book recommendation / Okinawa by Hasegawa Kai

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.

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human remains—

right inside the mouth

green pampas grass

.

the glare

of the burning sun

saddened by the earth

.

listen to

the far-the off grieving

of the summer tide

.

the enormous sunset—

Okinawa has no place

                      to return

.

the silence after

the earth’s destruction—

the Milky Way

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yukio Mishima’s Haiku

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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).

夜の湖の暗きを流れ桐一葉
Yo no umi no kuraki o nagare kiri hitoha
Flowing in the dark of the night lake a paulownia leaf

 

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