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Haiku World: An International Poetry Almanac includes over 1,000 poems originally written in 25 languages by more than 600 poets from some 50 countries. The poems are organized under 680 seasonal and nonseasonal topics. To summarize its main features:
1. For the first time in any language, Haiku World collects a substantial number of haiku and related poems by Japanese and non-Japanese poets on an equal footing in their most traditional setting, so that this poetry, originating in Japan but now composed and appreciated worldwide, may be seen by all parties as a truly global phenomenon. Thus, Haiku World provides a comprehensive overview of the state of the art in the latter decades of the twentieth century.
2. Haiku World shows how haiku and related poems written in all languages equally reflect the primary characteristics of the haikai genre. Arranging the poems by traditional topics allows each poem to join the global effort to see and appreciate the human and natural world, to become a part of the great chorus rather than remain isolated as a private solo.
3. Haiku World demonstrates the diversity and unity of the various poetries collectively known as haikai--haiku, senryu, and renku--with a broad sampling from all three.
4. Haiku World offers a selection of Japanese as well as non-Japanese haikai poems that apply to aspects of life beyond the borders of any specific season by including a nonseasonal section based on the deepest aspects of the tradition and on recent developments in constructing Japanese saijiki.
[The following excerpt is from the Saijiki, under "Winter: The Heavens," with some typographical adjustments.]
winter moon, fuyu no tsuki (all). By turns beautifully crystalline and shrouded in cold mist or clouds, the winter moon offers either stark or meager light. For those clear, cold moonlit nights, cold moon (kangetsu) may be the better season word to use.
nudge of the unborn child
Jean Jorgensen, Alberta [k]
wolf moon (late). Algonquin name for the first full moon after the winter solstice, usually in January. See also hunter's moon in autumn.
the power out--
through deep windows
K. G. Teal, NY [k]
winter stars, fuyu no hoshi (all). The clarity and chill of winter skies bring the stars closer. The opening lines of the following poem suggest early winter.
one more ride
with the top down--
Yvonne Hardenbrook, PA [k]
orion, orion (all). The constellation Orion governs the winter sky with its bright red star, its blue-white star, and its belt of three stars straight across. In the northern temperate zone it appears in November and falls out of view in April.
in a curl of woodsmoke
Mark Evans, IA [k]
Gene Doty, MO [k]
winter wind, fuyu no kaze (all). Winter is known for its winds; see withering wind and north wind, following. A "winter wind" will simply suggest a cold wind during the winter months. A more intense expression: freezing wind (itekaze).
sound of a bowstring quivers
in the freezing wind
Zhu Hao, China [k]
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