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Book of Haikus (Poets, Penguin) Paperback – April 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Series: Poets, Penguin
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; First edition (April 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014200264X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142002643
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #598,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jack Kerouac(1922-1969), the central figure of the Beat Generation, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1922 and died in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1969. Among his many novels are On the Road, The Dharma Bums, Big Sur, and Visions of Cody.

Regina Weinreich teaches in the Department of Humanities and Sciences at the School of Visual Arts in New York and has published widely in a range of periodicals. She is the author of Kerouac's Spontaneous Poetics: A Study of the Fiction.


More About the Author

Jack Kerouac (1922-1969), the central figure of the Beat Generation, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1922 and died in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1969. Among his many novels are On the Road, The Dharma Bums, Big Sur, and Visions of Cody.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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I bought this book as a gift for a friend--he absolutely loved it.
Ron A. Zingen
The impression I get from Jack Kerouac's book of haiku is that he wanted to write serious traditional haiku, but couldn't stay within the parameters of the form.
texcritic
Appreciate the way that the book separates the haikus according to both season plus place (in time and mind or influence).
Rachel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jack Vaughan on August 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
The other Beat poets generally looked to him as a master, but Jack Kerouac's general reputation will probably always be that of a novelist, albeit a mad one who did little prosaic and much prosodic. Even though he created significant swaths of poetry - within his famous prose and elsewhere, it is a small circle that considers him a poet.
Anyone in that group would like this book.
It shows how far his poems would roam yet stay with a form, the haiku form. This is known to readers of Scattered Poems and Poems All Sizes, and buffs familiar with his recordings with Al Cohn and Zoot Sims - but a better view of the amount of haiku Kerouac had within him is at hand.
A new collectipon of about 700 haikus now appears. Book of Haikus, includes works from several stages in Kerouac's career, and stands well with his other books of poems.
His approach to haiku form, like his approach to blues form, was creative. His first big step was to throw out the syllabic conventions. The classic syllable count of the Japanese form, he reasoned, worked for haiku poems in the Japanese language, but not for English maybe.
For Kerouac, description was key. Encounter with object or experience was key. It is here in Book of Haikus. In haiku bulk.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
Jack Kerouac is truly an American icon. His writing has become legendary- and I think for good reason. His style of writing brought about a revolution in the way to construct a novel and his unique insight into his characters gave us, the reader, a new way of understanding both them, and ourselves. However, as far as a Haiku poet, his greatest gift was one of exploration. This book is less a book of great Haiku, and more of an experiment in Haiku. Most of his poems fall dreadfully short of what a real Haiku poem can do. I highly recommend "Take a Deep Breath: The Haiku Way to Inner Peace" by Sylvia Forges-Ryan to those who are really interested in understanding the deep and fragile art of Haiku. The poetry of Sylvia Forges-Ryan rings true both to the traditions of the form and often, to the depths of our souls.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By F. Neunemann on August 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
A great little book with a collection of haikus. Visual presentation is not the very best, but to me it is the contents that counts. IMHO there hardly is a better way to reflect the feelings of a moment than in a haiku, so one can get an intimate impression about the authors feelings comparable to a collection of snapshots. This haiku book certainly is a must have for every Jack Kerouac fan.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By texcritic on March 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
The impression I get from Jack Kerouac's book of haiku is that he wanted to write serious traditional haiku, but couldn't stay within the parameters of the form. Though all of the pieces here look like haiku, some are more traditional than others. For example, he writes

Desk cluttered
with mail --
My mind is quiet

August in Salinas --
Autumn leaves in
Clothing store displays

These are very much in the spirit and tradition of Basho and other classic haikus. But Kerouac often strayed out of the tradition, seemingly slapping down the closest thoughts that came to him:

Coffee beans!
-- Methinks I can smell
The Canaries!

God's dream
It's only
A dream

I drink my tea
and say
Hm hm

He referred to haiku often as "pops." When Kerouac grafts the tradition of the haiku to the jazzy insouciance of his mind, he is at his best with his "pops":

Missing a kick
at the icebox door
It closed anyway

Evening coming--
The office girl
Unloosening her scarf

I went in the woods
to meditate --
It was too cold

Some of the haiku here are flat and pedestrian, but for the most part, Kerouac got into the form well. Well worth reading, especially for Kerouac or Beat generation fans.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Richard Landry on August 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
I wanted to say that I disagree with the comment about the poor production values of this book. Even though the paper could certainly have been of higher quality, the book itself is beautifully designed and printed. I fell in love with it, and already gave a copy to a friend who loves Beat poetry but doesn't know much about Kerouac's verse.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Reynaldo on August 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
Kerouac is lauded for his spontaneous prose. He was also a very gifted haiku poet. Kerouac afcionados as well as common readers would enjoy this haiku book for its coolness and beauty!
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
I'm giving this book three stars, though Kerouac rightly deserves 5, and Regina Weinreich just as many for her wonderful introduction and efforts to gather nearly all of JK's known Haiku-based poems. My low rating is for the book's design, presentation, and production--not insignificant matters for our eventual interest and overall impression of a work of writing. Design is not separate from our enjoyment of the work, and here we see how design can sabotage the wonderful and various occasions condensed into Kerouac's "short and sweet sudden jump[s] of thought." As a reader I am shocked when I turn from a beautiful grouping of words like "Blowing in an afternoon wind, /on a white fence,/ A cobweb," close the book in order to look out the window at the world just described, and then look down to see: A Clown, a scrawled caricature of a man, and one dashed off in all haste and without any insight into the character of the writer; the funny little beatnik letters, and disgustingly wallpaperish patterns on the back cover. Everything about the book cover screams for me to run away. Not to mention that every copy in the bookstore was manufactured badly--so that the printing on every page slants, as if falling into the binding. The cover portrait is a terrible way of pandering to image recognition rather than the quiet lyric intensity of the poems. Penguin's design office should be ashamed for reintroducing stereotypes which distance us from this generation of great artists and writers, writers who helped to wake up America from its general somnolence. Kerouac's memory, and American Poetry deserve a better face than this.
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