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Frogpond 46.2 • 2023

Museum of Haiku
Literature Award

Haiku & Senryu

Essay 1 - Quilts & Blankets

Essay 2 - Gengoro Senryu

Essay 3 - Famous Japanese Haiku Narrators

Essay 4 - First Haiku Course



Book Reviews

Haiku Society of America


Quilts, Blankets, and the Like

by Charles Trumbull

Quilts & Blankets
(complete PDF version)

Our Field Guide topic this go-around, suggested by retired Frogpond editor Tom Sacramona, began as simply “quilts,” but it quickly became apparent that title would not adequately cover the topic, so to speak. We realized so many aspects are involved that we would have to discuss all manner of bedclothes and catalog the differences between practices in Japan and the West, as immortalized by haiku poets.

Modern Japanese sleeping paraphernalia includes, from the bottom up: a tatami mat of woven rush grass with rice straw fill on the floor (to promote air circulation and resist mold growth); a shikifuton or mattress with several inches of cotton batting in a cotton cover; a kakefuton, what Westerners usually call a futon—a duvet or coverlet; and topped by one or more kukurimakura, buckwheat chaff–stuffed pillows. All these layers are intended to be rolled or folded up and stored away when not in use. Futon is a kigo basically for all winter, though many futon haiku have other seasonality.

shimo no tsuru tsuchi ni futon mo kakerarezu

     Parent and child
Under the same quilt;
     The frost of parting.

Ogawa Shushiki-jo, trans. R. H. Blyth

[essay continues for several more pages] . . .

. . .

Trumbull, Charles. "Quilts, Blankets, and the Like." Frogpond 46.2, Summer-Spring, 2023, 64-78.

This excerpt inclues the first page of the essay: page 64. The complete essay includes pages 64-78. To read the complete essay, click on the link to the PDF version:

Quilts & Blankets
(complete PDF version)