Jim Kacian: Haiku as Anti-Story

Chen-ou Liu: The Ripples from a Splash: A Generic Analysis of Basho’s Frog Haiku

David G. Lanoue: Issa's Comic Vision

Ikuyo Yoshimura: Kato Somo, the First Japanese Haikuist to Visit the United States

Dr. Randy Brooks: Haiku Poetics: Objective, Subjective, Transactional and Literary Theories

Vincent Hoarau: Suggestiveness in haiku through the work of Svetlana Marisova

David Grayson: The Sword of Cliché: Choosing a Topic

Robert D. Wilson: To Kigo or not to Kigo

Saša Važić: What's the Use


Vol. 8, No. 14, Summer 2011

Haruo Shirane: Beyond the Haiku Moment: Basho, Buson and Modern Haiku myths

Geert Verbeke: Haiku Study & Photo Haibun

David Burleigh: In and Out of Japan: The Contours of Haiku

Robert D. Wilson: Kigo – The Heathbeat of Haiku

Michael Dylan Welch: Haiku Form and Content

Richard Gilbert: Kigo and Seasonal Reference: Cross-cultural Issues in Anglo-American Haiku

Robert D. Wilson: Study of Japanese Aesthetics: Part I: The Importance of Ma

Matthew M. Carriello: The Contiguous Image: Mapping Metaphor in Haiku

Richard Gilbert: The Disjunctive Dragonfly: A Study of Disjunctive Method and Definitions in Contemporary English-
language Haiku

Bruce Ross: The Essence of Haiku

Robert D. Wilson: Study of Japanese Aesthetics: Part II: Reinventing The Wheel: The Fly Who Thought He Was a Carabao

Anatoly Kudryavitsky: Vera Markova’s “Ten Haiku Lessons”

Anatoly Kudryavitsky: Tranströmer and his Haikudikter

Anatoly Kudryavitsky: Haiku Poets' Last Line of Defence

Michael F. Marra: Yūgen

Robert D. Wilson: Simply Haiku Winter 2011 issue's Featured Poet: Slavko Sedlar




Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer awarded
Nobel Prize in Literature for 2011



Swedish most lauded poet and a perennial frontrunner for the Nobel Prize Award, Transtromer has written verses known for their intimate, evocative and sometimes mystical descriptions of nature and the human mind


Here is how this event was reported about (in an abbreviated and slightly modified version) by Henry Chu in the October 6, 2011 issue of Los Angeles Times:

“With the prize announcement moments away and the phone resolutely silent, Tomas Transtromer figured that his chance for the Nobel glory had slipped by once again. But, he was used to the feeling...

When the Transtromers' phone hadn't rung by 12:30 p.m. — the point at which it is usually said that 'the train has passed,' the couple thought to themselves, ‘How nice, then there was nothing this year either,’ Monica Transtromer told the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

However, it was a call from the Swedish Academy which came only a few minutes before the official announcement.

Now 80, Transtromer is in a wheelchair and can speak only a few words because of a stroke he had two decades ago.

For such works as Baltics and Windows and Stones, literary critics have praised Transtromer's gift for making fine, concentrated observations without ducking larger questions. Later in life, he began exploring complex themes of memory, aging and death.

The Nobel Committee states in its explanation that ‘through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality.’

Transtromer is the first Swedish writer since 1974 to be awarded the Nobel Prize, which carries a financial award of about $1.4 million.

The son of a teacher and a journalist, Transtromer studied history, poetry, religion and psychology at the Stockholm University. At 23, he came out with a highly regarded debut collection titled 17 Poems.

For many years, he worked as a psychologist, often with juvenile delinquents and drug addicts. The Nobel Committee said Transtromer had in fact never been a full-time writer, which explains why his complete oeuvre is on the slim side.

‘To his admirers, any lack of quantity is more than compensated for by quality. And though the Swedish landscape, especially the Stockholm archipelago, looms large in his work, Transtromer's lyricism transcends geography’, said Mats Soderlund, director of the Swedish Writers' Union, and adds, ‘It's very universal. He comes very close to what it means being human and being present in the world, in the moment. It's a very subtle poetry, no big gestures.’

‘He is writing about big questions,’ explains Peter Englund, the Academy's permanent secretary. ‘It's about death and history and memory, watching us, creating us, and that makes us important, because human beings are sort of the prism where all these great entities meet.... You can never feel small after reading the poetry of Tomas Transtromer.’"


Please also see Anatoly Kudryavitsky’s article Tranströmer and his Haikudikter (http://shamrockhaiku.webs.com/shamrockno2.htm).


Surrealistic poems about mysteries of the human mind have brought Transtromer reputation of one of the most significant Scandinavian writers after WWII.

His poems have been translated into more than 50 languages, аnd his work has influenced poets all over the world, especially in North America.

Transtromer is the recipient of a number of European awards and honors, аnd he has been a perennial frontrunner for the Nobel Prize Award.

He authored the following poetry collections: 17 Poems (1954), Secrets on the Way (1958), The Half-Finished Heaven (1962), Windows and Stones (1966), Night Vision (1970), Paths (1973), Baltics (1974), The Wild Square (1983), For the Living and the Dead (1989), The Sorrow Gondola (1996) and The Big Riddle (2004).

(source: Serbian daily Politika, October 6, 2011)


Haiku by Tomas Tranströmer


A lamasery
with hanging gardens.
Battle pictures.

Thoughts stand unmoving
like the mosaic tiles
in the palace yard.

Up along the slopes
under the sun – the goats
were grazing on fire.

On the balcony
standing in a cage of sunbeams –
like a rainbow.

Humming in the mist.
There, a fishing-boat out far –
trophy on the waters.


Cool shagginess of pines
on the selfsame tragic fen.
Always and always.

Carried by darkness.
I met an immense shadow
in a pair of eyes.

These milestones
have set out on a journey.
Hear the wood-dove’s voice.


Resting on a shelf
in the library of fools
the sermon-book, untouched.

My happiness swelled
and the frogs sang in the bogs
of Pomerania.

He’s writing, writing…
The canals brimmed with glue.
The barge across the Styx.

Go quiet as rain,
meet the whispering leaves.
Hear the Kremlin bell.


The ceiling rent open
and the dead one sees me.
This face.

Something has happened.
The moon lit up the room.
God knew about it.

Hear the sighing rain.
I whisper a secret, to reach
all the way in there.

A scene on the platform.
What a strange calm –
the inner voice.

The sea is a wall.
I hear the gulls crying –
they’re waving to us.

God’s wind at my back.
The shot which comes without sound –
a dream all-too-long.

Ash-colored silence.
The blue giant passes.
Cool breeze from the sea.

I have been there –
and on a whitewashed wall
the flies are gathering.

The apple trees in blossom.
The big enigma.

Translated by Robert Archambeau and Lars-Håkan Svensson

Republished from Samizdat, issue No 3, summer 1999, by the translators’ permission.


Compiled and partly translated by Saša Važić