Hulme Japanese Literature

Tanka Form

tells brief story or express single thought or insight
common topics- love and nature
clear powerful imagery to evoke an emotional response
more emphasis on imagery and emotion than structure
hint or suggest existence of a higher reality

pause indicated by punctuation in English translation

long poem

evolved from collaborative poetry- renga- during medieval ages
chains of interlocking verses
hokku- opening verse of renga
never have titles
don’t have to rhyme
seldom use metaphor or simile
simple direct language
clear images that stimulate thought and evoke emotion

seasonal word

Which form uses contrasting images?

Contrasting Images
explicit or implicit comparison between two images, actions, or states of being

Haiku Form
(sound syllables)

-zen buddhist
-1st great haiku writer
-lived in a (Basho) hut
-hermit, left his samurai family to wander
-natural beauty, dramatic, exaggerated humor or depression
-makes reader conscious of greatness of nature’s power
-aware of items- even death- and even wrote a poem about it
-born near Kyoto
– lived in Edo (now Tokyo)
-father of haiku’s

Was it that I went to sleep thinking of him,
that he came in my dreams? Had I known it a dream I should not have waited.
Ono Komachi

One cannot ask loneliness How or where it starts. On the cypress-mountain, Autumn evening.
Priest Jakuren

When I went to visit The girl I love so much,
That the winter night
The river blew so cold
That the plovers were crying
Ki Tsurayuki

The sun’s way:
hollyhocks turn toward it
through all the rain of May
Matsuo Basho

Clouds come from time to time-
and bring to men a chance to rest
from looking at the moon.
Matsuo Basho

The cuckoo-
Its call stretching
Over the water.
Matsuo Basho

Seven sights were veiled
In mist- then I heard
Mii Temple’s bell.
Matsuo Basho

Summer grasses-
All that remains
Of soldiers’ visions.
Matsuo Basho

Haiku that starts with “Spring Rain:”
Yosa Buson

Beautiful, seen through holes
Made in a paper screen:
The Milky Way.
Kobayashi Issa

Far-off mountain peaks
Reflected in its eyes:
The dragonfly.
Kobayashi Issa

A world of dew:
Yet within the dewdrops-
Kobayashi Issa

With bland serenity
Gazing at the far hills:
A tiny frog.
Kobayashi Issa

-second greatest japanese haiku poet
-lived in kyoto
-also a fine painter
-romantic view of japanese landscape capturing mystery of nature
-frequently wrote more than one haiku on the same subject
Yosa Buson

talent only recognised after death
born into poverty and struggled through it his entire life
appreciation for hardships people face- common in his work
poetry examines daily life in Japan
Kobayashi Issa