Monday, June 04, 2007

Baseball Haiku: American and Japanese Haiku and Senryu on Baseball


waiting to bat
the hitter swats
a swarm of gnats
Sylvia Forger-Ryan

Nearly two decades after Horace Wilson introduced baseball to Japan in 1872, Masaoka Shiki wrote the first baseball haiku.

spring breeze
this grassy field makes me
want to play catch

Jack Kerouac is often credited with writing the first American baseball haiku, and Beat poets continued the cause.

How cold! - late
September baseball -
the crickets

Baseball Haiku edited with translations by Cor Van Den Heuvel and Nanae Tamura includes a history of baseball haiku, sections of American haiku and Japanese haiku, a short history of baseball, a booklist, and an index of poets. Most of the works included do not adhere to the old 5-7-5 syllable standard. Some even have fewer than seventeen syllables. Senryu count morae (sound units familiar to the Japanese) instead of syllables.

cold day
the traded catcher's
empty locker
Cor van den Heuvel

Poets must not be talented players as there are several last-player- picked or not-even-picked haiku.

the last kid picked
running his fastest

to right field

Mike Dillon

the boy not chosen
steps over home plate,

picks up his books

Edward J. Rielly

Yes, that last haiku had a comma, the only one I noticed in the book.

While many haiku dealt with the play of the game or its viewing, some dealt with the ballpark and the lack of a game.

game over
all the empty seats

turn blue
Alan Pizzarelli

Get it.

Baseball Haiku: American and Japanese Haiku and Senryu on Baseball edited with translations by Cor Van Den Heuvel and Nanae Tamura. W. W. Norton, 2007. ISBN 9780393062199

1 comment:

benjamin blackburn said...

Liked your review...thanks. Good stuff!

Benjamin