100 Poets on Mount Ogura, One Poem Each

Edited by Stephen Henry Gill & Okiharu Maeda. With translation assistance by Akiko Takazawa & Hisashi Miyazaki. One Hundred Poets on Mount Ogura, One Poem Each. Kyoto: Hailstone Publications, 2010, 136 pp., perfectbound, 8 x 6. ISBN 978-4-9900822-4-6

Brooks Book Review

One Hundred Poets on Mount Ogura, One Poem Each is an interesting anthology for two reasons: (1) it includes contemporary haiku and tanka, and (2) it is an interesting example of literature as social action.

About a third of the poems are tanka and the other two-thirds are haiku. Some were composed in English, and all are published in both English and Japanese versions. To better understand the significance of the poems, the editors include notes highlighting related literary, environmental, and historical issues.

Of special note, this book was written by a wide variety of poets - men, women, young, old, renowned, amateur, Japanese and from other countries. However, the unifying experience of this book is that they have come to Mount Ogura to write haiku and tanka. Mount Ogura has always been a significant literary place, made famous by Fujiwara Teika's Hyakunin Isshu which became the basis for a popular poetry card game. However, this anthology is contemporary poetry, with a special concern for the sad environmental state of the mountain.

I recommend this anthology and encourage everyone to be sure to put Mt. Ogura on your bucket list of places to go, especially to write haiku and tanka.

Randy Brooks
June 28, 2011




Cover illustration by Yoshio Kawagoe.

This book is not available from Brooks Books, so please send overseas orders to:

Hisashi Miyazaki, 54-16 Hamuro-cho, Takatsuki-shi, Osaka 569-1147, Japan. Please use cash US $ (or equivalent €, £ or ¥), well-wrapped.

1 copy $15, 2 copies $32, 3 copies $49, 4 copies $64 (incl. postage and packing).

Stephen Henry Gill (Tito) notes on "Icebox" the Hailstone Haiku Circle blog:

"Mount Ogura is situated in the Sagano area of rural Kyoto, and was where Priest Saigyo built his first hermitage, where Fujiwara Teika compiled his Hyakunin Isshu (100 classical poems collection that became the karuta card game), and where Basho wrote his Saga Nikki.

For the past six or seven years, a few of us have been taking groups of haiku poets, local people, students, resident foreigners, etc. up the mountain to clear the tons of rubbish illegally tipped there, and to help with conservation of pine and bamboo forest.

It is a gem of a hill - with views on all sides, some into a gorge - but it needs love. It took 6 years before the editors felt they had enough good poems from which to select. We are there now - the book has been launched - and I (as one of the editors) am wondering to whom to send a review copy.

The 136-page book is unique in its mix of both Japanese and English, haiku and tanka, and in its local literary/environmental thrust. We would like the poems to get a good airing and the haiku/tanka community to enjoy them - some by respected poets (a few well-known), others by locals who until the day they went to Mt. Ogura had probably never written a poem in their lives. "

<http://hailhaiku.wordpress.com/2010/08/10/100-poets-on-mount-ogura-one-poem-each-publication-celebration/> Viewed 6-28-2011.

Sample Tanka

Finding drinks cans,
builders' rubbish ...
and picking them up:
we climb the Mount of Ogura,
itself a rhetorical word!

by Akira Daikanyama

Sample Haiku

Remains of the party
the crickets had last night:
wild chrysanthemums bloom

by Jin Matsumoto


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