Posts Tagged ‘Japanese Poetry’

kintsugi: japanese pottery inspires poetry

April 11, 2013

This poem was inspired by a tweet from @RobertYellin The art of making broken pottery more beautiful, kintsugi. pic.twitter.com/Q1ZLWzWQs

I replied @kenchawkin Wow! What a metaphor for turning obstacles into opportunities. Life’s lessons build character.

I thought about it and made it into a haiku, then a tanka, and sent it as another reply to his tweet.

I also thought it was appropriate for a piece of Japanese pottery to have inspired a poem in one of the forms of Japanese poetry. I don’t speak Japanese but am reading kintsukuroi as having five syllables.

Here is a link to Wikipedia explaining kintsugi or kintsukuroi. Read the explanation under the picture of the piece of pottery, then the poem.

kintsugi

kintsugi tanka

kintsukuroi
turning obstacles into
opportunities

life’s lessons build character
what was broken is now whole

Robert Yellin was featured on this blog before. See Takumi is not ‘lost in translation’ in this beautiful film about Japan’s diverse artisan tradition.

Speaking of cracked things, Leonard Cohen said there’s a crack in everything–how the light gets in. It came thru him & lit up a broken humanity.

A Haiku on The Heart of Haiku

December 18, 2011

This week I discovered and posted the Interview from FROGPOND with Jane Hirshfield on The Heart of Haiku. I had read Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry by Jane Hirshfield, a classic collection of essays about the mysterious ways poetry comes to us, and had thoroughly enjoyed it. So this first Kindle Single by Jane on haiku looked very enticing.

On Friday night, after reading a free sample of The Heart of Haiku, named “Best Kindle Single of 2011,” I decided to purchase this 29-page essay about the life and poetry of Matsuo Bashō, recognized as the master of concise, compelling Japanese haiku. I downloaded the free App from Amazon, then bought the $0.99 Kindle Single. It loaded instantly. I signed in, and started reading. It was that simple.

Saturday I took my computer with me when I went to visit my friend Sali. I explained what I had done, showed her what the essay looked like in the Kindle Cloud Reader on my computer, how it allowed me to select the look of the page, (I chose Sepia), change the size of the font and length of the lines, highlight and make notes. I continued reading, aloud to Sali, where I had left off at home. We were fascinated!

Bashō had discovered the earlier Chinese and Japanese poets, wrote renga, tanka, and haiku, became a poet and teacher, studied Zen and Taoism, indulged his senses, then lived like a monk roaming the countryside. We appreciated the beauty, simplicity and depth of his poetry, and the skill of Jane Hirshfield’s erudite explanations, herself a poet, teacher, and practitioner of Zen. It seemed appropriate for her to explain where Bashō was coming from. Hirshfield had collaborated with Mariko Aratani, her co-translator for the classical-era tanka poets in The Ink Dark Moon.

It was dinner time and the other residents were already eating their meal. An aide brought in Sali’s tray, but we were enjoying the story so much I just kept on reading and lost track of the time. I happened to mention that and realized I was speaking out what could easily become a haiku. Sali has that effect on me; she’s my muse! So here’s the haiku on reading The Heart of Haiku to Sali.

A Haiku on The Heart of Haiku

We forgot to eat
Reading The Heart of Haiku
It can fill you up

Also see the excellent Poetry Foundation biography on Jane Hirshfield, including poems, articles and more; Pirene’s Fountain: Jane Hirshfield on Poetic Craft; and What Rainer Maria Rilke inscribed on the copy of The Duino Elegies he gave his Polish translator. You can find some of my own haiku and tanka under My Poems.

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