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:
a hole in the radio
where a ballgame should be
dog days of summer
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.