Show, don't tell is a technique often employed in various kinds of texts to enable the reader to experience the story through action, words, thoughts, senses, and feelings rather than through the author's exposition, summarization, and description. The goal is not to drown the reader in heavy-handed adjectives, but rather to allow readers to interpret significant details in the text. The technique applies equally to nonfiction and all forms of fiction, literature including Haiku and Imagism poetry in particular, speech, movie making, and play-writing.
The concept is often attributed to Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, reputed to have said "Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." In fact, the quote is probably apocryphal, but derived from a letter to his brother in which he wrote "In descriptions of Nature one must seize on small details, grouping them so that when the reader closes his eyes he gets a picture. For instance, you’ll have a moonlit night if you write that on the mill dam a piece of glass from a broken bottle glittered like a bright little star, and that the black shadow of a dog or a wolf rolled past like a ball..."