of the Irish Haiku Society
motorway by night
a ghost rider comes at us,
a coloured condom
in the Grand Canal
Bremen Music Festival
as usual, a tram plays
under the operating table
a cat rubs herself
against somebody's finger
first day of spring
in the cemetery
-- Michael Augustin (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)
morning sun –
the oak enchanted
with its radiance
chasing sheets of rain
in the field of yellow rape,
after a downpour
in these mossy valleys
the earth breathes
in the bright night’s light,
a slippery path
-- Martin Baumann (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)
in the neighbour’s flat
someone plays the piano
-- Sigrid Baurmann (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)
slowly stripping a young birch –
the maple turns red
ringing frost –
in the crunchy wood, footsteps
-- Christa Beau (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)
hoarfrost stretching out its threads –
over the cherry branches
a spider, trembling
smell of cinnamon in the room –
steaming tea melts
the frost pattern
cover the drowsy landscape
raindrops weigh down the grass
hush you, frogs!
the pond sleeping
in the shade of the trees
-- Dirk Becker (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)
a goods train scrapes slowly
across the Main
even the Alsatian dog
turns his muzzle
following that woman
secret of the full moon
a crane cries
tired of travelling…
clinging to the ship’s hull
-- Martin Berner (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)
New Year’s morning -
waiting on the doorstep,
the widow wears black
after the storm
-- Andrea D’Alessandro (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)
Amsterdam by night –
creeping along the canals,
cats and humans
a gang of pigeons
a flock of tourists
full moon –
the Skyline, too, finds it hard
to get good night’s sleep
reflected in the puddle:
the façade of a
winter bargain sale –
freezing on high street,
a homeless man
the border –
on both sides
-- Daniel Dölschner (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)
showing the way to the south
to birds of passage
starlings make preparations
for a great journey
take the form of haystacks –
the wind enjoying idleness
covering up the sky
the sun oversleeps
the smell of chamomiles
and sheaves of grain –
a lone sparrow eats his fill
-- Christine Gradl (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)
in the new house
across the road
underneath the stars –
in my father’s hand
a red maple leaf
from my mother’s grave
a fair by midnight
snowflakes and cold air
-- Arno Herrmann (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)
an eagle’s shadow
among quivering branches,
the lightning’s reflection
in a window
-- Yulia Kudryavitskaya (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)
bright winter night –
crunching along the footpath,
my shadow and I
in the distance
two white herons and the moon
sinking in the dark
old cemetery –
it feels cooler here,
evening shadows fade
first frosty night –
-- Horst Ludwig (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)
Martinmas Eve -
lacking a torch,
the child looks at the moon
all alone in the drizzle,
casts no shadow
-- Conrad Miesen (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)
in the shopping trolley
all his possessions
-- Jörg Rakowski (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)
ending into the Baltic Sea
no boats in sight
cow on the road
by the town gate
taking her time
-- Gerhard Stein (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)
shadows in the sky
the flapping of birds’ wings
-- Klaus Werthmann (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)
warm March rain
knocks on the frozen solid soil –
quiet summer gardens –
cones crack open
bumping into concrete slabs
silent in these deserted alleys –
light flows lightly
above the foggy riverside
it appears: full moon.
frost creeps through the leafage –
safe in the ice cocoon,
-- Dagmar Westphal (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)
growing on these Jewish graves
sown by the wind
what father would have said,
we say to each other
-- Angelika Wienert (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)
in the old troughs
the stink of sty remains
a robin perches
on the helve of my shovel –
a short break signal
-- Klaus-Dieter Wirth (translated by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)
sun dancing on the waves
for no reason at all
seagulls high above
in accordance with a calm –
the sea roars
reach out for the spring sky
-- Stefan Wolfschütz (transl. by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)
Haiku in Germany
by Jane Reichhold
It has long been a bit of a mystery as to why the haiku or related forms have not been popular in
Here, where the people have a long tradition of respect and appreciation of poetry, where the folk are by nature precise and succinct with words, where the landscape is varied and beautiful; filled with people walking or hiking in all kinds of weather. No one takes more journeys than the Germans. No one is so knowledgeable about where to go and what to see.
Everyone, it seems, has an answer for the haiku situation in
Strong within the German soul is a streak of melancholy that comes through their haiku. This tendency can also be found in Japanese tanka (and can be a weakness there, also). Haiku, which grew out of a resistance to tanka, has, among the masters, very little of this. Stressing the positive, the active, they were able to sidestep the questions of "where am I going?", "and why?, and "for what?" by concentrating on the now-moment.
Over the past twenty years, while
Under the influence of Rainer Maria Rilke's writing of haikai in the last years of his life (1920's), many poets tried writing a few haikai almost as a pastime. None took it as seriously as did Rilke, who wrote most of his in quatrains, and in French, many of which still have not been successfully translated into either German or English.
In 1939, in
Another Swiss woman, Flandrina von Salis published in the summer of 1955 her book Mohnblüten: Abendländische Haiku [Poppies: Oriental Haiku] by the Vereinigung Oltner Bücherfreunde [Club of Oltner Book Friends]. Through Flandrina von Salis continued to write and publish other books of lyric poetry, this was her first book and only book of haiku though it is reported that at the time of death she was preparing another book of haiku.
From this a sporadic interest in haiku was manifest; but a pattern seemed to be set that has persisted up until about 1988. Though individuals became enthusiastic, writing and publishing, they remained autonomous; refusing interaction with other countrymen. There was no national group although small groups met in
There was also Karl Kleinschmidt who began writing haiku in 1953, but here again no groups were formed and the Japanese principle of a master with students or disciples was unheard of. None of these groups interacted with the other and the books published were small and available only from the author. Consequently, nearly all have been lost.
Imma von Bodmershof was born on August, 10th, 1895 in
At first (1937) she wrote novels and collections of short stories and in 1962 Hajo Jappe chose a selection of her works to be published under the title, Unter acht Winden or Under Eight Winds. This could show that through their co-production, haiku was a factor as in that same year Imma von Bodmershof published her first book of poetry – Haiku. Though Frau von Bodmershof also maintained a home in
"The manuscript with mine first German haiku was already with the publishers Langen-Müller, when the Frankfurter Allegeimen Newspaper came out with a long article about the Japanese haiku which was written by Erwin Jahn who had taught German literature for 30 years in the universities of
After a deep analysis of the Japanese art of haiku, the article ended with the comment that true haiku could not be produced in
Dr. Schondorf, who headed the Langen-Müller Publishing, sent me the article without comment. That left only one thing to do. To send my manuscript to Professor Jahn. His opinion would decide, and I was prepared to accept it, however it would turn out.
The letter, that he then sent to me, belongs to the loveliest that I have ever received, and began a friendship that lasted until his death. I should not worry, he wrote, my haiku fulfill all the requirements for the future German haiku poems. He described how his reading of my work felt like being taken into shady Shinto shrine forest after a long hike through glowing hot Japanese rice fields.
With that was the decision to publish my haiku book in Germany."
Through her close association with Erwin Jahn, Imma von Bodmershof's contacts with other persons concerning haiku were concentrated in Japan she kept informed of haiku activities in North America, citing in her book, Sonnenuhr, contact with Aric Amann in Canada. Through this it came about that her haiku were translated by Claire Pratt and the essay written by Wilhem von Bodmershof, "Studie über das Haiku" from the book, Im Fremden Garten, was translated into English to be published in Milkweed, edited by Marshall Hycuik in 1988.
Though Imma von Bodmershof did not have students or disciples in the way Japanese masters did, she, and her husband, were aware of the need to educate and share information about the Japanese culture and literature. Each of her books contains, not only her poems but always a healthy portion of education with them.
Being outspoken, Imma von Bodmershof, was also very critical of the haiku being written in Japan as well as the first efforts made by Germans. In many of her letters to Dr. Sabine Sommerkamp, she repeatedly refers to the misuse of haiku by the uninformed. She maintained that one could not "write" haiku but could only "meet" them and then put down the words. Yet she implied that what most wrote down were not pure haiku.
As she was critical with herself, rewriting her own haiku many times, she was also exact and blunt with others.
For poets and authors who were already publishing, this was often very hard to take, especially when they found in her work, what they thought to be detrimental weaknesses. Still, her poems and her efforts inspired many; including myself, up until her death stopped our flow of letters in August of 1982.
For most American haiku writers, the name they think of when reference is made to German haiku, is Gunther Klinge. For almost 20 years he has continued to write and publish his haiku in America and Japan. Here, Ann Atwood has been active in not only translating the haiku, but co-operating with Gunther Klinge on two books – Drifting with the Moon and Day into Night – and regularly submitting his work to the haiku magazines. In most German book stores one will find his books in the poetry section. Somewhat of a recluse, he has relied on his poetic works and not any other efforts.
Hans Kasdorff, has taken a softer view. His book, Augenblick und Ewigkeit [One Moment and Eternal], has as authors both his name and his wife's, Hilde Kasdorff, when in fact, all the haiku are written by him. In this way, he has given her credit for living the haiku way with him and thus, indirectly, author of the work. Almost a third of the book is a very illuminating essay, "Über das Haiku."
Other events and other attempts were made with the object of illuminating the paths between haiku writers in Germany. Unfortunately, one after another, they became as brief as the glow of fireflies on a summer night.
"Ersten bundesdeutschen Haiku-Biennale" [The First German Haiku Biennale] met in Bottrop in 1979 with 20 persons attending to discuss what directions the haiku writing should take.
From 1981-85 Dr. Sabine Sommerkamp,
Just outside of
Karl Heinz Kurz had, over the years, been writing vast amounts of haiku and renga published under Verlag zum Haben Bogen [Publisher of Half Sheets] which have been distributed around the world.
In 1988, Margaret Buerschaper, of Vechta, organized Der Deutschen Haiku-Gesellschaft e.V. [German Haiku Society]. Suddenly "things" began coming together. Drawing on her ten years of writing and publishing poetry, and close cooperation with Carl Heinz Kurz, along with the full endorsement of the Japanese Consulate in
A quarterly magazine, Vierteljahresschrift der Deutschen Haiku-Gesellschaft [Quarterly of the German Haiku Society] edited by Margaret Buerschaper fills 32 pages with articles supporting various views, reports on happenings in Europe, haiku and senryu by members, book reviews.
In addition to this publishing avenue, Frau Buerschaper edits a series of 4 x 6 32 page chapbooks under the name of Pocket Print im Graphikum for haiku and senryu.
For the publication of sequences, renga, and tanka collections, she publishes slimmer chapbooks in the half-page size.
With the financial support of the Japanese Consulate, full sized, perfect bound books of members' collective works are appearing. In addition to a members' anthology, in which each was allowed two full pages to design and edit themselves, a complete collection of the renga written in German have also been issued.
Not content with these activities, Margaret Buerschaper is very active in writing, working at once on several renga with different persons, most of which are then published.
In contrast to other haiku societies in which anyone with a checkbook can join, the DGH is now, after being established, limiting membership by screening applicants for certain requirements. Instead of having a loose organization, it becomes an honour to be accepted and a witness that one is really a writer of haiku (ed.: this seems to have changed more recently). Its website is available for viewing here: http://haiku-dhg.kulturserver-nds.de/
Yearly meetings consisting of a weekend have been begun. With a full and varied program, these retreats are attracting writers, not only to absorb inspiration and to meet fellow-writers, but as a chance to see and write in another landscape.
In these few years of beginning, one can already see results. Some very promising talent is being discovered (both men: Conrad Miesen and Rudy Junger). By the distribution of the works of such persons, along with the openness to look at what everyone is writing, there is real promise that the sleeping haiku spirit in
Imma von Bodmershof quote from a private letter to Dr. Sabine Sommerkamp, March, 25, 1980.
Anna von Rottauscher. Ihr gelben Chrysanthemen.
Carl Heinz Kurz, "Mohnblüten und Wahrnehmungen" in the German Haiku Society's quarterly Vierteljahresschift der Deutschen Haiku-Gesellschaft, IV:1, February 1991.
Manfred Hausmann. Liebe, Tod und Vollmondnächte. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Verlag, 1951.
Erwin Jahn. Fallende Blüten. Japanische Haiku-Gedichte Zurich: Die Arche, 1968.
Jan Ulenbrook. Haiku. Japanische Dreizeiler. Translated from the Ancient Texts by Jan Ulenbrook. Wiesbaden: Inselverlag, 1960
Imma von Bodmershof. Sonnenuhr. Salzburg: Stifterbibliothek Salzburg; Neugebauer Press Bad Goisem, Austria, 1970. Translation: Jane Reichhold.
This resulted in the book, Löwenzahn. Die auf 17 Silben verkürzten Haiku. Imma von Bodmershof. Matsuyama, Japan:Verlag Itadori-Hakkosho, September 20, 1979. The remarkable on this edition are the appendix. One is by Hans Kasdoff, who writes explanations for 40 of the haiku. Then is an essay concerning a meeting with Imma von Bodmershof written by Gertrud von Heiseler, followed by tables compiled by Hajo Jappe showing and explaining the revisions Frau von Bodmershof made in these haiku (which were the same 99 published in 1962). Then Dr. Sabine Sommerkamp explains the season words used in ten of Imma von Bodmershof's haiku, which is followed by Akada Toyoji writing of a haiku journey made from Japan through Europe. At the end are biographies of each writer.
Imma von Bodmershof. Im Fremden Garten : 99 Haiku. Zürich: Im Verlag der Arche, 1980. This book contains, in addition, an essay by her husband, Wilhem von Bodmershof explaning the Japanese meanings of various subjects plus instructions on how to write haiku.
Milkweed. Edited by Marshall Hyrciuk,1988.
Hans und Hilda Kasdorff. Augenblick und Ewigkeit. Bonn: Bouvier, 1986.
apropos -Zeitschrift für Kunst, Literatur, Kritik,was edited and published from 1980-85 by Karl Heinz Backer in Lauingen/Donau.
Frau Hensel has a haiku in The Haiku Handbook by William Higginson and a renga done with Jane Reichhold in German and translated into English printed in Tigers in a Tea Cup, (1988) and reprinted in Narrow Road to Renga (1989).
Under Frau Buerschaper's leadership, there is shown a concern for deciding what shall be called haiku and which work is senryu. Having discovered that not only is the difference between the two often very slim, they are promoting a new designation, senku, or hai-sen.
Bio-Bibliographie Der Mitglieder Der Deutschen Haiku-Gesellschaft by Margaret Buerschaper and Dr. Tadao Araki, editors and publishers. Frankfurt am Main: 1990.
Gemeinsames Dichten Eine Deutsche Renku-Anthology, Sonderausgabe der "Deutsch-Japanischen Begegnungen im Lande Hessen". Dr. Tadao Araki, editor and publisher. Frankfurt am Main: 1990.
This essay is an excerpt from Those Women Writing Haiku; Chapter Five: In Europe
(the version published here has been revised and updated by the author)
Jane Reichhold’s mini-anthology of German and Dutch haiku here: http://www.ahapoetry.com/tsgerant.htm
Signifika(n)t by Irina Valkova (Berlin, Germany)
Signifika(n)t by Irina Valkova (Berlin, Germany)
by Jim Norton (Ireland)
The slow boygazing skywardhears it first
Healing handswhere the name itself is balmWatergrasshill
by Jeffrey Woodward (USA)
listen to a scythesing to a whetstone—a drysong of midsummer
DOGHOUSE Books have a limited number of copies left of two collections of haiku poems by two Irish haijin:
John W Sexton. Shadows Bloom. DOGHOUSE Books. Reviewed here
Anatoly Kudryavitsky. Morning at Mount Ring. DOGHOUSE Books. Reviewed here
One can get them postage free for the price of €12 to anywhere in the world.
Also, check out here the range of poetry books and anthologies we've published.
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