by Janice M Bostok
A pure black
butterfly frisks keri
Shiki was born on 14th October 1867, in Matsuyama, Japan. His gô, or pen name Shiki, which means a small cuckoo-like bird, came about after he spat blood for a week in May 1889. It is said the bird, in order to attain the fine tone in its voice must keep singing until it spits blood. For most of his adult life Shiki suffered from tuberculosis. He died on the 19th September 1902. His father was a Samurai and his maternal grandfather a Confucian scholar. He began writing Chinese verse at the age of eleven. His earliest existing tanka was written at the age of fifteen. He began studying at university but left without graduating. For a time he was a war correspondent in China. Shiki is considered to be the last of the traditional haiku masters and the first of the modern ones. Although he advocated reform most of his poems are written in the traditional form. It is his method and content for which he is remembered.
Into the ashes
it fell and got smudged;
new calendar kana
He formed a group and had a number of disciples who followed him in his desire for reform. Some of those who came after him were the free metre poets, Kyoshi, Hekigodo, Ippikiro and Meisetsu. The free metre poets tended to lengthen haiku and dismiss the seventeen Japanese syllable count. Makoto Ueda says if we are to think of the three lined haiku as a triangle shape, the free metre form of the New Trend Haiku could be considered as a rectangle.
Continue reading “Masaoka Tsunenori — the Haiku Master Shiki”
Hattori Ransetsu 1654-1707
by Jane Baker
Basho is rightly famous but why does the western world know so little of his contemporaries? Deep in Basho’s “old silent pond” dwell all sorts of interesting other frogs – Kikaku’s that “command the dark”; Onitsura’s “froglets” that in summer “sang like birds” but with winter’s onset “bark like old dogs”; Joso’s “good Buddhist frog…/ rising to a clearer light / by non-attachment” as well as Issa’s “fat frog / in the seat of honour / singing bass”.
Continue reading “Soft Upon My Shutters”
1st May 7 – 9 pm Haiku – Writing Workshop with LYN REEVES
An introduction to haiku
Rosny Library Meeting Room, Bligh Street, Rosny Park, Hobart – near Service Tasmania.
Haiku are tiny poems that were first written hundreds of years ago. People from all over the world are discovering the pleasure of these condensed capsules of poetic insight, so that Haiku-in-English has become the fastest-growing literary genre. Today’s haiku have their beginnings in ancient Japan, but today’s poets use haiku to express the uniqueness of everyday experience and the environment they live in. A haiku captures a moment in time and shares that experience with a reader. The skills developed by writing haiku can make all types of writing more vivid and immediate.
Continue reading “Haiku Workshop – Hobart”
by Alison Williams
This article was first published in Yellow Moon 18, Summer 2005, pp. 30-31, and is reproduced here with the kind permission of the author.
Alchemy is sadly missing from the curriculum, and so it is possible that you may not be aware of something called prima materia. Prima materia is said to be the original pure substance out of which everything was created, and is so easily overlooked that only a master alchemist recognises it as the vital ingredient of the Philosopher’s Stone.
Continue reading “Haiku Lessons”
1763 — 1827
by Janice M Bostok
The spring moon
Upon a flower thief
At work on a hill. 1
Issa was born in Kashiwabara village, Japan, the first son of a farmer. His childhood name was Yatarô but he was registered with Nobuyuki as his first name and Kobayashi as his surname. Issa did not have a happy or fortuitous life. While he was still young (at the age of about three) his mother died. His grandmother took over raising him. Later she also died and his father remarried. His stepmother eventually forced Issa to leave home at the age of thirteen.
Continue reading “Nobuyuki Kobayashi — ISSA”
by Janice M Bostok
Perched upon the temple bell
the butterfly sleeps 1
Buson was originally named Taniguchi Buson (pronounced boo-sahn). He later changed his name to Yosa Buson. It appears he had more than one pen-name or ‘go’ throughout his lifetime. (Particularly as there are various seals that he used on his paintings.)
Continue reading “Yosa Buson – BUSON 1716 – 1784”
by Janice M Bostok
Most of you who have heard of the short Japanese poem haiku will no doubt have heard of the haiku master Matsuo Bashõ. He is considered the first of the four Japanese masters who are the pillars of the development of the haiku poem. In the west, we are probably first introduced to him in translation and many of us say we fell in love with haiku because of Bashõ’s work. Of course, there has been much more development of the haiku over the years in Japan, but this is the starting point where we are introduced to haiku and become serious about wanting to write it in English.
Continue reading “Matsuo Kinsaku — Bashõ 1644 – 1694”
Sponsored by the Haiku Poets of Central Maryland
Judge: Billie Wilson, Juneau, Alaska
the bones of the bonfire
~Kate Bosek-Sill, Rochester, NY
A new day is dawning, and the remains of this fire remind us that yesterday is gone forever—as fully consumed as the wood (the “bones”) of that bonfire. There is a nice edge of wondering why the fire was built. The use of “bones” is not only intriguing within the haiku, but within the context of etymology, since “bonfire” comes from the medieval “bone-fire.” This is an excellent poem to be read aloud. The inner play of the long “o” sound of “bones” with the short “o” in “bonfire—the near-rhyme of “dawn” and bonfire”—and the alliteration of “b” words in the second and third lines—add layers of pleasing sound.
the weight of rust
on the snowline
~Ron Moss, Tasmania, Australia
An unusual topic. The freshness of the material is appealing, and the juxtaposition is compelling. Even in abandonment, the very existence of this station “weighs” heavily against human history. The damage done is powerfully captured in understatement: that feather-light rust is like blood against the snow.
Continue reading “RESULTS FROM 2007 ANITA SADLER WEISS MEMORIAL HAIKU AWARDS”