Monthly Archives: March 2009

Everyman’s Library, Haiku

Who hasn’t tried to write haiku? I last did it when contributions in this format were requested for our internal staff news, and I wrote one on the unlikely topic of a website launch.

This little book consists mostly of translations of haiku by the Japanese masters (Basho is my favourite of these), and arranged by theme such as the season. Not knowing Japanese, I can’t comment on the quality of the translations, so I’ll concentrate instead on the untranslated poems in English. These are of two kinds. ‘Traditional’ ones have been extracted from existing English poems in another form. This doesn’t really work; you can’t make a haiku by moving around the line breaks, however Japanese the sentiments of the verse (Loveliest of trees,/the cherry now is hung with bloom/along the bough). Some of the ‘Modern’ poems which consciously imitate haiku are more successful; I think that Kerouac does it best, perhaps because of his involvement with Buddhism.

  • Publisher: Everyman’s Library (November 11, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400041287
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400041282
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