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The Heart of Haiku (Kindle Single) [Kindle Edition]

Jane Hirshfield
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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  • Length: 29 pages (estimated)
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Book Description

In seventeenth-century Japan, the wandering poet Basho developed haiku, a seventeen-syllable poetic form now perhaps the most widely written type of poetry in the world. Haiku are practiced by poets, lovers, and schoolchildren, by “political haiku” twitterers, by anyone who has the desire to pin preception and experience into a few quick phrases. This essay offers readers unparalleled insight into the living heart of haiku—how haiku work and what they hold, and how to read through and into their images to find a full expression of human life and perceptions, sometimes profound, sometimes playful.

Jane Hirshfield is an award-winning poet and author of the now-classic Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry, as well as an equally classic book introducing earlier Japanese poetry, The Ink Dark Moon: Love Poems by Komachi and Shikibu, Women of the Ancient Japanese Court.

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More About the Author

Jane Hirshfield's most recent books are THE BEAUTY (Bloodaxe, 2015 UK/Knopf, 2015 US) and TEN WINDOWS: HOW GREAT POEMS TRANSFORM THE WORLD (Knopf, 2015). Previous books include COME, THIEF (Bloodaxe, 2012/Knopf 2011) and AFTER (Bloodaxe, 2006/HarperCollins, 2006), a Poetry Book Society Choice Selection and finalist for the T.S. Eliot Poetry Prize, named a best book of 2006 by the Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, and the Financial Times. In 2005, Bloodaxe published EACH HAPPINESS RINGED BY LIONS: Selected Poems, which includes work from Hirshfield's first five U.S. poetry collections. She is also the author of HIDDENNESS, UNCERTAINTY, SURPRISE: THREE GENERATIVE ENERGIES IN POETRY, in the Bloodaxe Lecture Series (Bloodaxe/Newcastle University, 2007), and in the US a now-classic earlier collection of essays, NINE GATES: ENTERING THE MIND OF POETRY (HarperCollins, 1997). In 2011 she published an Amazon Kindle Single, THE HEART OF HAIKU, a concise introduction to the 17th-century Japanese poet Basho and the 17-syllable poetic form he singlehandedly transformed into a brief word-vessel able to hold immense, varied, and subtle meanings; this was named an Amazon Best Book of 2011.

Considered one of the foremost U.S. poets of her generation, Jane Hirshfield grew up in New York City and was part of the first class of women to graduate from Princeton University in 1973. She did a year of farm labor, then spent 8 years in the full time study of Zen Buddhism, including three years of monastic practice. Her poems began appearing regularly in magazines in the early 1980s, and have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, The New Republic, Poetry, The American Poetry Review, and eight editions of The Best American Poems; in the UK, her poems have appeared in The Times Literary Supplement (TLS), The Poetry Review, The Guardian, Poetry London, The Glasgow Herald, and elsewhere.

Hirshfield has taught at U.C. Berkeley, the Bennington MFA Writing Seminars, and elsewhere, but is not a full time academic. She lives in a small white cottage on the hem of Mount Tamalpais in the San Francisco Bay Area and appears frequently in literary festivals and writers conferences both in the U.S. and abroad, including in the UK Poetry International, Aldeburgh, StAnza, and Ledbury. She served as the first International Poet in Residence for the Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere. She is a current Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and the 2016 Mohr Visiting Poet at Stanford University.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars enlightening 15 Dec. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An insightful look at the poet's life and looking deeply in order to understand the poem and that present moment awareness we strive for.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really lovely 1 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful little publication - both the Haiku and Jane's writing. Highly recommended. My wife is learning to use the Kindle so she can read it!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brief, illuminating, moving 2 Aug. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This short book is not diminished by its size; Hirshfield manages to both describe Bashō's life, the history of haiku and his place in Japanese tradition, and to explore and analyse some of his poems, simply and insightfully. It is an enlightening and at times moving read, and a wonderful introduction to both Bashō and the form of haiku.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart of Haiku 27 April 2013
By Amber
Format:Kindle Edition
Superb analysis for pleasure reading , with delightful analysis and a pleasure to read on this era of Haiku poetry
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4.0 out of 5 stars Inside the heart of haiku 10 April 2014
By Jane
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this as I came across it on the list of Kindle Singles and was intrigued to know more about this beautiful form of poetry. The single is an expertly researched article on the life and works of Basho, a 17th century Japanese poet, and his art form, the haiku. Beautifully written and just long enough to keep your attention, this is recommended for anyone interested in the culture of Japan or poetry.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Insight 25 Dec. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A great introduction to the birthplace of the haiku and its most prominent soldier, Basho. This ebook gives the would be haiku poet some insight into the life of the haiku master himself, explanations for some of his work and theories behind how haiku should be written and interpreted. I enjoyed it immensely.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brief but profound. 7 Mar. 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book concentrates almost entirely on the work of the 17th century poet Basho. It is a wonderfully heartfelt analysis of his life and the development of his writings. A large number is Basho's haikus are included together with explanatory notes. A must for anyone interested in poetry.
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5.0 out of 5 stars just enough 22 Aug. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I discovered this book by chance; it came at the right time in the right way. Jane Hirshfield's love of Basho and his work shines through and like his haiku says so much with few words. I'll read again and again. Recommended for all haiku lovers.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read, very informative
Published 10 days ago by Sandra Davis
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Have not yet read this book
Published 5 months ago by shirley degani
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Thanks
Published 6 months ago by Tuvia
5.0 out of 5 stars Well thought out and beautiful essay
this delightful exposition on the life and works of one of the most influential masters of Haiku is a joy to read and will give great insight into the purpose and meaning of these... Read more
Published 6 months ago by patrick long
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and Insightful
The Heart of Haiku skilfully uses examples of Basho's work to illustrate his life and also the depth and beauty of the Haiku form. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Paul Clement
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
I enjoyed reading it but it did not encourage me to try writing in this genre
Published 7 months ago by Dolores Amazon customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Heart of HAIKU
Most interesting, a different kind of book for me. Pleased I have it.
Published 7 months ago by Evelyn from Wirral
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking read
I have always liked haiku but absolutely love it now! The book has also made me rethink my way of thinking. Thank you Jane Hirshfield!
Published 8 months ago by Patricia Smith
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
you don't need to read this in one go. You can come back to it
Published 9 months ago by mr b johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful paradox
Well written and explained. The historal background adds much to the poems and their conception. It is a book to read and re-read.
Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
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