Haiku: Japanese Art and Poetry

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By Judith Patt, Michiko Warkentyne, and Barry Till.

The strictest and purest of poetic forms, the Japanese haiku contains in its seventeen sound characters a reference to a season as well as a distinct pause or interruption. Swallows and cherry blossoms might refer to spring; red maple leaves and deer usually imply autumn. These seasonal allusions emphasize the essence of haiku: nature and its ephemeral beauty.

The graceful, evocative haiku featured here were composed by the renowned Japanese haiku masters of the past four hundred years, including , Taniguchi Buson, Kobayashi Issa and Matsuo Bashō. The deceptively simple poems—rendered in English with Japanese calligraphies and transliterations—are paired with exquisite eighteenth- or nineteenth-century paintings and ukiyo-e prints and twentieth-century shin hanga woodcuts from the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Canada. With their wide range of subtle hutes, depth and delicacy, and time-honored focus on landscapes, flowers and birds, these artworks—like their haiku counterparts—quietly capture a moment in time.

Haiku: Japanese Art and Poetry presents thirty-five pairs of poems and images, organized seasonally. The Introduction details the origin and development of haiku, the lives of the most famous poets, and the obstacles faced when translating the concise yet complex lines.

Hardcover smyth-sewn casebound book, with jacket, 80 pages, 35 color reproductions.

Dimensions: 8 x 8 x 0.5 inches

Perfect gift for those who appreciate Japanese art.