Monthly Archives: June 2013

YOU ABSENT AND PRESENT: TAIGI’S UNSPOKEN WORDS

In recent postings I have talked about how important unity is to hokku– how a relationship must be felt by the reader among the elements included in the verse.  And I have talked about how the reader must make a … Continue reading

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A LEADING DOG: DETERMINING QUALITY IN HOKKU

Context makes a huge difference in hokku, even if one uses the same subject. Let’s talk about dogs. Issa wrote two hokku — one a summer hokku, one autumn — in which a dog is leading someone somewhere.  But one … Continue reading

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OLD POND, OLD WELL

As most of you know, Bashō wrote this spring hokku, which R. H. Blyth translated as: The old pond; A frog jumps in, — The sound of the water. Buson wrote a summer hokku, which Blyth rendered thus: In the … Continue reading

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HOW TO READ A HOKKU: ONE MAN, ONE FLY, ONE ROOM

People often forget that in learning hokku, one does not just learn how to write them, but also how to read them. The same principles that apply to writing apply also to reading, and both are important.  If one does … Continue reading

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MORNING MELONS MUDDIED AND COOL, MINUS “THINKING”

Bashō wrote: In the morning dew, Muddied and cool — The melons. Just one look at that should tell readers that hokku is nothing at all like what we think of as “poetry” in the West, which is why I … Continue reading

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THE YIN AND YANG OF SUMMER

If you have been reading this site for some time, you will already know how important an understanding of Yin and Yang are to the practice of hokku.  And you will know that speaking very broadly, Yin is cold and … Continue reading

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ALAS, THAT SPRING SHOULD VANISH WITH THE ROSE

Issa wrote a hokku for the end of spring: Sough, sough — Spring departs; The grass of the fields. If you do not like the respectable old word sough for the rustling, sighing sound of the wind through the grasses, you … Continue reading

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