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Frogpond 40.1 • 2017

Museum of Haiku
Literature Award

Haiku & Senryu

Essay 1 - "Turtle"

Fortieth Anniversary
of Frogpond




Book Reviews

From the Editor



by Charles Trumbull

"Turtle" from A Field Guide to North American Haiku
(complete PDF version)

Here is a sample excerpt from the opening page of this essay:

A Field Guide to North American Haiku is a long-term project along the lines of a haiku encyclopedia-cum-saijiki, a selection of the best English-language haiku arranged by topic and attempting to illustrate what it is about a given topic that attracts poets to write. When complete, the Field Guide project will comprise multiple thick volumes keyed to the several topics in traditional Japanese saijiki (haiku almanac) and Western counterparts, notably William J. Higginson’s Haiku World: An International Poetry Almanac (1996). These topics are: Season, Sky & Elements, Landscape, Plants, Animals, Human Affairs, and Observances. The current compilation presents “Animals: reptile: turtle.” The haiku are selected from my Haiku Database and are offered as prime examples of haiku in English that illuminate our points. The Haiku Database currently contains just over 350,000 haiku. I sometimes indicate the count of haiku in the Database on the given topic in this form: N=520; J=46, meaning in this case there are 520 “turtle” haiku in the Database, of which 46 are translations from Japanese. These numbers have no absolute significance but are useful in gauging the significance of a subject in haiku—i.e., a very rough frequency index.

Turtles are believed to be the oldest extant members of the reptile class, having originated more than 150 million years ago. Turtles are characterized by a hard protective shell and by their longevity. Some species can live for hundreds of years. Though the three types are rarely distinguished in common usage, much less in haiku, technically turtles live in water, tortoises on land, and terrapins live in either or both but always near water.

[essay continues for several more pages] . . .

. . .

Trumbull, Charles. "'Turtle' from A Field Guide to North American Haiku." Frogpond 40.1, Winter, 2017, 69-76.

This excerpt inclues the first page of the essay: page 69. The complete essay includes pages 69-76. To read the complete essay, click on the link to the PDF version:

"Turtle" from A Field Guide to North American Haiku
(complete PDF version)