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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Issa Haiku

if someone comes
change into frogs!
cooling melons


hito kitara kawazu to nare yo hiyashi uri

This whimsical haiku inspired the title of Matthew Gollub's children's book about Issa: Cool Melons--Turn To Frogs!: The Life and Poems of Issa (New York: Lee & Low Books, 1998). Illustrations by Kazuko G. Stone.

The poem is, indeed, one that has helped to earn for Issa the reputation of being a "child's poet." Issa probably wouldn't mind this label, as long as we hasten to add that he's a "grown-up's poet" too. In fact, one could argue that his childlike way of looking at the world--innocently, playfully, imaginatively, without preconceptions--is more aimed at his adult readers than at children. Adults have so much more to unlearn!

via David Gerard, the generous man behind Daily Issa

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