Thursday, December 12, 2013

haiku snafu

On page xii of "The Poetry of Postwar Japan" is a fascinating excerpt from Donald Keene's "Modern Japanese Poetry"(1964),

where he summarizes a 1946 article by a professor of French literature, Kuwabara Takeo, which

"assert[s] that the difference between a haiku composed by an acknowledged master and one by a bank clerk or a railway engineer was barely perceptible. 

Taking a hint from a method used by I.A. Richards in "Practical Criticism,"[Kuwabara] asked a group of colleagues [fellow professors at Kyoto University] to evaluate various haiku, some by masters and some by dubs, first removing the names of the poets. 

The results were so chaotic that Kuwabara felt justified in his claim that most people judge haiku by the poet's reputation and not by the works themselves. . . ."


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