The summer 2014 free online issue of Rain Taxi features a review by Peter McDonald of the recent haiku anthology, The Nature Tradition in English-Language Haiku, edited by Allan Burns.
Casual readers and practitioners in English-language haiku often assume this brief poetic form, imported to the West from Japan at the turn of the 19th century, is indelibly associated with elegiac snapshots of nature in three-line poems of 5-7-5 syllables. They might also have heard of the great master haikuist Matsuo Bashō, who elevated haiku to an art form in the 17th century. It was Bashō who stressed quiet attention to the immediacy of an image taken from seasonal nature, where the “haiku moment” must be spontaneous, shorn of adornment or simile, with no intrusion of the authorial ego.
Today, of course, in its burgeoning western tradition, haiku has evolved into multiple creative strains, far removed from the lockstep syllable count of its early years and often with only an incidental focus on nature.
Read the rest of this thoughtful review at Rain Taxi