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Dimitar Anakiev on Issa

Dimitar Anakiev

Personal confession in Issa's poems is perhaps the most attractive element of his poetry. His poetic avowal turned haiku from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, from admiration of God (Nature) to pure humanism and love. In this way Issa is the apostle of modern haiku.

Personally, I always was very close to his poetry. Some of my best poems are directly inspired by Issa and "there is a strain of the Japanese master Issa in much of Dimitar's work..." as Charles Trumbull wrote in the foreword to my collection, Enormous Frog (1998). Let me note some of the poems from Enormous Frog in homage to Kobayashi Issa:

Spring evening:
under the wheel of a troop carrier
a lizard is crushed

"When we were soldiers..."
the refrain hangs in the frozen air
of my entryway

Turning on the light
all my friends show up:
a swarm of insects

On the both sides
of the fence the dandelions
grow the same

Thinking about life
my wife changes a lace
on her moccasin

Even without an arm,
an eye, and nose the snowman
cheers up the children

A word to my friend
comes to me with the dusk—
spring time rain

Sheet of paper:
OK, plant louse, you can read
my brand-new haiku

(Translated by Dimitar Anakiev & Charles Trumbull )