Three Simple Lines: A Writer’s Pilgrimage into the Heart and Homeland of Haiku

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Curious about haiku, I looked forward to gaining insight into this obscure but admired poetic form. But rather than illustrating Haiku in the traditional Japanese pattern, where the structure consists of three lines made up of seventeen syllables, the first line with five syllables, the second with seven, and the third with five syllables, the reader gets the translation into English of former famed haiku masters where the triplet lines do not follow this syllabic pattern. While there is power and reverence in the words themselves, it would have been nice to feel the rhythm in a phonetic rendition of the Japanese form. The author, a Zen follower, relates her journey through Japan visiting the temples of haiku poets Buson, Issa, and Basho and genuflecting at their tombs while extolling their talents with the art of expressive haiku. She rambles on about the personages encountered during her journey, often speaking their thoughts before having heard them expressed, and freely rendering her opinion as the only correct one. Haiku as taught in this rendition consists of the three simple lines mentioned in the title (not in the seventeen-syllable form), yet the poetry lies in the symmetry and contrast that the words bring to mind. Unfortunately, this pilgrimage did not release the essential spirit of haiku.


Reviewed By:

Author Natalie Goldberg
Star Count 2/5
Format Hard
Page Count 176 pages
Publisher New World Library
Publish Date 05-Jan-2021
ISBN 9781608686971
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue January 2021
Category Reference
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