A FEW FLIES AND I: Haiku by Issa by Jean & Ronni Silbert--Ed. Merill

A FEW FLIES AND I: Haiku by Issa

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Presented bare and beautiful, without the trappings and tremolo of Richard Lewis' Of This World (1968, 1297, J-511), the haiku of Issa is immediately arresting. This is a wiser selection too, particularly for children; there is less personal tragedy, more close observation. And it needs no connecting passages --one theme flows easily into another: flies, mosquitoes, then ""I borrowed my cottage/ From the fleas and mosquitoes/ And slept."" Or the succeeding -- ""In the dawn of day,/ The colour of the sky/Has a 'change of clothes'""; then ""The snail/ Goes to bed and gets up/ Just as he is."" A brief explanation of haiku and appreciation of Issa introduces the hundred or so poems. Their presentation is discreet and restrained -- just a misty band of pastel stretching across the double-page spread, a tiny charcoal figure or two suggesting the scene. This one is less likely than most to languish; it's clear, fresh and fond.

Pub Date: April 15th, 1969
Publisher: Pantheon