Although some people assume the word Haiku means something like “incomprehensible nature poem,” in actuality, the definition is far less interesting.
The term comes from a combination of two other Japanese poetry forms: haikai and hokku.
Haikai is a form of renga, or linked-verse poem, that’s humorous. Hokku is the first verse of a renga.
It is used to set the tone of the rest of the poem but only has three lines in which to do so.
In the 1600s, Japanese poetry enthusiasts started to appreciate the hokku standing on its own, without the following renga or haikaijust a poem in and of itself.
The idea caught on and became a popular art form in Japan.