FLYING POPE: 127 Haiku, by Ban'ya Natsuishi, translations by Ban'ya Natsuishi and Jim Kacian. Allahabad, India: Cyberwit.net, 2008, 139 pp., $20 (paper)
Ostensibly these two books of poetry seem to have little in common, beyond their red covers (the first an ancient painting of a tiger, claws and face, bordered by green leaves; the second a mysterious gray wing on a red background), but the connections become clearer when we take a closer look, for both come out of Japanese tradition.
The haiku, now so well known around the world, originates in a tradition of linked-verse composition in Japan. This custom of composing verses jointly, with mysterious reverberations between them, surely lies behind the collaborative sequence in the first book, which has two titles, aligned together, because it has two authors.