Speaking from my current abode here in Japan, I’d like to introduce a short bilingual book of haiku I discovered recently at my local picture book library. Haiku no Ehon or A Picture Book of Haiku by Toshio Suzuki (Rin Rin Kikaku, 1993) is a wonderful book of haiku by well known poets Basho, Buson, Issa, Kyoshi and Kyorai. The illustrations of the poems are quite stunning — traditional images done in sumi-e ink with some very colorful embellishments. The book was produced post-humously; Suzuki was suffering with cancer when he worked on the paintings done for this book. Suzuki belonged to a group of painters who are referred to as ‘juvenile painters.’ Juvenile painting is a kind of illustration done for childrens’ stories and songs. Suzuki challenged himself as a juvenile painter by trying to illustrate classically known haiku in a way that he felt would be accessible to children. I think he succeeded admirably!
And speaking of Japanese poets, fellow PT blog contributor Corinne, sent me this link to a post with video by Sylvia Vardell on her blog, Poetry for Children, about a recent poetry book by Tanikawa Shuntaro whose work I wrote about a while back for Poetry Friday for PaperTigers. Check it out!