Haiku poetry and metaphorical thought: An invitation to interdisciplinary study

Dawn G. Blasko, Dennis W. Merski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Haiku, a Japanese form of short poetry, enjoys international popularity. The combination of simplicity of form and profoundness of meaning makes haiku an ideal topic for the interdisciplinary study of creativity. Haiku is unusual among poetic genres in that poets are cautioned to avoid the use of figurative language such as metaphor, which may obscure the expression of a simple perceptual truth. In the same breath, the poet is told that good haiku usually have two elements in tension that create in the reader a new insight - a definition that sounds remarkanbly like modern views of metaphor. In this article, we examine this interesting paradox and describe some preliminary data from an ongoing series of studies. We suggest that the negative view of metaphor often expressed by teachers and poets may be primarily definitional. Modern views of metaphor suggest that is much more than literary embellishment and, in fact, often speak of it as closely akin to perceptual processes. Unfortunately, this new perspective on figurative language has not been widely embraced by disciplines outside of cognitive science, largely because of an unfortunate lack of interdisciplinary communication. The puropose of this article is to begin just such a discussion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-46
Number of pages8
JournalCreativity Research Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


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