Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Higginson on kigo and tradition

The rationale behind season words is tradition, not personal or local experience. It makes sense to add certain items to a season word list according to local custom, such as holidays, unique cultural features, and particular weather phenomena or creature-behaviors unique to a specific region, provided they are included at times when poets have in fact noticed them and writen about them. But this is not always the case for phenomena of more or less universal experience. ...

...The overriding factor here is that, unless one is in a very distinctly different climatic zone than mid-temperate central Japan, on which the Japanese saijiki is nominally based, and the phenomenon in question is already recorded in a common Japanese saijiki, then *millions of poets* already relate to it that way.

--William Higginson

from the World Kigo Database:

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