recommended / the introduction to…

The Penguin Book of Haiku by

I would like to specifically recommend the Introduction that Adam Kerns wrote for his book The Penguin Book of Haiku (2018). I’d guesstimate that not since reading Haruo Shirane’s essay “Beyond the Haiku Moment: Bashō, Buson and Modern Haiku Myths” (along with his book Traces of Dreams) has my understanding and appreciation of Japanese haiku (its composition and history) been tickled and expanded. If someone’s interested in the haiku that blossomed and was shat from the Japanese people up to 1900, this would be an ideal place to start. Can’t help but recall Philip Rowland’s usage of something W. H. Auden said in “From Haiku to the Short Poem: Bridging the Divide”: “In the history of literature it is extraordinary how profitable misunderstanding of poems in foreign languages has been.” I’ll interpret “profitable” in two ways though: monetarily, but also, especially, as sustenance for consciousness, imagination. One of so many provocative quotes from it: “That Buson also excelled at sound poetry brings into relief how traditionalist accounts of haiku frequently subordinate sound, and other sensory stimuli, to a modern regime of visuality in which images have all be displaced imagination (XLIII).”

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