Einbond was born in 1937 and died on August 14, 1998. Throughout
his life Einbond made many accomplishments in the world of
haiku. He was a longtime member of the Haiku Society of America
and president of the organization in 1975. He was an English
professor at Lehman College and Columbia University. He has
won many awards as a result of his talent for haiku writing
throughout his life. In 1987 he was the grand prize winner
at the Japan Air Lines International Haiku Contest and was
also awarded the Haiku Society of America Merit Book Award
and the Keats Poetry Prize. Einbonds haiku have been
published in many books including the Haiku Anthology and
his own book of selected haiku, The Tree As It Is.
haiku do not follow any particular format as far as number
of syllables per line. His haiku are varied and breaks out
of the traditional 5-7-5 format. Almost all of his haiku are
three lines. Einbond also breaks away from strict tradition
by not always including a nature element in his poems. He
puts more importance on human nature, but most often cleverly
combines both nature and human nature. His haiku are creative,
clever and innovative; he even puts new twists on old haiku
such as Bashos famous frog pond haiku.
also has a technique of using a particular phrase again in
several haiku creating a kind of mini series of
stated, many of Einbonds haiku are about human relations,
often the emotions between lovers or husbands and wives are
captured with delicate sensuality.
haiku is one of my favorites. It covers so many emotions,
but at the same time balls them up into one distinct moment.
The white of her neck, I can see a man gazing
at the long and beautiful neck of his lover in admiration
but also in desire. This line makes me feel love, devotion,
respect and beauty all at once. As she lifts her hair
for me, the woman lifts her long hair with her back
to her lover as she grins in anticipation. I feel several
emotions from this line. The womans gesture seems to
be one of helpfulness, but also one of resignment or openness.
Shes offering herself to her lover. To undo her
dress, this line is the one that, to me, confirms the
sexual connotations that I get from reading this haiku. The
man is in no hurry, and hes taking the time to admire
the woman. And indeed, I feel that Einbond wanted us to not
only read this haiku slowly but also get a sense of lazy love
and contentment. Rather Einbond meant for this haiku to be
sensual or just simply a lovely moment, it is full of strong
above haiku is an example of Einbonds beautiful way
of capturing a person but also combining them with nature.
The haiku is really so simple, its just a moment where
a person is being served a sliced pear and being told the
meaning of the womans unusual name. But after one reads
the entire poem it becomes layered. First it is simple, capturing
a lovely moment while also connecting spring into the picture.
But then the reader realizes, wow, that womans name
means spring field
how absolutely beautiful is that?
And Einbond just captures it so simply with no frills, its
aspect of Einbonds poetry that can not be overlooked
is the incredibly strong imagery he creates, but in such clever
ways. The thoughtful ways he expresses moments makes his haiku
thick with the senses and very unique.
haiku gives me a lazy feeling. I imagine that moment when
a person sometimes wakes up just before their alarm goes off.
For a moment I think its Saturday and I can go on sleeping,
but then my senses return and I realize its Monday.
The sliver of light sneaking in between the curtains becomes
unwelcome. Its as if that small opening has allowed
Monday to crawl into my room and wake me up. And that image
is very clever and creative. It makes Monday an almost living
thing with its own feelings and images. This haiku also
ever so carefully engages the sense of light. Its written
so well that it takes a moment for the power of that sliver
of light to strike the reader. Just as it would take a moment
for that sliver of light to wake us if we were actually having
haiku too, is quite clever and creative. I remember when I
was a child and would point out to my mother that the oil
spots on the ground were so pretty. Id also walk up
close to the spills and want to jump in them so as to make
the colored swirls move, but of course my mother would always
stop me. This poem sort of captures that moment before my
mother would stop me, when the thought was still lingering
in my mind. Even though I know exactly what Einbond is talking
about it this poem, I had never thought to relate the colors
to rainbows. Adding the children into the scene makes the
moment feel very innocent and beautiful; its easy to
forget Im looking at a dirty oil spill in some parking
lot. Einbond has this way of looking at something very simple,
such as a puddle of oil, and writing about it in such a way
that it becomes a beautifully amazing moment.
next two haiku that Ill discuss were written long before
the tragic events of 9/11, but I feel they are very appropriate
to the situation. They capture the happy feelings, the powerful
moments that people experienced before the Twin Towers were
haiku captures the pure awe that was felt when standing on
the ground and gazing up between the Twin Towers. I can imagine
the light of day slowly fading leaving a soft blue color gradient
between the tall towers. Standing on the ground and looking
up at the towers, our vision distorts the buildings because
they are so tall, making them look like an artistic photograph.
I also think its interesting (and again clever) that
Einbond calls the sky straight. The towers slice through the
sky, making it seem not high and curved with the earth, but
flat and straight as an arrow. This haiku gives a feeling
of power and respect.
This poem about the towers is very similar to the previous one. In fact this is another one of Einbonds mini series of haiku. But even though the words are nearly the same this poem has a different feel to it. The first one said day receding which gives a feeling of the day dying or disappearing. This haiku says night advancing which makes me think of night as a thing taking over, creeping up on the onlooker of the towers. I also get more of a sense of light from the first towers haiku and more of a sense of darkness from this haiku. Again, this poem captures a feeling of power and awe.
Einbond was an incredible haiku poet, writing powerful haiku throughout his lifetime. The imagery in each of his poems is very strong, often engaging several of the readers senses. He writes about simple moments and really he writes about them in simple ways, but they are so beautifully done that as a reader its easy to make them profound moments full of emotion.
©2003 Randy Brooks, Millikin University, Decatur, Illinois || all rights reserved for original authors