HSA logo

Frogpond 42.3 • 2019

Museum of Haiku
Literature Award

Haiku & Senryu

Essay 1 - "Mendicants"




Book Reviews



by Charles Trumbull

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

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

When an idea for a new Field Guide episode struck me I had thought to tackle street people of all kinds: beggars and itinerant priests in Japan, the homeless, panhandlers, bag ladies, peddlers, hobos, transients and vagrants, hookers and pimps—all the people who live and eke out a livelihood on the street or on the fringes of society. It quickly became apparent that this was too broad a range, and I saw I would have to narrow the focus just to mendicants and others whose income depends primarily on begging.

Beggars have been a feature of societies worldwide for millennia but seem to be more visible—or perhaps just less welcome—in contemporary urban life, especially in industrialized countries. In classical Japanese haiku we encounter most frequently 乞食 kojiki or kotsujiki, beggars, who are simply paupers who make their living by begging (I note that Jisho, the Japanese-English online dictionary, indicates that kojiki is a “sensitive” term, which suggests that since Issa’s day the word has acquired a negative connotation.)

[essay continues for several more pages] . . .

. . .

Trumbull, Charles. "Mendicants from A Field Guide to North American Haiku." Frogpond 42.3 , Autumn 2019, 97-115.

This excerpt inclues the first page of the essay: page 97. The complete essay includes pages 97-115. To read the complete essay, click on the link to the PDF version:

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