Thursday, June 12, 2014

Something Red, Something Black

This is another of my mother's slides. I like the graphic quality of this. It seems to be a stage production, perhaps of Our Town. If so, this would have been Shaker Heights High School in the late 1960s. That might even be my brother Robert (who died in 1997) at left, but I might not find out now. R Rob was tall and slender and sported that kind of fluffy, longish hair at the time. He also took part in high school theatricals.
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Today I got a new book by Chasrlotte Digregorio,
Haiku and Senryu; 
A Simple Guide for All,
Artful Communications Press, 2014.
It isn't really that simple, being over 200 pages, without much space around the sample poems. I am eager to get started on it, but it is the kind of book you have to ingest in small bites.

Riffling through, I spotted this haiku of Issa's that I don't remember seeing before, The article on Kobayashi Issa in Wikipedia says he wrote more than 20,000 haiku, so I guess that is not surprising that I don't know them all. Next to Basho, he is probably Japan's most revered haiku poet. The poet and translatoe, David Lanoue has created a website for Issa, with many of his translations of that poet. This website, which presents translations (with commentary) of about 10,000 of Issa's haiku is well worth some afternoons and evenings of your time,

Here is the haiku from Charlotte's book; it is in David's translation.

unaware the tree
is destined for the axe . . .
nest building         (page 62)

ISSA   (1763-1828)

This has for me the same poignant quality as finding a picture that might be of my treasured brother so many years after his death. The poem doesn't completely reject life as it is, but looks at things with a clear and unsentimental view.

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