The Penguin Book of Haiku, translated and edited by Adam L. Kern


An interesting book, showing the depth and breadth of haiku. The last book I read was an imperial-arranged book of 100 tanka that was very ethereal and pretty. Large swathes of this are pure filthy, showing a whole other side of haiku that I wasn’t aware of – the lowbrow, and unerotic.

Kern’s introduction is worth the price of entry alone, deftly explaining the culture, cultural importance and development of haiku. And the haiku selected were well chosen and varied (although perhaps a little too ‘dirty sexy haiku’ as he calls them – I would’ve liked more variety; some more emotional haiku, some transcendental haiku.

His notes at the end – in the glance I gave them – don’t seem to add much, so I skipped them.

An interesting collection. 3.5 stars.


You can reserve a copy from South Dublin Libraries’ online catalogue here.

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