The History of Literature #427 – Bashō’s Best – Haiku and the Essence of Life


427 Bashō’s Best – Haiku and the Essence of Life

In our last episode, Jacke looked at the life of celebrated Japanese poet Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694), the widely acknowledged master of haiku. In this episode, Jacke looks deeper into the nature of Bashō’s best works, organizing them into some loose categories and offering some thoughts on haiku in Bashō’s world and ours.

Additional listening suggestions:

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.

The History of Literature #426 – Matsuo Bashō – Haiku’s Greatest Master

426 Matsuo Bashō – Haiku’s Greatest Master

In addition to being what is probably the most widely used poetic form, haiku is almost certainly the most often misunderstood. In this episode, Jacke examines the life and works of Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694), haiku’s greatest master, as he sorts through his thoughts on the uses (and potential misuses) of the haiku form. What makes much of it so bad? And how does that differ from what is truly great?

Additional listening suggestions:

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.

The History of Literature 1A – The Discovery of Gilgamesh (Bonus episode)

history-of-literature-db

What happens when a Victorian-era archaeologist thinks he’s made the discovery of a lifetime? The answer may surprise you…

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Avert Your Eyes! Worst Post of the Year #2

Color me stumped. I have no idea why this one was ignored by you, the readers. Sure, it might not be to everyone’s taste. But the second lowest post of the entire YEAR? Huh? Why? There’s some good content in this post! And there it sits, unloved, unwanted. The Internet has passed it by, again and again and again.

I just don’t get it.

Unlike the mealymouthed case against the case for CodeX, or the agonizingly misguided pen reviews, this one is – dare I say it! – not all that different from most of my other posts!

Is it because of the screaming headline? Maybe I pushed too far? Okay, fine, perhaps substandard haiku in America does not exactly rise to the level of a “national nightmare.” The point is arguable! Reasonable people may differ!

Or was it the tone and the timing? Maybe because on December 20, the height of the holiday season, people did not want to read a screed against “Captain Good-at-Counting” and “Suzie Number-Game.” What can I say? I thought they might!

And they did not. You, reader, did not care one bit.

You not-cared enough to make this the second least popular post on the site. Of the entire year!

Except…now that I check the stats, I see one thing. One ray of hope. Sure, the post barely garnered any traffic. But it did get a like. Exactly one like. From reader Jeff S., who’s been there from the blog’s earliest days, supporting and commenting. I haven’t done a check on this, but I have a feeling there are many posts in the archive with one like from Jeff S. Maybe that’s why I kept going! Jeff S. liked it – which made me think there must be others who would eventually turn up too. He was the first guest at the party, smiling and waiting as I unfolded the card table and strung up the decorations and set out the bowls of chips. Thank you, Jeff S.! I hope you’re still having fun now that the place has gotten a little more crowded!

So here’s the post, in all its dismal ineptitude. Avert your eyes, people!

The Jacke Wilson Blogiversary Countdown 

Least-Popular Post #2

National Nightmare Alert: Why Haiku Fails in America

Why, why, why did this fail? I’m happy to hear your theories in the comments, readers. Do you hate haiku? Hate haters of haiku? But I love haiku! I want it to be better! Am I alone in thinking there’s a problem? Am I alone in caring?

Was it the last line – “Let’s let go”? Too subtle? Too demanding? It’s practically my philosophy of life!

Oh, the misery of a post about haiku that has no audience. If a blog post fails in the forest…and there are no observers…