haiku community

The Haiku Masters of Japan drop in for a visit [by David Lehman] – The Best American Poetry

#Haiku Happenings #8: David Lehman of “The Best American Poetry 2020” presents haiku by the masters!

Thanks to Bob Hass, I’m
reading the haiku masters
of Japan — Basho,

Buson and Issa —
in one essential book: The
Essential Haiku,

published by Ecco,
with smart intro and useful
notes by Mr. Hass.

Examples follow.
(Translators do not observe
strict syllabic count).

Here is Basho as
rendered by B. Watson in
fifteen syllables:

“It’s not like anything
they compare it to —
the summer moon.”

And now for Buson,
trans. by Yuki Sawa and
Edith M. Shiffert:

“I go,
you stay;
two autumns.”

Issa, the last of
the three, wrote the following
(trans. Robert Huey):

“Children imitating cormorants
are even more wonderful
than cormorants.”

This post, which went up
ten years ago, concluded
with my rules-be-damned

three-word translation
of Basho’s famous beloved
haiku of the frog:



Categories: haiku community

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