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Frogpond 47.1 • 2024

Museum of Haiku
Literature Award

Haiku & Senryu

Essay 1 - Baroque-ku?

Essay 2 - Cultivating Zoka

Essay 3 - Imagining Haiku Narrators Part 2

Essay 4 - Nepali Haiku Literature

Interview - Gary Hotham



Book Reviews

Haiku Society of America


Cultivating Zoka

by Janice Doppler

Cultivating Zoka
(complete PDF version)


Here is a sample excerpt from the opening page of this essay:

Cultivating Zoka

by Janice Doppler

Basho challenged students to “awaken to the high” — spiritual cultivation and increased awareness of nature and the movement of the cosmos. In Knapsack Notes, Basho encouraged poets to follow the Creative — the dynamic spirit that transforms the natural world and the inner workings of the cosmos. As translated by Steven D. Carter in Matsuo Basho Travel Writings, Basho said: "The waka of Saigyo, the renga of Sogi, the paintings of Sesshu, the tea of Rikyu — there is one thread that runs through them all. For it is the essence of art to follow the Way of creation, taking the four seasons as a companion. Do that, and what you see will never not be a flower; what you ponder will never not be the moon. To not see the form before you as a flower is to be like a barbarian; to not have a flower in your mind is to be like the birds and the beasts. So, I say, go out from among the barbarians, separate yourself from the birds and beasts: follow the creative, get back to the creative."

This essay focuses on how to cultivate the Creative, Carter’s translation of zoka, in your practice as a haiku poet. In Traces of Dreams, Haruo Shirane explains that in Basho’s quote above, “the way of art (fuga) the way of the inner spirit (kokoro) and the way of the cosmos (zoka) became inseparable.” Chinese wisdom texts, written during the Axial Age (the same era in which Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle philosophized and Homer penned the Iliad and the Odyssey), are sources of insight into how to follow zoka. The Book of Changes/Yijing (I Ching) and Dao De Jing (Tao Te Ching) describe the way of the cosmos. The Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu), by Daoist philosopher Zhuangzi, tells stories about how humans relate to and live within the mystery of the cosmos. The Zhuangzi sheds light on how to cultivate zoka through the way of the spirit and the way of haiku.

[feature continues for several more pages] . . .

Doppler, Janice. "Cultivating Zoka." Frogpond 47.1, Winter, 2024, 104-117.

This excerpt inclues the first page of the feature: page 104. The complete feature includes pages 104-117. To read the complete feature, click on the link to the PDF version:

Cultivating Zoka
(complete PDF version)