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The Genius of Haiku : Readings from R. H. Blyth on Poetry, Life, and Zen

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40 review for The Genius of Haiku : Readings from R. H. Blyth on Poetry, Life, and Zen

  1. 5 out of 5

    Philipp

    Sometimes, a book finds you, like I found this book at the Save The Children book-sale at UWA, Perth, for a dollar. It's a slim volume, a 'best of' based on the life's work of R.H. Blyth, English professor and private tutor of Emperor Akihito (the guy who just stepped down as tenno!). Blyth wrote extensively on the links between English poetry, Zen, and Haiku, and that's the main topic of this book too: what are the links, the opposites between English poetry and Haiku (so much Wordsworth!)? What Sometimes, a book finds you, like I found this book at the Save The Children book-sale at UWA, Perth, for a dollar. It's a slim volume, a 'best of' based on the life's work of R.H. Blyth, English professor and private tutor of Emperor Akihito (the guy who just stepped down as tenno!). Blyth wrote extensively on the links between English poetry, Zen, and Haiku, and that's the main topic of this book too: what are the links, the opposites between English poetry and Haiku (so much Wordsworth!)? What is the link between Zen and Haiku? Beautifully written essays full of wit, poetry, so much connectedness with all areas of poetry, art, and writing. I absolutely loved this too-slim book but I'm happy that there's about 6000 more pages of Blyth's writing, because I'll need this in my life, thank you very much, I mean, look at this! The most remarkable, and to me the most delightful part of Issa's character is his love of flies and mosquitoes and so forth. Issa felt about flies and flees what Eckhart says: When I preach to the people of Paris I just speak and trust that I speak well; the whole of Paris with all its arts cannot comprehend what God is in the smallest part of creatures, yes, even in a midge. Issa can do what all of Paris could not do, and what even Eckhart could not, -- see a midge in God. Seeing God in a midge is not so difficult. What is really difficult is to keep one's eye steadily on the insects, and not let God usurp their divinity. Issa wrote 54 haiku on the snail, 15 on the toad, nearly 200 on frogs (which belong to spring), about 230 on the firefly, more than 150 on the mosquito, 90 on flies, over 100 on fleas, nearly 90 on the cicada, and about 70 on various other insects, a grand total of about a thousand verses on such creatures. Some may say, 'Little things please little minds'. But Christ tells us that the hairs on our heads are all numbered, and Issa thought that the hairs on a hairy caterpillar were numbered. I think so too. If you don't enjoy this loving warmth here then this is likely not your cup of tea!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ron Pavellas

    I can do no better than to quote from the back cover: "No scholar excels him at interpreting the the spirit and form of Japanese poetry to the Western mind, or of finding equivalents to the mood and spirit of Japanese poetry in our own. He is not afraid to challenge us with statements in which some truth will be found on reflection..." I revere this book so highly that I have bought ten copies to give to friends who may be open to its offerings.

  3. 5 out of 5

    David Blowers

  4. 4 out of 5

    Joshua

  5. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Fagan

  6. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  7. 5 out of 5

    Gary

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alan Summers

  9. 5 out of 5

    Siufan Adey

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alasdair

  11. 4 out of 5

    Carmen Sterba

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mark Brooks

  13. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

  14. 5 out of 5

    Curtis

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tim Chamberlain

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alex

  17. 5 out of 5

    David

  18. 5 out of 5

    Michael Lloyd-Billington

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brie

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jude

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mimikyo

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ana Galvao

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sai Prasanna

  24. 4 out of 5

    Strongulado

  25. 4 out of 5

    Guneygil

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  27. 4 out of 5

    Todd

  28. 4 out of 5

    Aziz

  29. 5 out of 5

    M

  30. 4 out of 5

    Catie

  31. 4 out of 5

    Bahadır Özdemir

  32. 5 out of 5

    Yasmin

  33. 4 out of 5

    KL

  34. 4 out of 5

    Mr Disco

  35. 5 out of 5

    Srinivas Goud

  36. 4 out of 5

    Martin BArkac

  37. 5 out of 5

    Bert

  38. 5 out of 5

    Vision._.Revision

  39. 4 out of 5

    Dee Reid

  40. 4 out of 5

    Michael Heilman

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