Saturday, January 20, 2007

a discussion on punning

The American poet Kenneth Rexroth, in his introduction to "One Hundred Poems from the Japanese, says:
The 'kake kotoba' or pivot word is a word or part of a word employed in two senses, or, very rarely, in three, one relating to what precedes, the other to what follows. It is a device not unknown to late Latin and it turns up now and then in English humor andf requently in James Joyce's "Finnegan's Wake." The word 'matsu', for example, is often used in the sense of 'pine' and 'long for' exactly as in the English 'pine' and 'pine.'. . .
See the rest of this discussion by Larry, Gabi Greve, and Sakuo Nakamura at
For more on Rexroth see:


Anonymous said...

You can find many of Rexroth's translations (from Japanese and several other languages) at


Billie Dee said...

Many thanks Anon. I've posted your link.