On a Ginko with Guy from Athens, GA
travels with our own haiku master, David Oates.
Featuring the Haiku of David Oates
If you’ve never had anything to do with haiku you won’t know that a ginko is “a walk with haiku writers, usually held at the start of a season or at a ‘special’ time in the season (blossoms, equinox, solstice, anniversary, etc) in a chosen place (originally in nature). During the walk the haiku writers discuss, take note or write haiku.” (Haiku Spirit).
On our 10 day Haiku Walking in Japan adventure (ostensibly one long ginko) we were fortunate to be in the company of an experienced haijun from Athens, that’s Athens, Georgia, USA. So, you may well ask, what is a haijun?
The modern Japanese dictionary (Kojien, the best one-volume dictionary in Japanese), defines haijin as:
a) A person who writes haiku as a pastime, or as an occupation ;b) A haikai master; c) A person who writes many haiku.
Others define haijin as a haiku friend or mentor or an accomplished haiku poet.
David Oates was definitely our haijun. As a poet of haiku and haiku- influenced work he has been published widely in periodicals and magazines around the world and you can see why from his poems below. David was most generous with his tips, humour, and his vast knowledge on all topics haiku and non-haiku. We are hoping a little of his expertise rubbed off on us.
who won the battle?
same as always
oh! that bald man
in the bus’ rearview
on a trip
never eaten so many things
I couldn’t identify
of a feudal clan
white clouds above
full of fruit
persimmon tree —
Japan is so different
when I open my Coke Zero
it goes crack!
in the train station
suitcase wheels rattle
after so many automatic doors
the one I’ve been waiting at
feet the wrong size
© David Oates, Japan, 2016 (haiku)
Intro and photos by Jan Cornall except where indicated .
David Oates is a tutor, author, and performer from Athens, Georgia, USA who hosts Wordland, a public-radio show on WUGA, Athens, devoted to poetry, fiction, and comedy. David’s fiction and poetry have been published in numerous periodicals, including more than 100 haiku-influenced poems in a score of magazines from around the world.His latest publication Drunken Robins is published by Brick Road Poetry Press.
Donald was a traveller on Haiku Walking in Japan 2016. The next trip heads out in November 2017.
Read other contributions to Summer Grass here.