Credit: Matsuyama Shiki Memorial Museum

A New Year’s Haiku Gathering at Shiki’s House, around 1898 or 1899

Keith Vincent: Masaoka Shiki’s New Haiku

Mar 18, 2019, 4:15 PM
Newhouse Center Lounge
Free and open to the public

Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902) was not just any haiku poet. He was the inventor of haiku. The roots of the form are centuries old, but it was Shiki who theorized and popularized it in its current form. But what, for Shiki, made a good haiku?


The roots of haiku are centuries old, but it was Masaoka Shiki who promoted the idea of the haiku as a form that could stand on its own rather than remain a part of a collective poetic production. If today’s readers tend to think of haiku, even those of earlier periods, as independent poems, this is the result of Shiki’s retrospective reinvention of the genre in the late nineteenth century.  It was also Shiki who popularized the term haiku itself, taking the "hai" of "haikai no renga" (comic linked verse) and adding it to "ku," or "poem."


But what made a good haiku for Shiki? In this talk, Professor Vincent will try to explain, with lots of examples.


Image Credit:

Matsuyama Shiki Memorial Museum