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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


Famous Japanese Haiku Narrators

by Randy Brooks

Famous Japanese Haiku Narrators
(complete PDF version)

Here is a sample excerpt from the opening page of this essay:

All imaginative literature employs a narrator — the voice, perspective, and cultural role — who is telling the story. Whether implied or explicitly designated by the writer, the narrator is the imagined speaker whose words create focus and imply attitudes toward the situation being discussed. Even in autobiographical accounts and memoirs, the narrator is crafted by the writer as their writing identity. In this essay I want to explore the role of narrators evident in the work of some of the most famous Japanese haiku writers.

On the micro-level of reading one poem, the haiku narrator is usually implied or suggested through associations from images and connotations of language usage. As a concise expression, a single haiku rarely explicitly designates a narrator’s perspective. However, the choice of words, suggested attitudes, grammatical tense, social context, location, perspective, or point-of-view, do provide hints that allow the reader to imagine the narrator. This is how imagined narrators are part of the reading process of each haiku.

However, when reading a collection of haiku or a body of work by one author, this transactional process of imagining the narrator may extend beyond an individual haiku to the congregate of several haiku. Readers form a sense of the haiku writer’s identity and come to expect certain content, themes, language and social perspectives from that author. Over time, readers and literary critics shape the haiku writer’s ethos, reputation, and identity. Let’s consider the ways well-known Japanese haiku writers employ narrators, or perhaps put more simply, a writer’s point of view, in their work.

[feature continues for several more pages] . . .

Brooks, Randy. "Famous Japanese Haiku Narrators." Frogpond 46.2, Summer-Spring, 2023, 103-126.

This excerpt inclues the first page of the feature: page 103. The complete feature includes pages 103-126. To read the complete feature, click on the link to the PDF version:

Famous Japanese Haiku Narrators
(complete PDF version)