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Take Your Poet to Work: The Haiku Masters

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Take Your Poet to Work Haiku Masters Cover

Could your workplace use a little more poetry? Wouldn’t it be great if you could bring the world’s most beloved poets along with you to work? Imagine if one of the haiku masters joined you for the day. Basho could take your calls in 5-7-5. Buson could take a dip in the water cooler, offering cool three-liners to your coworkers in need of mid-morning refreshment.

Take Your Poet to Work Day is coming July 17.

To help you play and celebrate with us, we’re releasing poets each week in a compact, convenient format that you can tuck in your pocket, tool belt, or lunchbox. We’ve given you Sara Teasdale and Pablo Neruda. And this week, we release our first collection, The Haiku Masters: Matsuo Basho, Yosa Buson, and Kobayashi Issa.

Is there a poet you’d like to see? Give us your suggestions in the comments. We’ll see what we can do.

Take Your Poet to Work: Haiku Masters

Take Your Poet to Work - Haiku Masters

Click here for a downloadable version of  Take Your Poet to Work Day – Haiku Masters that you can print and color.

Perhaps if you brought a haiku along, you could have one of the masters read it to your coworkers as they stop by for a refill on coffee.


matsuo bashoMatsuo Basho
(1644-1694) is known as the father of haiku. He was a beloved teacher and the most famous of the Edo Period Japanese poets. While he lived in Edo (modern Tokyo), he was prone to wandering, especially to the northern wilderness, for inspiration for his poetry. Upon his return from travel, he published a collection titled Account of a Weather-Beaten Skeleton.

Awake at night–
the sound of the water jar
cracking in the cold.

–Matsuo Basho

Yosa BusonYosa Buson (1716-1783) moved to Edo in 1737 to paint, but soon fell in love with the hokku (haiku) form. Basho was a great inspiration, and Buson traveled into the northern wilderness to follow in his steps.

Coolness–
the sound of the bell
as it leaves the bell

–Yosa Buson

kobayashi issa

Despite a life marked by tragedy, Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827) was known for humorous, playful poems, often portraying the life of Shinsho peasants. He was sent to Edo to study poetry at the age of 14 and later became a lay Buddhist priest. He went by the pen name Issa, “a cup of tea” and wrote over 20,000 poems.

Having slept, the cat gets up,
yawns, goes out
to make love.

–Kobayashi Issa

Learn more about Take Your Poet to Work Day and our featured poets

Browse more haiku

Learn more about haiku with our Haiku Infographic

 Post and illustrations by Lyla Willingham Lindquist.

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Your Comments

14 Comments so far

  1. L. L. Barkat says:

    Hmmm.

    I might need to get a water cooler just so I can do this ;-)

    Love these. And the poems you chose are terrific. The cat one made me laugh. (Are cat poems mostly destined to do that? :)


Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Take Your Poet to Work: T.S. Eliot - Tweetspeak Poetry - June 22, 2013

    [...] To help you play and celebrate with us, we’re releasing poets each week in a compact, convenient format that you can tuck in your pocket, tool belt, or lunchbox. We’ve given you Sara Teasdale and Pablo Neruda. Last week, we released our first collection, The Haiku Masters: Matsuo Basho, Yosa Buson, and Kobayashi Issa. [...]

  2. July 1: Standing O Edition | New Religion and Culture Daily - July 1, 2013

    [...] + Take Basho to work [...]

  3. This Week's Top Ten Poetic Picks - Tweetspeak Poetry - July 4, 2013

    [...] and cut-outs that you can take along with you. (Take your pick: Sara Teasdale, Pablo Neruda, Haiku Masters, and T.S. Eliot for starters.) Get yours, and take a picture or video of your poet at work with [...]

  4. Take Your Poet to Work Day | - July 16, 2013

    [...] Take the Haiku masters to work [...]

  5. Take Your Poet to Work Day is July 17 (Infographic) | - July 17, 2013

    [...] Take the Haiku masters to work [...]

  6. Cat Poetry: The Cat's Meow Playlist & Prompt | - November 8, 2013

    [...] –Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827) [...]

  7. Top Ten Tweets (and a thousand other things) from Poetry at Work Day | - January 16, 2014

    […] Kassel of the New York Observer had plans with Issa (throwing back to Take Your Poet to Work Day). We never did hear details of those plans, but we are still ready to listen if Issa has something […]

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  9. Take Your Poet to Work: Adrienne Rich | - June 11, 2014

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    […] To help you play and celebrate with us, we’re releasing poets each week in a compact, convenient format you can tuck in your pocket, tool belt, or lunchbox. Last year, we gave you Sara Teasdale, Pablo Neruda, T. S. Eliot, Rumi, Edgar Allan Poe, and the reclusive Emily Dickinson (for folks who work at home). We even released a full collection, The Haiku Masters: Matsuo Basho, Yosa Buson, and Kobayashi Issa. […]

  11. Take Your Poet to Work: W. B. Yeats | - June 25, 2014

    […] To help you play and celebrate with us, we’re releasing poets each week in a compact, convenient format you can tuck in your pocket, tool belt, or lunchbox. Last year, we gave you Sara Teasdale, Pablo Neruda, T. S. Eliot, Rumi, Edgar Allan Poe, and the reclusive Emily Dickinson (for folks who work at home). We even released a full collection, The Haiku Masters: Matsuo Basho, Yosa Buson, and Kobayashi Issa. […]

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    […] To help you play and celebrate with us, we’re releasing poets each week in a compact, convenient format you can tuck in your pocket, tool belt, or lunchbox. Last year, we gave you Sara Teasdale, Pablo Neruda, T. S. Eliot, Rumi, Edgar Allan Poe, and the reclusive Emily Dickinson (for folks who work at home). We even released a full collection, The Haiku Masters: Matsuo Basho, Yosa Buson, and Kobayashi Issa. […]

  13. Take Your Poet to Work: Sylvia Plath | - July 9, 2014

    […] To help you play and celebrate with us, we’re releasing poets each week in a compact, convenient format you can tuck in your pocket, tool belt, or lunchbox. Last year, we gave you Sara Teasdale, Pablo Neruda, T. S. Eliot, Rumi, Edgar Allan Poe, and the reclusive Emily Dickinson (for folks who work at home). We even released a full collection, The Haiku Masters: Matsuo Basho, Yosa Buson, and Kobayashi Issa. […]

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