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Frogpond 44.3 • 2021

Museum of Haiku
Literature Award

Haiku & Senryu

Essay 1 - "Waterfalls"

Essay 2 - "Poetry of Pain"



Book Reviews

From the Editor

Haiku Society of America


The Poetry of Pain and Its Meaning in the Age of COVID-19

by Michael Freiling and Shelley Baker-Gard

"The Poetry of Pain and Its Meaning in the Age of COVID-19"
(complete PDF version)

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

In late 2017, Shelley Baker-Gard was presented with a manuscript of poems, all in Japanese. They were brought to her by Duane Watari, a sansei (third-generation) Japanese American. Mr. Watari had discovered them among his mother’s keepsakes and believed the poems were written by his grandfather, Masaki Kinoshita, who wrote under the pen name of Jonan.1 Shelley brought the manuscript to Michael Freiling and together we examined its contents.

As we opened the manuscript and began to study it, we were surprised to discover that these poems had been written in an unexpected context: the Wartime Civilian Control Administration’s (WCCA) North Portland Assembly Center, where Japanese Americans were incarcerated in the months after Pearl Harbor while they waited for their transport to camps farther inland, such as Heart Mountain in Wyoming and Minidoka in Idaho. The manuscript was, in fact, a journal of senryu poems composed by multiple senryu poets at the Assembly Center in August 1942.

Senryu poems are different from haiku. Although both Japanese poetic forms follow the traditional 5-7-5 structure, their focuses of attention are different. Haiku tend to be meditative observations springing from the contemplation of nature. Senryu, by contrast, tend to be earthier, occasionally acerbic commentaries on human life, relationships, and behavior (including misbehavior). Life in the WCCA Assembly Center, with its attendant uncertainties and anxieties, was naturally the focus of attention for the senryu recorded in this journal.

[feature continues for several more pages] . . .

Freiling, Michael and Shelley Baker-Gard. ""The Poetry of Pain and Its Meaning in the Age of COVID-19" Frogpond 44.3, Autumn 2021, 95-105.

This excerpt inclues the first page of the feature: page 95. The complete feature includes pages 95-105. To read the complete feature, click on the link to the PDF version:

"The Poetry of Pain and Its Meaning in the Age of COVID-19"
(complete PDF version)