“Old” readers here will quickly notice the change in appearance of this site. I hope it may aid eyes wearied by the computer screen.
With this change of “look” and of season, I want to take a few moments for a general review of this site and its subject matter for new readers.
First, of course, this is a site for instruction in how to write the hokku — that remarkably condensed form of brief verse, set in the context of Nature and the seasons — that flourished before the 20th century cast it aside as inappropriate to the speed and goals and materialism of “modern” life — as though life could somehow exist outside Nature and the changing seasons.
As in the past, I shall continue to explain, through example, how the hokku is written in English, and what its aesthetics, so different from what we in the West know as “poetry,” are. A diligent reader here will over time pick up the essential foundations for the practice of writing hokku, and if these basic elements are applied to actually taking up the verse form for one’s self, anyone with reasonable skill and innate taste should be able not only to write passable hokku, but occasionally quite good hokku. Most important in this regard is understanding the spirit and the aesthetic behind hokku, and that is something one cultivates and develops over time through immersion in the subject and continued practice.
Beyond that, I often discuss here what is more commonly regarded as poetry in the English and other languages, verses that have kept (or should have kept) their appeal for one reason or another. And I add to those excerpts from prose that often — sometimes unexpectedly — prove poetic in themselves.
I approach poetry here on an unaccustomed path, one in which it relates directly to daily life and to the kind of spirituality one finds in hokku — a spirituality in which the self of the writer and of the reader disappears in that which is written about. And as Giacomo Leopardi wrote in his poem L’Infinito, “The Infinite,”
Così tra questa immensità s’annega il pensier mio:
e il naufragar m’è dolce in questo mare.
“Thus through this immensity my thought is drowned;
and shipwreck is sweet to me in this sea.”