Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dear Readers,

Part 1: Collectible

“The history of mankind, as a history of the human spirit, may be thought of as consisting of two elements: an escape from this world to another; and a return to it. Chronologically speaking, these two movements, the rise and fall, represent the whole of human history; and the two take place microcosmically many times in peoples and nations…

The nature of haiku cannot be rightly understood until it is realized that they imply a revolution of our everyday life and ways of thinking.

…Haiku record what Wordsworth calls those ‘spots of time,’ those moments which for some quire mysterious reason have a peculiar significance. There is a unique quality about the poet’s state of feeling on these occasions; it may be very deep, it may be rather shallow, but there is a ‘something’ about the external things, a ‘something’ about the inner mind which is unmistakable. Where haiku poets excel all others is in recognizing this ‘something’ in the most unlikely places and at the most unexpected times.”

-- R.H. Blyth (selections from the prefaces)

Flying in by the bamboo-blind,

The swallow is tame

With the beautiful girl.

-- Ransetsu

The kingfisher;

In the clear water of the pond,

Fishes are deep.


In the spring breeze

The snowy heron flies white

Among the pine-trees.



Haiku, 4 volume set of first printings, $200.

Part 2: Favorite


Among twenty snowy mountains,

The only moving thing

Was the eye of the blackbird.


I was of three minds,

Like a tree

In which there are three blackbirds.


The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.

It was a small part of the pantomime.


A man and a woman

Are one.

A man and a woman and a blackbird

Are one.


I do not know which to prefer,

The beauty of inflections

Or the beauty of innuendoes,

The blackbird whistling

Or just after.


Icicles filled the long window

With barbaric glass.

The shadow of the blackbird

Crossed it, to and fro.

The mood

Traced in the shadow

An indecipherable cause.


O thin men of Haddam,

Why do you imagine golden birds?

Do you not see how the blackbird

Walks around the feet

Of the women about you?


I know noble accents

And lucid, inescapable rhythms;

But I know, too,

That the blackbird is involved

In what I know.


When the blackbird flew out of sight,

It marked the edge

Of one of many circles.


At the sight of blackbirds

Flying in a green light,

Even the bawds of euphony

Would cry out sharply.


He rode over Connecticut

In a glass coach.

Once, a fear pierced him,

In that he mistook

The shadow of his equipage

For blackbirds.


The river is moving.

The blackbird must be flying.


It was evening all afternoon.

It was snowing

And it was going to snow.

The blackbird sat

In the cedar-limbs.

--Wallace Stevens


The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens, 1982 printing, $7.50

Part 3: Affordable and Interesting

Sections on rhythm, and rhyme, and the music of words. Each poem with a sentence to inspire thought about poetic technique.

The Poet’s Craft: Selected Verses, Daringer and Eaton 1935, $10.50

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