Thursday, 15 October 2009

Haikus launched

I'm never quite sure about the plural, should it be haikai? But that word does look a bit too unfamiliar if not over-pedantic for English readers! At any rate, the book was launched very successfully. Exeter Picturehouse bar is an ideal and friendly venue, PA system and all, and through the evening about 60 people turned up (lovely to see all you excellent people, the cream of Exe intelligentsia?!) Lots of books sold, and I was particularly pleased to see the fine photographer Ed Hughes, who provided that great monochrome cover image. We'd never met previously, just corresponded via email. Ed's photo, taken looking out of a ruined house in Balaclava, Crimea, is stunning and perfect for the book: much appreciated, while the whole production seems to have found favour generally. We plan to repeat the gig at a different Devon venue in early December. Watch this space!

1 comment:

  1. The OED suggests Haikai but its latest examples are haiku (no s) viz:

    haiku (gha=ku:). Also haikai, hokku.
    A form of Japanese verse, developed in the mid-16th century, usually consisting of 17 syllables and originally of jesting character; an English imitation of one.
    The hokku was originally the opening hemistich of a linked series of haiku poems, but is now synonymous with haiku and haikai. An earlier meaning of haikai, an abbreviation of the phr. haikai no renga (jesting linked-verse'), was a succession of haiku linked together to form one poem.
    1899 W. G. Aston Hist. Jap. Lit. iv. 289 In the sixteenth century a kind of poem known as Haikai, which consists of seventeen syllables only, made its appearance.
    1899 Trans. Asiatic Soc. Japan XXVII. iv. p. xiv, The hokku must be an exceedingly compact bit of word and thought skill to be worth anything---as literature.
    1902 Ibid. XXX. ii. 243 The poets of Japan have produced thousands of these microscopic compositions._ Their native name is Hokku (also Haiku and Haikai), which, in default of a better equivalent, I venture to translate by _Epigram', using that term_as denoting any little piece of verse that expresses a delicate or ingenious thought.
    1904 Westm. Gaz. 19 Apr. 10/1 The perfect haikai is a Lilliputian lyric of but three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables respectively---seventeen in all---in which is deftly caught a thought-flash or swift impression._ An example_is the following: The west wind whispered And touched the eyelids of Spring: Her eyes, Primroses.
    1957 C. Brooke-Rose Lang. Love 47 Her translations of haiku were elegant.
    1969 Radio Times 15 May 9/1 A sequence of twenty-one sonnets and two haiku on the first American landing in Japan in the mid-nineteenth century.
    yrs pedantically