Monthly Archives: September 2012

AUTUMN WILLOWS

Seibi has an interesting hokku that reminds one of Thoreau’s close observation of Nature: The morning sun; Already it penetrates The autumn willows. This is another of those verses in which meaning requires knowing the principles of hokku.  We might … Continue reading

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OTHER PEOPLE’S AUTUMN

I often say here that Japanese hokku sometimes tends to a vagueness not found in English-language hokku.  Some verses can be so unclear as to leave their meaning perpetually in doubt.  Those are just bad hokku, in spite of the … Continue reading

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TRANSLATING LANGUAGE, TRANSLATING CULTURE

When we read or write hokku in English, we should be careful to avoid romanticism and exoticism, both of which lead us into illusions and fancy and away from the aesthetics appropriate to hokku. That is why, when I translate … Continue reading

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AND I AM MARIE OF ROUMANIA

Last time, I talked a bit about Walt Whitman’s way of overcoming the repeated disappointments of life. But for some people, the only answer is humor. That was Dorothy Parker’s approach. Dorothy Parker, you will recall, was a wit popular … Continue reading

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O ME! O LIFE!: WALT WHITMAN’S ANSWER

Life, as we all know, has its ups and downs.  Normally the ups are slight, the downs are slight, but we all go through phases, whether days, months, or even years, when things just do not seem to go right … Continue reading

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FREE THOUGHT, FREE SPEECH, FREE EXPRESSION

For a free society, free intellectual advancement, and a creative and open marketplace of thought and ideas, freedom of speech and expression are essential.  They are the foundation of a free society. Freedom of speech is the right not only … Continue reading

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AUTUMN DREAMS, AUTUMN SNORES

A pleasant hokku for the early part of autumn is this by Suiō, in spite of its unconventional arrangement. The autumn night; Dreams and snores And grasshoppers chirring. It is evocative of the warm, drowsy, earlier part of autumn, when … Continue reading

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