Touches of Shiki

Post date: Jan 10, 2015 7:13:58 AM

Two hefty additions to this website are a review and essay regarding Japan’s fourth great haiku master, Masaoka Shiki. “Shiki’s Winter,” available on the Reviews page, explores Donald Keene’s new biography, The Winter Sun Shines In: A Life of Masaoka Shiki. And “Buson or Shiki: The Confusing Authorship of the ‘Two Autumns’ Poem,” on the Essays page, investigates the common misattribution of Shiki’s “two autumns” poem to Buson, and how various translators have perpetuated the error. This essay had a gestation of almost fifteen years (mostly first written in 2000). Both pieces were recently published in A Hundred Gourds, and now have a home here. And if you want to explore a little further, I’ve added two photos of the cockscomb plant and an excerpt from Donald Keene’s Shiki biography to “14 or 15 Combs,” William J. Higginson’s analysis of a poem of mine that parodies one of Shiki’s most famous—and enigmatic—haiku.