The complete title of this book is “Baseball Haiku – American and Japanese Haiku and Senryu on Baseball”, Edited with Translations by Cor van den Heuvel & Nanae Tamura. It was published in 2007.

Baseball is big in Japan. Haiku are also big in Japan. Put the two together and what do you get? “Baseball Haiku”!

First, a few words about haiku. Haiku are a form of Japanese poetry. Some of the common practices of English Language Haiku are:

  • 3 (or fewer) lines of 17 (or fewer) syllables
  • use of a season word (kigo)
  • use of a cut – to contrast & compare 2 events, images or situations
  • It is said that Haiku “show” as opposed to “tell”.
  • Haiku use an economy of words to paint a multi-tiered painting, without “telling all”.

Here is an example of a “typical” Japanese “explanation”:

The haiku which reveals 70 – 80% of its subject is good. Those that reveal 50 – 70% we never tire of.

So, the front cover of the book claims that “Baseball Haiku” contains “The Best Haiku Ever Written About The Game”. I can tell you that the book contains over 200 Haiku suggested by the subject of baseball.

I went through and read the entire book. I am going to share two of my favorite baseball haiku from this collection:

rainy night
a hole in the radio
where a ballgame should be

and

dog days of summer
twenty-three games
out of first

I enjoyed reading the haiku themselves, and I enjoyed reading about the haiku artists, too.

“Baseball Haiku” is divided into 3 sections titled “American Baseball Haiku and Senryu”, “Japanese Baseball Haiku”, and “Extra Innings”.

“Extra Innings” includes a discussion of American and Japanese Baseball, a Baseball and Haiku Book List, and an Index of Poets.

I recommend “Baseball Haiku” to anyone who appreciates baseball in the context of nature, and who wants to conjure up word pictures of the same.

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I'm a third generation cubs fan, living in southeastern Wisconsin.