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Haiku: Japanese Art and Poetry


Published with: the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

The strictest and purest of poetic forms, the Japanese haiku contains in its 17 sound characters a reference to a season as well as a distinct pause or interruption. Cherry blossoms and swallows might refer to spring; red maple leaves and deer usually imply autumn. These seasonal allusions emphasize the essence of haiku: nature and its ephemeral beauty. The graceful, evocative haiku featured here were composed by the renowned Japanese haiku masters of the past 400 years, including Matsuo Bashō, Taniguchi Buson, and Kobayashi Issa. The deceptively simple poems—rendered in English with Japanese calligraphies and transliterations—are paired with exquisite 18th- or 19th-century paintings and ukiyo-e prints, and 20th-century shin hanga woodcuts. With their depth and delicacy, wide range of subtle hues, and time-honored focus on landscapes, birds, and flowers, these artworks—like their haiku counterparts—quietly capture a moment in time. Haiku: Japanese Art and Poetry presents 35 pairs of poems and images, organized seasonally. The Introduction details the origin and development of haiku, the lives of the most famous poets, and the obstacles faced when translating the concise yet complex lines.
Hardcover Smyth-sewn book, with jacket
80 pages with 35 color reproductions

Written by Judith Patt, Michiko Warkentyne, and Barry Till

• High-quality, premium stock matte art paper
• Exceptional color reproduction
• Printed with soy-based inks
• Sewn binding ensures long-lasting enjoyment

Published with the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Size: 8 x 8 in.

ISBN 9780764956102