Recently read an interview with Czeslaw Milosz where he says:
“My motto could be that haiku of Issa—“We walk on the roof of Hell / gazing at flowers.” ” *
Which speaks to the power of the short lyric poem – a haiku in this case – that it can be carried in one’s mental pocket and offered up as something understood and communed with. What I am moved by is the duality captured so casually, the line between happiness and suffering pointed out with an air of amusement. This kind of thing requires nerve.
The Japanese poet Issa is amazing. A great anthology that includes his work is “The Essential Haiku:versions of Basho, Buson, & Issa” edited by Robert Hass.
Another fan of Issa is Don Wentworth, editor of Lilliput Review, a journal that focuses on the short lyric. His blog is Issa’s Untidy Hut and can be found here: