So what gladness and sadness must have been felt privately and publicly all around the world on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in , the first Armistice Day. One of the deadliest conflicts in human history had finally come to an end, leaving more than 16 million people dead and more than 20 million wounded. Black-edged letters and telegrams — one from the King and one from the Governor-General — began to be delivered the length and breadth of New Zealand with alarming regularity from the moment of the landing at Gallipoli in Turkey on April 25, On the crest of the tidal wave of imports flooding Europe, these prints transformed European art, influencing, among others, Monet, Degas, Tissot and Van Gogh.
It is said that James Whistler discovered Japanese prints in a Chinese tearoom near London Bridge and that Claude Monet first came upon them used as wrapping paper in a spice shop in Holland. Japan had its own pavilion at the Paris International Exhibition of , the first formal exhibition in Europe of Japanese art. After the exhibition several Japanese art dealers based themselves in Paris, and French collectors, writers, and art critics travelled to Japan in the s and s.
But the largest exhibition in which Japan participated was in in London — attracting more than 8 million visitors in greater London had a population of 7 million and including more than artefacts, as well as acrobats, sword dancers, sumo wrestlers and two authentic Japanese gardens. Early, if stilted, translations of haiku and tanka from Japanese into French were available in and , although were little known outside Japoniste circles. There are several variations of the story behind this book, both on the internet and in print, with different details of the trip, including the names of the other two authors, where the boating holiday took place France or Japan , and even if it was a boating holiday.
Commonsense leads me to believe it took place in France. In Couchoud had an essay on haiku which he called lyric epigrams published in the journal Les Lettres. In Michel Revon published an anthology of Japanese literature in a pocket-size edition. The enthusiasm for haiku and the understanding of the form radiated out from Paris to Germany, Poland, Romania, Hungary and Britain. Who wrote the first haiku in English and when is something that in is impossible to pin down.
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Theories abound and arguments are made but — even given the debate about what comprises a haiku in English — at this remove the records are simply not there. Jim Kacian speculates that three hokku found in the Grammar of the Japanese Written Language by Ireland-born British diplomat WG Aston and unattributed to an author were, in fact, written by Aston — and so would be the first haiku in English.
Noguchi left the US for England in November , and composed what were probably the first haiku in English to be written in Britain. How many hundred thousand people in that immortal coat pass by Charing Cross every day?
What’s a Haiku?
So this haiku was apparently was composed in Japanese and translated by the author. However, in a article, reprinted the next year in Rhythm , Noguchi included the following hokku and a description of its composition. I exclaimed then: What use to try the impossibility in translation, when I have a moment to feel a hokku feeling and write about it in English? Although I had only a few such moments in the past, my decision not to translate hokku into English is unchanged.
Let me wait patiently for a moment to come when I become a hokku poet in my beloved English. Six months later I made a poem half that length; a year later I made [a]. It is often considered to be the first haiku written in English, although one might consider Noguchi to have a better claim, whatever the quality of either piece. Almost always the poet came to know the prints before the poetry, and this priority meant that his ideas about the nature of Japanese poetry were shaped, probably unconsciously, by his previous impressions of the wood block print.
In a essay John Gilliver 27 posits that the Imagists, led by Pound, were searching for a style altogether harder. They seized upon vers libre, haiku and tanka as brusque, unconventional forms, with metaphor — the concentrating, focusing lens of a concrete image — as the primary vehicle of expression.
Snapshots: Haiku in the Great War
They wanted an intellectual hardness that could engage the modern, an emotional hardness that could look upon the ugly, and a sophisticated, stylistic hardness that could capture both a brilliant visual reality and an inner reality or idea. But the boy ran away from a naval training academy and in was sent to distant relatives in Philadelphia where he promptly befriended Walt Whitman. Hartmann made four long visits to Europe where he was taken up by the bohemian set, sending journalism and art criticism back to America.
Unable to speak Japanese, Hartmann nevertheless had an interest in the art of his birthplace. Japanese Art which included literature is a nearly page volume published in and he also wrote articles about Japanese literature.
Amazed at how much confidence the Japanese poet places in the reader, Hartmann writes:. The symbolism of Japanese poetry is unique. It has nothing in common with our Western emblematic signs and forms.
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It is rather a spiritual idea, a subtile [ sic ] speculation, a unison of the external beauties of nature and the subtleties of the human soul, which has its origin in tradition and a continual association with flowers, with animals, trees, mountains and the ever-changing elements. Hartmann included several tanka in his book of poetry, Drifting Flowers of the Sea , and in published his Tanka and Haikai.
Hartmann reworked and reissued these images for much of his life. It was favored in the sixteenth century. Frequently it is purely poetical and the association of thought produced too vague to be conveyed in English with such exaggerated brevity. Italy and its colonies entered the war in , Portugal and its colonies, although fighting was taking place in Africa in and Romania in , and the United States, Greece, China and Brazil in By the start of World War 1 it had lost its eastern European lands, including Bulgaria which had been occupied for almost years.
In February , Katherine Mansfield made a trip to the front in northeast France, apparently posing as a sick aunt to access the restricted zone, spending four nights with her lover, the French writer Francis Carco.
Her story, An Indiscreet Journey , written in his Paris apartment in May , is an account of this episode and one of the earliest fictional accounts of the Great War written in English, by a woman, with first-hand experience of the scenes she is describing. And now we were passing big wooden sheds like rigged-up dancing halls or seaside pavilions, each flying a flag. In and out of them walked the Red Cross men; the wounded sat against the wall sunning themselves.
At all the bridges, the crossings, the stations, a petit soldat, all boots and bayonet. Forlorn and desolate he looked, like a little comic picture waiting for the joke to be written underneath. Is there really such a thing as war? Are all these laughing voices really going to the war?
He is buried in the Messines war cemetery in Belgium. Chummie had just spent two weeks with Mansfield and Middleton Murry in London while on an army course, ironically, on the use of hand grenades, and had met his sister as soon as he had arrived in London in February — she borrowed money from him to make her trip to Carco in France.
Cent Visions de Guerre , published in May , immediately brought poetic Japonisme into mainstream French traditions, Jan Hokenson writes. Opting not for the epic frescoes of the novel. It interprets nothing. Haiku serves the new, Couchoud said, so it perfectly served the terrible experience of this new, mechanised war. Vocance lost his right eye during the war and suffered from blinding migranes for the rest of his life. Although his parents were Tuscan, Ungaretti was born in Alexandria Egypt with the large Italian community there tending to be bilingual in French.
When the year-old poet went to study in Europe in , he went to Paris, and had hardly lived in Italy when he joined the army. He identified with the art and liberty of France, despite its hostility to anarchists, and when he went to Italy, was swept up by a rising nationalistic fervour. Ungaretti saw the war as a vehicle for bringing liberty and victory to the ordinary people. His regiment was shipped to the Italian-Austrian front. As he said later: The people that commanded that war.
The mud, the mud … one of the worst things one can imagine: a mud smooth, red — one fell down in that mud and remained stuck: I was completely, totally dressed in mud. In mid-December , after a year in the trenches, Ungaretti spent a leave in Naples before going back to the front on January A month later he wrote:. Deadline: Frantic will be launching on 29 June and will run until August Looking for: Theme: Frantic, Submit essays, poems, short stories, memoirs, confessionals, experimental writing, postcards, art, illustrations, reviews of film, music, tv, theatre , essays, photography, and anything else in between.
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