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Frogpond 41.3 • 2018

Museum of Haiku
Literature Award

Haiku & Senryu

Essay 1 - "Labor Day"

Essay 2 - "H is for Haiku"




Book Reviews


"Labor Day"

by Charles Trumbull

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

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

This installment of the Field Guide looks at an example of an Observance, which is one of the eight topics of the Japanese saijiki, or haiku almanac. In Japanese haiku, Observances include all manner of dates and times of the year that human beings celebrate: public and national holidays and memorials, Buddhist and Shintō festivals (as well as some Christian holy days), traditions, and death dates of famous persons. Because our Field Guide series focuses on English-language haiku, this go-around I have chosen an American holiday, Labor Day. Reference will be made to Canada’s Labor Day, which originated independently but is also observed on the first Monday in September as well as to labor holidays elsewhere in the world.

Wikipedia informs us:

Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor. “Labor Day” was promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, which organized the first parade in New York City. In 1887, Oregon was the first state of the United States to make it an official public holiday. By the time it became an official federal holiday in 1894, thirty states in the United States officially celebrated Labor Day.

Over the years, however, the linkage of Labor Day to the workers’ movement has all but disappeared. In haikai “Labor Day” can be found more often in ironic senryu than in serious haiku:

Labor Day
the indolence
of flags

Michele L. Harvey, The Heron’s Nest 20:2 (June 2018)

Labor Day
no strikers
at the factory gate

Larry Rungren, Boston Haiku Society News, October 1997

[essay continues for several more pages] . . .

. . .

Trumbull, Charles. "'Labor Day' from A Field Guide to North American Haiku." Frogpond 41.3, Fall 2018, 97-104.

This excerpt inclues the first page of the essay: page 90. The complete essay includes pages 97-104. To read the complete essay, click on the link to the PDF version:

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