The following checklist is being distributed by the British Haiku Society as part of a postal kukai for members. I did not write it myself and make no claim that these points are a "definitive list". I have posted them as I think they might be of general interest.
...it might [also] be worth recording that the guidelines came from the Wales region of the BHS. I'm not sure that all regions are using the same list.
- Matt Morden
Write only when you have been moved, touched or inspired by an actual experience.
Just relax and be yourself, without straining or effort. So be honest, simple, clear and straightforward. Avoid cliché, cleverness and wordiness.
Say how it is without abstractions, avoid explanations and philosophising, leave space for readers to feel their own responses.
Resist heaviness and overloading; prefer allusion and understatement.
Try to express your feelings through the images you use, rather than actually saying you are "sad" or "lonely". This gives space for the readers to experience those feelings for themselves.
Many of the best haiku present unexpected and contrasting images. These can arouse profound and subtle emotions and can convey layers of elusive meaning.
Finally, are there words which you could omit which would make the haiku work better? And what happens if you change the lines around?
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