Monthly Archives: March 2013

ISLANDS IN THE SEA: TRANSLATING SHIKI

R. H. Blyth, to whom I often refer, called the following verse by Shiki “Shiki at his best” (Shiki would have called it a “haiku,” in keeping with his odd ideas of reform, even though it is a hokku in form … Continue reading

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AND CHANGE WITH HURRIED HAND: TUCKERMAN AND TIME

It is astonishing how much damage humans have done to America in some 400 years.  Vast forests have vanished, and concrete creeps over everything.  Too many people, too much greed and heedlessness.  And it is only getting worse.  Now not … Continue reading

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ERNEST DOWSON AND THE PERPETUAL CHILD: LA JEUNESSE N’A QU’UN TEMPS

In a previous posting we took a look at the poetry of Ernest Dowson, who sadly lost himself in drink and other excesses and died at age 32.  It puts us in mind of Dylan Thomas, who similarly was afflicted … Continue reading

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HOKKU SEASON WORDS: OLD AND NEW

A noteworthy difference between hokku as it was practiced in old Japan and hokku as it is practiced today in English is the method of dealing with season. The seasons are essential to hokku, one of its defining characteristics.  Every … Continue reading

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SPRING AND SUPERFICIALITY: DETERMINING DEPTH IN HOKKU

One of the most difficult things for the beginning student of hokku to grasp is the difference in what we might call “levels” of hokku.  It is common for someone unfamiliar with the principles of hokku to read hundreds of … Continue reading

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NOTHING IS SO BEAUTIFUL AS SPRING (OR SO CONFUSING, IN THIS CASE)

Today’s poem is a bit tricky, because it begins (with one possible exception) as one of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ simpler poems, yet turns, at the very end, into one of his most difficult. SPRING Nothing is so beautiful as spring— … Continue reading

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HEAVEN-HAVEN: REFUGE FROM THE SEA OF TEARS

To better understand today’s poem we must first put ourselves into the mindset of Gerard Manley Hopkins in the year 1864, when the poem was written.    He was a sensitive fellow for whom life in the everyday world was … Continue reading

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