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Volume 33.2
Summer 2002

book review

Antologia polskiego haiku (Anthology of Polish Haiku)
edited by
Ewa Tomaszewska

 

reviewed by Charles Trumbull

Antologia polskiego haiku (Anthology of Polish Haiku), compiled by Ewa Tomaszewska. (Warsaw, Poland: Nozomi, 2001). In Polish. 229 pages, paper, perfectbound; 5 x 7 3/4. ISBN 83-906175-3-6. No price given; inquire by phone or fax to the publisher at (0-22) 651-61-71.

This welcome historical compendium includes a 22-page essay by Tomaszewska, "Japanese Inspirations in European Culture and Art," and five pages of bibliography by way of introduction. Here we learn that haiku proper did not get established in Poland until about 1979. This observation is born out in the body of the book, which is organized chronologically. In the first period, 1905–1979, we are treated to the writing of imagistic verses by a number of poets—including names such as Alexander Wat, Czeslaw Milosz, and Halina Poswiatowska—but nothing that much resembles haiku. Soon thereafter, however, under the influence of many translations of Japanese and Western haiku published by poets such as Andrzej Szuba and, later, Milosz, the form was taken up in earnest. Polish haiku often inclines toward the flowery and romantic. Here are two samples, one from Father Hieronim St. Kreis OSB (a monk and expert practitioner of ikebana) and, below it, one by Szuba:

pierwszy cieply wiatr
wraca wspomnienie domu
i usmiech matki
the first warm wind
brings back memories of home
and mother’s smile

snieg
nasiqkniet krwiq
topi sie
rozumie
snow
soaking up blood
melts
for sure

The Poles are famed for their graphic arts, and this book can only enhance that reputation. The beautiful volume was designed by Lidia Rozmus and printed on heavy, good-quality paper.

 

 

 

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