Sunday, September 28, 2008

Stephen Addiss - Three Questions

Stephen Addiss is the author of many books on East Asian art and culture, including A Haiku Menagerie, Haiku Garden, Haiku People, Haiku Landscapes, Haiku Humor, Haiga: Takebe Socho and the Haiku-Painting Tradition, The Art of Zen, and Zen Sourcebook. A painter and calligrapher whose works have been frequently exhibited and published, he teaches at the University of Richmond and co-edits South by Southeast: Haiku and Haiku Arts Journal.

1. Why do you write haiku?

I had been composing them occasionally for some years, but what got me fully involved was translating haiku for various book and catalogue projects relating to Japanese art. When I was in college more than 50 years ago, a poetry teacher named Edwin Honig told us that the great ages of poetry in English were also great ages of translation, and I believe that working tenaciously to get the meaning, sound, and rhythm across in another language, no matter how ultimately impossible, is a great way to develop one's own poetic sensibility and skills. My own haiku are the source and also the result of focusing my attention.

2. What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

I used to enjoy and write sonnets, and now I occasionally work on tanka and linked verse, but aside from haiku my major interest has been free verse.

3. Of the many wonderful haiku you've written, what do you consider to be your top three? (Please provide original publication credits)

    birthday snow—
stepping into holes
    left by the postman

South by Southeast 7/1, A Glimpse of Red, Frogpond 23/2

  the fisherman
  a fisherman

HSA Newsletter 12/1

  old pond paved over
into a parking lot—
  one frog still singing

Daily Yomiuri 2/5/96, Mainichi Shinbun, Haiku People

Next week, Mike Farley.


Anonymous said...

Glad I stopped by - loved the birthday snow - such space for gifts. Reading these is like unloading a well-stuffed box.

snowbird said...

Curtis, Every once in a while I like to stop in and visit a haiku poet that posted before I was aware of your blog. Tonight I stopped to follow this sensitive and intuitive poet. There is an aroma of haiku that he leaves you with after reading his haiku. Like the pine needles on the floor of an ancient pine forest. Many thanks. Merrill