes, “What distinguishes the monoku from the haiku is

that the single line of the monoku has no breaks; it just goes from the first to last

syllable.”  The monoku is instead one “complex statement with overlapping parts

forming a complex whole.”   

reading the time-travel novel into the next day

Jim Kacian, Where I Leave Off, 2012

crow caw shatters the silence between composers

Janice M. Bostok, Amongst the Graffiti, 2003 

snow on the sun navigating childhoods

Alan Summers, Yanty’s Butterfly Haiku Nook: An Anthology, 2016

Regarding the single image concept of his own monoku, Cor van den Heuvel in

‘My Haiku Path’, writes that he tried to find another element to resonate with

‘the shadow in the folded napkin’

but “finally decided, with the encouragement of Anita Virgil, that the image could

stand alone. It didn’t need anything else”. He writes “I began to think of one-image

and one-line haiku as a part of my approach to haiku. There is almost always

something else in the experience of the reader that will resonate, if only sub-

consciously, with a single image-if that image is striking and evocative enough.

One may think of it as an invisible metaphor.”

Commenting on the above one-line of Cor van den Heuvel, Robert Gilbert writes:

“It seems van den Heuvel’s “the shadow in the folded napkin” hovers in its own

shadow: as though the text shadows its representation — imagistic fusion

combines with one-line brevity to create a sense of insubstantiality in the read


Regarding short one line poem he further adds, “Imagistic fusion compresses

semantic meaning, images, rhythm, and sometimes orthography, irrupting the

reader’s habitual means of parsing phrases and images…. Imagistic fusion works

quite effectively with the single line and shorter haiku, as the velocity of the eye

scanning across the text often enhances the technique.”

leaves blowing into a sentence

Bob Boldman, Cicada 4.4, 1980

Richard writes: “…the object cannot possibly satisfy the subject. …. In Boldman,

we can see the outer reality of leaves blowing into a shape, say a line, but to

become semantic stretches the sense of subject-object agreement.”

II. Classic Style of One-line Haiku: Here the expression follows the classic

internal rhythm pattern with three phrases. It allows, unlike the three-line pattern of

haiku, to be expressed all in one breath. 

i open the door darkness letting in a strange moth

Matsuo-Allard, Bird Day Afternoon, 1978

Higginson comments: “A quick first reading suggests isolating "darkness" as the

object encountered when the door is opened, intervening between the actions of

opening the door and letting in the moth. But a haiku reading, sensitive to the

normal short-long-short rhythm of a classical haiku, reforms the center of the

poem as 'darkness [is] letting —an action that certainly increases the

strangeness of that moth and the poem's chill.”

III. One-line Haiku with Classic Multiple Meanings: This style embodies the

surrealistic beauty of monoku writing. It is written in such an artistic way, it

exhibits different meanings when read in different ways. This is perhaps unique in

one-line writing with the liberty of white space facilitating a reader to evolve

different interpretations by switching the different syntactic elements (multiple

stops as defined in Kacian). The poem depicts different meanings and it is the real

beauty of this style of monoku writing. 

A haiku, with fragment and phrases having formal line breaks, can not be simply

written in an unbroken format or one-liner. Johannes S. H. Bjerg says the “one-line

haiku seems to be a discipline of its own. What I have discovered is that it

represents another way of thinking, perceiving (sensing), of “speaking” than a

three-line haiku and often with more energy in it as it’s even more condensed in

thought and sensing than a three-line verse.” 

It is interesting to note that how a one-liner can be characterized by multiple breaks as exemplified in the below analysis of Hla Yin Mon's poem by Kat Lehmann and Robin Smith in their article, “ Haiku: Walking the Fine Line.”

Kat Lehmann and Robin Smith enumerated with explanation: “The different

readings of the poem can add new depth or dimension, add meanings, extend, or

juxtapose one another to create several interrelated poems. The result can enhance

the reader's enjoyment and be quite magical.”

​frog inside the bamboo so tiny the moon

Hla Yin Mon, whiptail, Issue 1, 2021

frog inside the bamboo so tiny the moon (flow of ideas)

frog inside the bamboo so tiny / the moon (emphasis on the moon)

frog inside the bamboo / so tiny the moon (emphasis on the moon's smallness)


frog / inside the bamboo / so tiny the moon (relation between frog and moon)

frog inside / the bamboo so tiny / the moon (location of frog)


frog / inside the bamboo / so tiny / the moon ( chopped meaning and broken


Similarly, the following monoku can be interpreted in more than one way by

introducing multiple pauses or kireji in between.

no moon last night I remembered you are gone

Jim Wilson, Shaping Words Blog, 19 July 2010

shadows darkening three-sevenths of her face in sunlight

Elizabeth Searle Lamb, in this blaze of sun, 1975

the zero-shadow moment I am with myself

Pravat Kumar Padhy, The Heron’s Nest Vol. XXI, Number 3, 2019

There are a few other methods generally followed to write monoku. They are as


Words Arrangements: This is a technique of one-line haiku, more of with the

mere close flow of writing of words. It appears as if a single word by way of

overlapping the words embodies the poetic spell.


Rafal Zabratynski, 16th International Kusamakura Haiku competition, 2011


John Stevenson, Frogpond 25:2, 2002

Broken Monoku: Ichthys has composed haiku, essentially, in two lines and is

referred to as ‘Broken monoku’. The monoku is expressed in two lines with a

break or caesura in between. The following is a line expression with a single pause

with characteristic juxtaposition.

footsteps in the street - 

                                               echos of a distant youth

Monoku Blog, 31 Dec 2007

Structural Pattern and My Experience

A simple sentence consists of SVO (Subject, Verb, and Object). The arrangement

of words, sublime juxtaposition, internal musicality, and often layered meanings

justify monoku with literary values. It may be emphasized that monoku is certainly

not a prosaic sentence. The poetic effectiveness of the one-liner becomes diluted if

the haiku can be expressed in a conventional short/long/short format.

The variations of structural style along with the use of syntax elements facilitate to

express monoku with a poetic spell. Arrangement of words and internal phrases,

use of gerund, use of the word as both a noun and a verb, subject-object

interrelationship, semantic agreement, subtle expression of relative clauses, and

artful application of similes, metaphors, alliterations, resonance and internal

rhythm could be modulated as different techniques of writing monoku. Sometimes

the techniques of the structural arrangement of verbs at the beginning and towards

the end, placing the image within the image (repetition of the noun) and tonal

musicality give rise to the elusiveness of the brief poem. Monoku is written with a

subtle soft pause (speech rhythm) between the fragments or subject and object.

This white space acts as a pivot for exhibiting the sense of juxtaposition or

disjunction. The technique of one-word images with opposite senses at the

beginning and at the end of the one-liner can be an innovative way of writing


Based on the observation and experience, I try to classify the following techniques

based on the variation of structural styles along with the use of syntax elements.

All the examples cited are from my published monoku.

1. Syntax: Artful arrangement of words, subject and object in poetic spirit with

strong internal juxtaposition can be an interesting technique. The arrangement of

words is an important component of monoku in particular.

an aid I curve skyward for the temple tree, The Helping Hand Haiku Anthology,


Here, if we omit the word ‘skyward’, it would be a simple prosaic expression with

subject, verb and object. Here the introduction of the word ‘skyward’ acts as an

action-based link-word to render a more meaningful insight into the monoku.

reaping darkness a sickle moon, Akitsu Quarterly, Winter Issue, 2021

The prosaic form is read as ‘A sickle moon is reaping darkness’. Here the word

phrases are arranged to enhance the poetic spell of the monoku.

2. Word as noun and verb: This is a technique to create multilayered meanings

by using the word either as a noun or as a verb.

ink spots the colour of cleanliness, Otata 14, February 2017

space rocks the strange visitors near the entrance, Proletaria, Dec 2019

In the above monoku, ‘spots’, and ‘rocks’ can be used as both nouns or transit

verbs to portray different meanings.

3. Art of speech rhythm: Monoku is written with a subtle soft pause (speech

rhythm) between the fragments. This white space acts as a pivot for resonating the


the moon behind the shyness your crescent smile,

A Hundred Gourds, December 2015

moonrise the sky from the oncology wing,

Presence 61, 2018, a hole in the light:

The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku 2018

Here there is a subtle pause between ‘the moon behind the shyness’ and ‘your

crescent smile’; and between ‘moonrise ’and ‘the sky from the oncology wing’.

Moreover, there seems to be a poetic reversal of the object and the subject while

writing the monoku, ‘the moon behind…’.

4. Use of gerund: A gerund is a non-finite verb (the ‘ing’ form of a verb). The

artful use of gerund makes one-liner a one-breath poetic expression.

obituary column messaging silence into the sky, Under the Basho, 28 th August 2017

winter morning splitting the silence from the cuckoo’s nest, Under the Basho, 2019

In the above monoku, the use of gerunds, ‘messaging’ and ‘splitting’ is artfully


5. Subtle expression of relative clauses: The relative clauses such as who, whom,

which, whose, etc. can be used in an implied way.

a stone in her tiny hand once a mountain, Wales Haiku Journal, Summer 2022

The one-liner is read as a stone (which) is in her tiny hand once a mountain. By

not explicitly mentioning the relative clause, ‘which’, the one-liner portrays a one-

breath expression with the element of juxtaposition. Here the technique of

‘Narrowing focus’( mountain to stone) has been applied

6. Figure of speech: Generally in haiku we seldom use figures of speech. But

these can be applied in the form of implied style while composing monoku.

streamflow of another milky way, Heliosparrow Poetry Journal, 27 th October 2020

Here ‘streamflow’ is correlated with ‘milky way’. But the word arrangements have

been articulated in such a way, that the use of simile ‘like’ has been kept as an

implied sense so as to impart the haiku spontaneity and brevity.

7. Sense reversal: The technique of one-word images with opposite senses at the

beginning and at the end of the one-liner can be an innovative way of writing


bright sky still holding half of the darkness, Blo͞o Outlier Journal, Winter Issue,


The word ‘bright’ at the beginning and ‘darkness’ at the end of the monoku

exhibit a sense of opposite images which can be termed as disjunction in haiku


Similarly the word phrase ‘who I am’ is repeated in the opposite sense in the

following monoku.

who I am the body contours who I am not,

Whiptail, Issue 4, 2022

8. Words of correlative images: Here the structural style is modulated with the

help of a few stand-alone words, mainly nouns. They are arranged in a way to

create an image with internal juxtaposition.

sun, sea, sand and the footprints, Modern Haiku, 50:3, 2019

In the above monoku, only six stand-alone words are used and interestingly the

interrelation between them portrays a comprehensive image with the repetition of

the sound ‘s’. The ‘footprints’ express a zen feeling by linking the images of the


9. Linking of common word phrase: This is a technique to share or link the word

phrase as a common component in the monoku.

granddaughter with office bag my half-way smile,

The Haiku Foundation,

Here ‘with office bag’ can be combined to granddaughter as ‘granddaughter with

office bag’ and can as well be linked to ‘my half-way smile’ as ‘with office bag my

half-way smile’.

10. Use of verb: One can use a verb at the beginning of a one-liner to render a

different kind of approach to monoku writing as mentioned below.

googled for a word full of twinkling stars, The Haiku Foundation, Workplace,

Theme: Lost in Translation, 8 th March 2017

11. Use of pair of verbs: The technique of use of two verbs, one associated with

the first part and the other with the remaining part of monoku.

a tiny bird flies past Mt. Fuji my ego disappears,

The Zen Space, Autumn 2018

Here the verbs ‘flies’ in the beginning, and ‘disappears’ at the end are used in such

a way that the structural arrangement of verbs imparts elusiveness to the haiku.

12. Use of prepositions:

the sound of silence into Shinto shrines,

Akitsu Quarterly, Winter Issue, 2017

In the above example, the preposition for direction ‘into’ infers a movement or

action with abruptive technique.

13. Use of hyphen: Generally hyphen (-) is not used in maonoku. However, it is

often applied to infer a pause or in the form of a word phrase. Alan Summers

defines it as ‘unfulfilled hyphen technique’.

melting away my pain-- garden dew,

The Heron’s Nest, Vol. XV, No. 4, December

2013, tinywords, 18 th January 2018

In the above monoku, the deep pain is subtly hidden or expressed and is compared

with a quick disappearance of dew.

14: Interrogative technique:

what reasons for the trees aggressive wind, Under the Basho, 2018

Here one can feel an expression of the question pattern in the monoku and it ends

with a sense of sprint action.

15. Image within the image: This is an interesting style of expression to create the

image within the same image by repeating the words.

layered shadows mountain behind mountain, Mamba, Issue 9, 2020

dune after dune the migrating songs, Presence 60, 2018

Repetition of words like ‘mountain’ and ‘dune’ in the above monoku renders a

soothing resonance.

16. Multiple images: Monoku with multiple images can be stitched together to

compose a linked version. Such a type of amalgamation of complex images drives

the reader to leap from one setup to the other before arriving at the imagistic fusion

of the expression.

on the back of a refugee a pregnant dog thrashing the shore current, is/let,

21 st March 2020

a piece of chalk in my pocket first day of retirement,

Frogpond, 41:2 Spring–Summer Issue, 2018; Mann Library 15 th February 2021

In the first example, the five images (on the back of /a refugee/a pregnant dog/

thrashing/ the shore current) are embedded together in a flow of expression with

internal rhythm, coherent relationship, and anxiety. Similarly, in the second

example, the three images (a piece of chalk/ in my pocket/ first day of retirement)

culminate into an expression of emotion by interlacing the images.

17. Speculative imagination

children cross one bridge and the other migratory birds, whiptail, 2022

Sometimes technique of ‘speculative’ imagination creates a contrast monoku. In

the above, is it that the children cross one bride after the other or one bridge and

the migratory bird perched on a tree or along with the children also the migratory

birds, etc? Are the children immigrants like migratory birds?

18. Expanded correlation:

friendship day how thoughtfully birds live with the trees, Presence # 73, 2022

Monoku, in its minimalistic style, is characterized by artful use of internal

juxtaposition and poetic rhythm. In the above monoku, the expanded friendship

with the coexistence image in the form of birds with the trees is manifested.

Similarly, in a gentle flow, the melting of thoughts has been demonstrated in the

following monoku.

dew-wet the thought gently melts, Otata, June 2019

19. Historical and cultural reference: The place of interest and cultural

references including literature, sculpture, art, etc sometimes enhance the literary

milieu of monoku. Here Basho’s iconic travel diary, ‘The Narrow Road to the

Deep North’ which symbolizes an exploration of self, nature and divinity, is

referred to with reverence.

Anemone on Basho’s Narrow Road leading the way,

Asahi Shimbun, 5 th March2021

The word ‘Anemone’ in Japanese denotes early spring wildflower. It epitomizes a

symbol to enjoy the moment Here the narration of the phrase ‘Basho’s Narrow

Road leading the way’ has been correlated with the objective identification or

assimilation of the image of the flower.

Artfully one can attempt a one-liner senryu with an element of wittiness and

internal juxtaposition.

a noble thought the last page of the book,

Bamboo Hut Journal, Autumn 2019

coins our ancestors exchanged a great length of time,

Under the Basho, 2017,

Mann Library, 6 th February 2021


James Longenbach says, “Poetry is the sound of language organized in lines.

“More than meter, more than rhyme, more than images or alliteration or

figurative language, line is what distinguishes our experience of poetry as poetry,

rather than some other kind of writing.”  The fundamental line is “an idea isolated

by blank space,” Paul Claudel opines. In a one-line poem, more than any other

form, perhaps the blank space holds much significance in exploring the deeper

meaning beyond the boundary of words. I recall one of my recent publications

(October 2021) in MahMight Journal: the dinosaurs we have come a long way. In

fact, there is an imaginative space-time beyond the word ‘dinosaurs’ in this


Monoku stands out as an independent sub-genre of haiku expression compressing

the essential haiku elements and thematic illumination of aesthetic haiku sublimity.

There could be various nuanced techniques in the form of word arrangements to

manifest the craft of monoku writing. The use of structural fabric, and creative

placement of word-phrase can enhance the poetic brightness of the images.

Monoku can also be blended with subtle metaphors and with the infusion of

allegorical characters within the broad framework of aesthetic haiku elements. The

structural style enumerated above can facilitate practicing monoku writing. Dan

Beachy-Quick remarks, “Poems might be understood as regions of intense

becoming, spaces of encounter and relations in which–impossibly enough–for a

brief while a kind of metamorphosis occurs and, as Arthur Rimbaud so succinctly

put it, ‘I am other.’ That otherness isn’t an escape from, but an entrance into.”

Monoku is perhaps one of the best examples of blazing spells in its brevity. This

can sprout the new literary art in ever minimalistic expression, as rightly Jacob

Salzer states:

“I find that haiku reminds us to use caution with our words, and also helps us

realize the value of a single word. In terms of economy of language, one-line

haiku makes full use of very few words, even more so than three-line haiku. The

depth, and layers of a single word often really come alive in one-line haiku, as it's

presented in a refined format, making familiar words both fresh and insightful…..”

I wish to conclude with the classic lines of Emily Dickinson wrote:

I dwell in Possibility—

A fairer House than Prose—

And she metaphorically uses poetry as the limitless dimension of extension ‘To

gather Paradise— ’.


Bjerg , Johannes S. H. “Editorial statement on One-line Haiku.”Under the Basho

Dickinson, Emily. “I Dwell in Possibility.” Poem Analysis by Emma Baldwin

Higginson, William J. “From One-line Poems to One-line Haiku Part One: The

Invitation.” Simply Haiku 2003-2004.

Gilbert, Richard, 2004. “The Disjunctive Dragonfly: A Study of Disjunctive

Method and Definitions in Contemporary English-language Haiku.” Richard

Gilbert Publication: Studies in English Language and Literature 47, Kumamoto

University, Kumamoto, Japan (March 2004)

Gilbert, Richard, 2013. “The Disjunctive Dragonfly : A New Approach To English

Language Haiku (Red Moon Press 2013)

Ichthys. Broken Monoku, haiku in one broken line, Monoku Blog 2007,

Jacob Salzer (Ed.) and the Nook Editorial Staff. Yanty’s Butterfly: Haiku Nook

Anthology, Publisher, pp.388, 2016.

Kacian, Jim. “The Shape of Things To Come.”, Modern Haiku 43.3, 2012

Kacian Jim. “Where I Leave Off ” (Winchester VA: Red Moon Press, 2012).

Klacsanzky, Nicholas. “Pravat Kumar Padhy’s zero.”Haiku Commentary, 16 June


Lehmann, Kat and Robin Smith, 2021, Haiku: Walking the Fine Line​, whiptail,

lizard lounge. Originally published in Haiku Society of America's  Newsletter

“Haiku Spotlight” Feature, 12/5/21.


Marlene, Mountain. “One-line Haiku.” 1986.

Padhy, Pravat Kumar. “Haiku: The Art of Words and My Maiden Journey.” Living

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Vol. 21 No.1, p. 12-23, 2021

Author’s Note: I express my gratitude to Jim Kacian for his valuable suggestions

and edits of the article in its initial version.


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Neena Singh
Neena Singh
Nov 30, 2022

Thanks for this huge research based comprehensive article on monoku dear's a treasure trove. I will dip into it again and again.

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