Okinawa by Hasegawa Kai is a stirring meditation full of powerful, haunting imagery on the death and destruction left behind by war and its long-term effects on culture, people, and environment. In some of the poems he zooms out, writing critically, universally, about our home (our planet), and how our species behaves. He does this in poems that reflect not just on the past and the present, and their collisions, but also on the future. The overall effect is that a kind of consecration is being performed. The poems remind me of the following from Makoto Ueda’s Matsuo Basho, a kind of definition for haiku: “mature comments on man and his environment.”
The collection is translated by David Burleigh and available from Red Moon Press.
right inside the mouth
green pampas grass
of the burning sun
saddened by the earth
the far-the off grieving
of the summer tide
the enormous sunset—
Okinawa has no place
the silence after
the earth’s destruction—
the Milky Way
Hiroaki Sato has a new book, On Haiku, coming out from New Directions.
One chapter that takes a look at the haiku of Yukio Mishima is in The Paris Review. It’s available to read online. The essay/chapter was originally published in Roadrunner (R’r).
Yo no umi no kuraki o nagare kiri hitoha
Flowing in the dark of the night lake a paulownia leaf
106 pages / $16
I would very much like to recommend Eve Luckring‘s powerful, enveloping collection, The Tender Between, beautifully published by Ornithopter Press. As it’s eloquently written on the back of the book, “The Tender Between negotiates a linguistic terrain at once forming and falling apart. Through fragmented text and deftly recast associations, Eve Luckring questions the assumptions that define self/world. . . . This is a spare, precise poetry attentive to every syllable.”
A rather restrained sampling: