Black Illumination: Zen and the poetry of death

Jul 2, 2016

Black Illumination: Zen and the poetry of death

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On a winter morning in 1360, Zen master Kozan Ichikyo gathered together his pupils. Kozan, 77, told them that, upon his death, they should bury his body, perform no ceremony and hold no services in his memory. Sitting in the traditional Zen posture, he ...

Takuboku Ishikawa: engaged observer

Apr 11, 2015

Takuboku Ishikawa: engaged observer

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The society of Takuboku Ishikawa's era was in dramatic political flux, and its complex issues became his personal obsessions. After his death, Takuboku's preoccupations came to be seen as a symbol of the social and emotional upheavals of his times. The key word in the ...

So Happy to See Cherry Blossoms

/ Sep 6, 2014

So Happy to See Cherry Blossoms

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From great disaster flows great poetry, and this collection of haiku, collated by Madoka Mayuzumi on her visits to the areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami of March 2011 and translated into English, offers insight from those who lost so ...

Bonsai cultivation: the haiku of the tree world

Apr 6, 2014

Bonsai cultivation: the haiku of the tree world

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Many people have a bonsai story: a first bonsai, a struggling bonsai. And many of these stories do not end happily, at least for the bonsai. But the very best bonsai stories are about passion and beauty and transformation. "A dewdrop hanging for a split-second — ...

For the love of haiku

/ Dec 21, 2013

For the love of haiku

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"Haiku," edited by haiku practitioner David Cobb, and "Haiku Love," edited by Japanese language scholar Alan Cummings, are both fun books. Originally published by the British Museum, they are sumptuously illustrated with nihonga (Japanese-style painting) and ukiyo-e (woodblock prints) from the museum's collections, each ...