Haiku and Zen:
The Bodhisattva of Forgetfulness

First published in Woodnotes #22, Autumn 1994, page 42. For an overview of various orientations towards haiku, see my “Haiku Stances” essay.


Haiku and Zen: The Bodhisattva of Forgetfulness by Brian Tasker. Bare Bones Press, 1994, 154 pages, handtied paperback, 5¾ by 4 inches. $12.00 postpaid in bills from the author at 16 Wren Close, Frome, Somerset, BA11 2UZ, England [address no longer correct]. A cogent discussion on the Zen approach to haiku, in the company of Eric Amann’s Zen-haiku classic, The Wordless Poem. After an introduction, this book is divided into six chapters: “The Spirit of Haiku,” “The Spirit of Zen,” “Everyday Activity Is Your Kōan,” “Form and Emptiness,” “Emptiness and Form,” and “Everything You See Is Life.” Notes, references, a bibliography, and a resource list round out this comprehensive study of Zen spirit in haiku. Recommended reading—essential reading for those sympathetic to a spiritual or Zen approach to haiku (which, to some minds, is the only approach).