|"Noh" Tinywords Mask|
For less than the price of a coffee I have already received more enjoyment than any cup of coffee has ever brought me - and I am only a quarter way through!
David Lanoue obviously loves his subject (after all, he has translated all 10,000 Issa poems and has published over a thousand of these in his other book, "Issa's Best", as well as sharing one each day on his Issa website - also linked in my sidebar). He brings a genuine understanding of Issa and sympathy for all the aspects of his life, and an enthusiasm for his poetic output that it is positively contagious.
Reading this book has really rekindled my love of haiku. It has revived my own efforts at writing haiku: reading someone like Issa in translations such as those of Lanoue sets my brain into a sort of "haiku mode" all day, and I find myself naturally thinking and breathing in haiku throughout, and spontaneously finding those haiku moments that for so many months had been missed by me.
I'm left feeling more like this:
And Lanoue provides an excellent examplar for a haiku commentator to follow. Here is a brief exerpt, following a discussion of a series of haiku involving sparrows, of his commentary on the following:
"flying in and out
of the prison ...
The prisoners are unseen, but we feel their presence - and feel for them. Issa brilliantly juxtaposes bondage and freedom, guilt and innocence, stasis and movement, sorrow and joy, society and Nature. The baby sparrows flit easily over walls and through barred windows, but the human beings inside them know no such freedom. With deft understatement Issa intimates pathos in the scene. He says nothing overt about emotion yet gently tugs at the reader's heartstrings.
|They aren't Japanese, but these sparrows are free|
"Depending on context, English equivalents of ninjo include sympathy, kindness, humanity, and human nature ... the ability to feel sincerely for others [that] is believed to be an essential ingredient of one's humanity"