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Frogpond 43.3 • 2020

Museum of Haiku
Literature Award

Haiku & Senryu

Essay 1 - "Midsummer Madness"




Book Reviews


Midsummer Madness

by Charles Trumbull

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

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

In The Haiku Seasons William J. Higginson writes, “According to The Oxford English Dictionary, ‘midsummer’ is the period of the summer solstice, about June 21st.

Corresponding words from some other Germanic languages are, ‘midsommar’ (Swedish), ‘midzomer’ (Dutch), ‘Mittsomer’ (German), and so on.” . . . [‘Midsummer’ combines] with numerous other words to express phenomena associated with the solstices: midsummer fair, midsummer-night, midsummer rose, midsummer chafer (a beetle), midsummer daisy, midsummer madness, midsummer silver (a plant, also called ‘silver-weed’).”. . . Higginson presents this haiku of Adele Kenny’s to represent midsummer in his companion volume Haiku World:

midsummer morning— the dead tree’s shadow stretches upstream

Wikipedia calls attention to the festive aspects of midsummer in some cultures: “specifically the northern European celebrations that accompany the actual solstice or take place on a day between June 19 and June 25 and the preceding evening. The exact dates vary among different cultures.” Encyclopædia Britannica notes the antiquity of the Midsummer Eve holiday in the Nordic countries:

The celebration predates Christianity and is likely related to ancient fertility practices and ceremonies performed to ensure a successful harvest. The holiday was later rededicated to honour St. John the Baptist in Christian times. Although the meaning of the holiday has changed, some pagan customs still persist, such as the bonfires, which originally were believed to ward off evil spirits, and the focus on nature, which harkens back to when plants and water were thought to have magical healing powers on Midsummer’s Eve.

[essay continues for several more pages] . . .

. . .

Trumbull, Charles. "Midsummer Madness." Frogpond 43.3, Autumn 2020, 101-119.

This excerpt inclues the first page of the essay: page 101. The complete essay includes pages 101-119. To read the complete essay, click on the link to the PDF version:

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