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
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 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.
Yosa 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.
the sound of the bell
as it leaves the bell
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.
Post and illustrations by Will Willingham.
Buy a year of Every Day Poems, just $5.99 — Read a poem a day, become a better poet. In June we’re exploring the theme Mirror, Mirror.