David G. Lanoue will be speaking at HNA Seattle this year. His talk, entitled "Issa´s Frogs and Toads" sounds like it will be one not to miss! Dr. David G. Lanoue is a professor of English at Xavier University of Louisiana. His Haiku of Kobayashi Issa website presents 10,000 haiku of Issa in English translation with comments. His books included Issa: Cup-of-Tea Poems, The Distant Mountain: The Life and Haiku of Kobayashi Issa, Pure Land Haiku: The Art of Priest Issa, and three "haiku novels": Haiku Guy, Laughing Buddha and Haiku Wars.
Issa´s treatment of frogs and toads in his haiku can seem, on the surface, merely comic. Images of a grown man conversing with amphibians can provoke laughter and help to explain, in part, Issa´s popularity among Japanese children. In this lecture followed by a discussion, we will explore a selection of these haiku in light of the Pure Land Buddhism that Issa followed. We will discover that, for the poet, frogs and toads are fellow travelers, companions, cousins and mirrors of humanity.
Here's some other comments David G. Lanoue told me over an email conversation...
How long have you been interested in Issa's haiku poetry?
In the early 1980s I discovered Issa's haiku in R.H. Blyth--and decided to learn Japanese to read his original texts. After that, I started translating his haiku to English (10,000 so far!).
Have you ever been to HNA before?
Yes! I attended the last two meetings in Winston-Salem and Ottawa. I'm hooked!
Have you ever been to Seattle?
Yes, briefly. But that was a lifetime ago. I'm eager to take a fresh look at it.
What are you most looking forward to at this year's HNA?
Hobnobbing with haiku pals--old pals and new ones that I hope to make!
Looking forward to hearing this talk!