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This page heads a series of haiku poems by famous haiku writers - Basho, Buson, Issa, and Shiki - they are all here along with others.
In a Station of the Metro
In this haiku (poem) by a Western poet, the the title is an integral part of the whole. Other Western poets too have sought to capture of the haiku tradition, if not its metre. Adaptations have resulted.
A haiku is a shorthand-looking poem, traditionally with a seasonal reference, but not always. Instead of expressing what they want to, some try poetry. The word haiku (plural: haiku) comes from Japan. It is an unrhymed verse form and hokku is another name for it. Haiku poems have only three lines and may read very much like telegrams.
The haiku (hokku) was derived from the tanka poem. The haiku form first derived as its three opening lines. The content may contain allusions arrived at in another culture, that is, some words stand for (symbolise) something else, suggest something else, or refer to it.
In Japan, haiku gradually changed with time. Some knowledge of Japanese culture is good for appreciating these aspects and perhaps enhancing our appreciation of works in this genre, but is far from necessary. Being oneself is necessary. True appreciation stems from that, naturally. It can be enlarged by such as knowledge of the culture, but first things first.
Along with over a hundred haiku, there is brief mention of some details of the old craft and for forming its content. However, Japanese is a more syllabic language in construction than English, and there are not good enough reasons to make metre and syllables a strait-jacket for one's expression, I figure. Still, the terse suggestiveness of haiku has inspired Western artists, in part as Japanese woodcuts and paintings have inspired famous European painters from the 1800s and onward. Artists have approached and in some cases imitated the impromptu-looking, but calculated haiku style. It may resemble modernist poetry and lyrics in some of its facets. Some warm-up lines are next in line:
I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud
He says in effect: I wandered lonely and cloudily / Lo! yellow daffodils. The terse presentation is a haiku.
Birds and Fishes
Song lyrics approach haiku at times too.
The lines above are either verbatim quotations, verses with parts left out as shown, and lines with some words left out with no signs whatever. Wordsworth's poem goes on. The lines of Jeffers are selected from inside his poem. The verse by Stevens is quoted verbatim; it is one of thirteen "pieces". A few lines from an Ashbury poem are quoted verbatim, as are the ones by Anne Sexton and Kenney, and Dylan. Our lines from a song by Cohen, on the other hand, are shortened here.
Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica 2010 Ultimate Reference Suite DVD. London: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2010.
Fergusson, Margaret, et al. The Norton Anthology of Poetry. 4th ed. New York: Norton, 1996.
Levenson, Michael, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Modernism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
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