A blog devoted mainly to haiku and senryu and to thoughts about, and inspired by, haiku and senryu.

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Location: New York, New York

Haiku is to poetry as espresso is to coffee.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


cloud shapes
I cross out
a line

First published in Notes from the Gean.


Blogger Devika said...

this one could be read in a few ways and juxtaposes nature of the poet well with that of nature -- perhaps thats what a true haiku is? very nice, Bill :)


8:10 PM  
Blogger Frank... said...

A nice juxtaposition of images, Bill...

4:39 AM  
Blogger monikathomapetit said...

Yes, Devika and Bill : that's what a true haiku is. I'm profoundly moved by this one. Thanks, Bill.

8:51 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

Alas, Devika, "Blyth" amounts to six volumes: "Haiku" in four volumes and "history of Haiku" in two. But I do think they are essential for any English speaking student of haiku. It was through R. H. Blyth that Jack Kerouac, Gary Snyder, and others came to know haiku, and through them that haiku was introduced to the American literary mainstream, which is where I am.

9:48 AM  
Blogger Devika said...

Okay Bill :)...i know about the four volumes...i'll possibly get them -- for now there's so much to read online, and very many authors,


10:05 AM  
Blogger John McDonald said...

well done Bill

3:49 PM  
Blogger Tikkis said...

Nicely put Bill. And Devika got it, too, I think.

a drop
going to grow up
as a rain

And Jack Kerouac is as an original Japanese haiku-poet, I think. I have read his Book of Haiku several times. It's also translated into Finnish, but I prefer the original. Kerouac's language is so sharp, but also soft.

I have two or three Snyder's collection; Complete poems not (yet) published. One book is translated in Finnish, and another one is coming by my good friend soon; Mountains and Rivers. I have read it and I take it merely as a Zen-book?

And Blyth, of course. When a student 40 years ago I had money to buy just one Blyth; I got Winter-Autumn volume. I borrowed some 30 scarecrow-haiku and put those in one of my book, named Dolby C, 1987.

2:04 AM  
Blogger Gillena Cox said...

can we ever truly represent nature; beautiful haiku Bill; much love...

5:24 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

Frank and Monika, your comments weren't here when I responded to Devika. My thanks to both. I'm moved by your comment, Monika.

thanks, John.

Tikkis and Devika, Blyth identifies "the nature of humanity and the humanity of nature" as vital concerns of haiku. Actually, they are one concern.

Thanks for that thoughtful response, Gillena.

3:48 PM  
Blogger Juhani Tikkanen said...

Yes Bill ("the nature of humanity and the humanity of nature")!

Just found one from: http://hokku.wordpress.com/2011/03/03/richard-wright-the-wrong-path-taken/ as this:

"First of all, what is a hokku? It is a short verse - in three lines in English, though generally one line in Japanese - expressing Nature and the place of humans within and as a part of Nature, in the context of the seasons. It consists of two parts - a longer and a shorter - separated in
English by appropriate punctuation."

There are many theories what the haiku is, beginning from 5-7-5, and that's it, no more. (I don't agree with that ;-)

Blyth's is one of the sharpest, I think.

Those snowy trees
going to write
a winter-haiku?


Got a sharp pencil
and enough paper -
nothing to say

Later one is not a haiku due to season missing, how about senryuu?

3:20 AM  
Blogger Tikkis said...

this bursting rain
came from?

10:58 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

"in the context of the seasons" is just vague enough to leave open whether a kigo, or seasonal reference, must be found in the poem. The Japanese kigo is, of course, culturally coded in a way that western season words are not. thanks for the input, tikkis. Yes, I'd say the "pencil" one is senryu

7:15 AM  

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