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Entertaining, Sassy, Creative, Deep, Passionate. Artistic, Tender, Opinionated. Joyful, Stubborn, Grateful, Humble.

Saturday, January 09, 2010


I love writing. I love poetry. And I love Haiku. I found a site online, you can click on it below, all about Issa. I also love things written long ago. And his life, his wisdom, is very much needed today. For the next few weeks, if you read my blog...you will get an entertaining lesson on Issa. I am taking his story, about his life, and selections of his writings in Haiku, and giving them to you using the beloved Tarot Cards. The deck I have chosen is 'The Tarot of Durer.' The art is by Giacinto Gaudenzi. Every day I am on a emailing list, and get a Haiku from Issa. And I shall post it, with the cards that depict it. Or, my version of it! Each card, shall give you a vision of each line of his poetry. What do you think? As you read his story...in time, you will see he was very wise, and experienced much loss in his life. Yet, he wrote. All the time. Maybe it was his therapy. We all need that. And I so enjoy seeing the world, through his eyes....or his words. They live on.

my home village
in an ugly mood...
the winter rain

-Issa, 1821


Issa in Haiku Tradition

Chronologically, Kobayashi Issa appears third in the order of the four most prominent haiku poets of Japanese tradition.

About Issa

One of the four foremost poets of Japanese haiku tradition, Issa is in good company (Bashô, Buson, Issa, Shiki).

He was born in the little village of Kashiwabara in the mountains of Japan's Shinano Province on the fifth day of Fifth Month, 1763: June 15 on the Western calendar. He died in the same village on the 19th of Eleventh Month in the old Japanese calendar year that corresponds to 1827: the equivalent of January 5, 1828 on the Western calendar. In the long time between these dates he learned the art of haiku (then called haikai) and wandered the length and breadth of Japan, writing everywhere he went. Though his real name was Kobayashi Yatarô, he chose Issa (Cup-of-Tea) as his haiku name. He called himself "Shinano Province's Chief Beggar" and "Priest Cup-of-Tea of Haiku Temple." A devout follower of the Jôdoshinshû sect, he imbued his work with Buddhist themes: sin, grace, trusting in Amida Buddha, reincarnation, transience, compassion, and the joyful celebration of the ordinary.

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