Essays On the Form

I am adding this permanent page to hold Essays on the form and the history of senryu and haiku. Looking about the history of Haikai over the last 500+ years puts context to any discussion of the evolution of the form in the English language. And as we look at English Language senryu we find a well developed web that establishes the form rather firmly. Things change, but without knowing where we came, and discovering the place we at at, we are not prepared to face the future. In that light, here are two fine essays by Anita Virgil, a student and poet of form for many years now. She has been a favorite of mine, and her essays contain examples that shine a spotlight on every aspect of senryu. I hope you enjoy, and know that we will have more essays coming during the year.

ESSAY ONE:

I AM ONLY RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT I SAY NOT FOR WHAT YOU UNDERSTAND

You will find in this essay an overview, with examples from some of the best poets of the senryu form. A great reminder for any practitioner of the form, and a wonderful read for those curious about the nature of English language senryu.

JAPAN AND THE WEST: SHIKI AND MODERNISM

This essay is taken from an earlier, and longer essay that Anita wrote many years ago. It is updated and polished to be a stand alone essay on Shiki. Whatever you think of Shiki, he is, with Basho, Buson, and Issa, one of the four pillars of haiku. Getting to know Shiki who was a driving force in Japanese haiku in the early 20th Century. As such he also had an indirect influence on English haiku as it flowed out from Japan.

Thanks to Anita Virgil for her scholarship, her poetry, and for sharing her work with all of us over the years. Bookmark this page, and know we will be adding to it in the future. 

NOTE:  These essays are copyright protected by Anita Virgil. ANY use or reproduction should be cleared by her in writing.