Category Basho

Basho’s Cool Nothing in Jane Reichhold’s Translation

In modernity, “nothing” is zero, nada: nihil. We are most of us born nihilists. We simply can’t “think” of nothing. Jane Reichhold’s (1937-2016) presentation of Basho in her Basho: The Complete Haiku (Kodansha International, 2008) goes to the quick of Basho’s profound grasp of the difficulty of meaning and the power of wonder wondering: why […]

Haiku and the Comedy of Life

a zig and a zag the little white  butterfly is bigger than life Juxtaposition is the essence of haiku. The two sections are asymmetrical — not only is one section shorter by more than half, the role played by the shorter one is to orient our view of the longer one. This instability of temporal structure […]

Haiku as Paradigm

Revised 21 vi 2016; 25×2016 On the Kigo as an Image of Desire Haiku is a hinged form. The single line — Japanoese kigo– is often spoken of as a cultural given, a seasonal word everybody in the language community understands,  a sort of fixed point. I’d rather say it is an index of the DESIRE […]