Monthly Archives: April 2010

THE ESSENCE OF HOKKU

Because it is so important to understanding hokku, here is a repeat of an earlier posting: I have never been an admirer of Confucius, yet one can say of the teaching of hokku what Confucius said: “The Master said, “Do … Continue reading

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POETS OF THE DEAD WORLD

It is difficult to write hokku while living in a big city.  The reason is that to build a city, natural life is removed — trees and grasses, bushes and weeds, soil and streams and all the creatures that live … Continue reading

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CONTEMPLATIVE VERSE

One of the major influences on the writers of hokku was the old collection of the “Three Hundred Tang Poems.”  These were the famous classics of the Chinese Tang Dynasty that were to Japanese writers what college anthologies of poetry … Continue reading

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RAIN DRIPPING INTO A BASIN

I periodically emphasize that I do not translate old hokku here just to be translating them, but rather to show through them how hokku are to be written today in English and other languages. Some time ago I discussed this … Continue reading

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LIKE CLOUDS — OR IS IT GEESE, OR MAYBE….

Someone recently kindly asked me to participate in an online group project to translate — or at least present Englished versions of — all the hokku of Bashō.  I declined for a number of reasons, among them the fact that … Continue reading

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CHERRY BLOSSOMS COME BLOWING

Bashō wrote a very spring-like verse almost too pretty for hokku: From the four directions, Cherry blossoms come blowing in; Lake Nio. We could be a bit less literal and make it: From all directions, Cherry blossoms come blowing; Lake … Continue reading

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ON THE OLD DOOR

I repeatedly remind readers that hokku is very simple.  Here is a good example — a verse by Shōha: Furuki to ni    kage utsuriyuku   tsubame kana Old  door on   shadow changing swallow kana In essence, this is … Continue reading

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