from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A haiku.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A type of Japanese poem.


Japanese : hotsu, to start, give rise to (from Middle Chinese puat) + ku, phrase, haiku; see haiku.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Japanese (Wiktionary)


  • In it, the concluding hemistich of the tanka is left off, and it is just in his hemistich that the meaning of the poem is brought out, so that the hokku is a mere essence, a whiff of an idea to be created in full by the hearer.

    Diaries of Court Ladies of Old Japan

  • The first hemistich which was composed of 17 syllables grew to be called the hokku, the second or finishing hemistich of 14 syllables was called ageku.

    Japanese Prints

  • The only link that must be able to stand alone is the hokku, the "starting link" of the complete renga.


  • We must reform hokku — we shall henceforth call it haiku!

    Néojaponisme » Blog Archive » A History of Modern Japanese Literary Criticism: Act One, Scene 1

  • He decided that hokku was a powerful force for order in English.


  • In theory, the short-stop holds the same relation to the eight-line poem that the Japanese hokku does to the tanka, although of course it preceded the hokku by many centuries.

    Fir-Flower Tablets: Poems Translated From the Chinese

  • But the hokku was not invented until the fifteenth century; before that, the tanka, in spite of occasional attempts to vary it by adding more lines, changing their order, using the pattern in combination as a series of stanzas, etc., reigned practically supreme, and it is still the chief classic form for all Japanese poetry.

    Diaries of Court Ladies of Old Japan

  • It will always come back to me in the blur of that hokku: The heart of a woman of thirty is like the red ball of the sun seen through a mist.

    Put Off the Wedding Five Times and Nobody Comes to It. VIII. Circles of Doors

  • That is not to say, that, by taking the letter for the spirit, we should in any way strive to imitate the hokku form.

    Japanese Prints

  • The concluding hemistich, whereby the hokku becomes the tanka, is existent in the writer's mind, but never uttered.

    Japanese Prints


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