Male Monday: Haiku of Kobayashi Issa

Posted on 23 May 2011 Monday


Since May is Asian Pacific Heritage month, I thought this Monday would be a good time to feature Cool Melons–Turn to frogs: The life and poems of Issa Story and Haiku translations by Matthew Gollub; Illustrations by Kazuko G. Stone. Published by Lee and Low, 1998.

Issa (pronounced ee-sa) was born Kobayasi Yataro in 1763 and rose to fame in Japan as a Buddhist priest and poet. In his lifetime, he wrote over 20,000 poems. For this book, Gollub read over 2500 of Issa’s haiku and selected the ones he thought would best tell Issa’s life. I could rewrite the poems here and try in my own lame way to tell you about the art work, but I’m going to take a chance with the copyright police and give you an image of one of the pages of the book. The poem on this particular page was written by Issa when he was just 6 years old. The poems are written on the side of the page in Japanese.

Wouldn’t you love to have some of the original artwork from this book?!

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