Stephen Addiss, PhD, is Professor of Art at the University of Richmond in Virginia. A scholar-artist, he has exhibited his ink paintings and calligraphy in Asia, Europe, and the United States. He is also the author or coauthor of more than thirty books and catalogues about East Asian arts, including The Sound of One Hand: The Paintings and Calligraphy of Zen Master Hakuin.
The Art of Haiku: Its History through Poems and Paintings by Japanese Mastersby Stephen Addiss
In the past hundred years, haiku has gone far beyond its Japanese origins to become a worldwide phenomenon—with the classic poetic form growing and evolving as it has adapted to the needs of the whole range of languages and cultures that have embraced it. This proliferation of the joy of haiku is cause for celebration—but it can also compel us to go back to the beginning: to look at haiku’s development during the centuries before it was known outside Japan. This in-depth study of haiku history begins with the great early masters of the form—like Basho, Buson, and Issa—and goes all the way to twentieth-century greats, like Santoka. It also focuses on an important aspect of traditional haiku that is less known in the West: haiku art. All the great haiku masters created paintings (called haiga) or calligraphy in connection with their poems, and the words and images were intended to be enjoyed together, enhancing each other, and each adding its own dimension to the reader’s and viewer’s understanding. Here one of the leading haiku scholars of the West takes us on a tour of haiku poetry’s evolution, providing along the way a wealth of examples of the poetry and the art inspired by it.
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The Art of Haiku Stephen Addiss If you enjoy short poems or delightful visual art, this book is for you. It was my first introduction to haiga, visual art specifically created to accompany haiku. Addiss illustrates his work liberally with exemplary poems and samples of visual works created to accompany them, stressing the point that they were created to be enjoyed together. He traces the history of short form poetry in Japanese society, beginning with tanka, a five line form poem popular early in the previous millennium and continued into the present day. He contrasts it with the Chinese style poetry which was popular in the imperial court. He follows this with biographies of the three acknowledged masters of Haiku and Haiban, Basho (17th century), Buson (18h century)and Issa (19th century). The chapters on these three include illustrations of their artwork, as do the sections on Zen poets and early 20th century haiku poets. He ends the work at World War II, stating that Haiku has since become a world wide phenomenon, and a description of it in recent years would fill another book. I found this book a delightful read.