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Rise, Ye Sea Slugs! Paperback – October 31, 2003
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From the Author
"Surviving by eating the sand one lives upon is like realizing the dream of living in a gingerbread house. The sea slug, by staying still and learning to live on so little, has turned this world into its paradise. Motokawa Tatsuo (Tokyo Institute of Technology Professor quoted on pg 3 of "Rise, Ye Sea Slugs!")
I also find the variety of sea slug metaphor in the old Japanese haiku refreshing. The formlessness of the namako allows it to stand for so many things! I began making out sub-themes of sea cucumber as the embodiment of "cold," "meekness," "slipperiness," "ugliness" and so forth. Sure, the real sea cucumber has its interesting points: for one, it is amazing that it gets along as well as it does without a brain. But, I am writing books on many subjects (mosquitos and cherry blossoms, to name a couple) all of which enthrall me.
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Top Customer Reviews
For those already familiar with R. H. Blyth's 4-volume <em>Haiku</em> or my own <em>Haiku World</em>, <em>Rise, Ye Sea Slugs!</em> offers a deep view of the place of seasonal phenomena in Japanese haiku and senryu. Robin Gill brings some 1,000 poems to demonstrate the tremendous range and depth inherent in one modest Japanese seasonal topic, <em>namako</em>, and in so doing shows us how incredibly rich the inclusion of a season word can make one of these short poems. Also, his method of multiple, pungent translations of many of the poems gives a more rounded view of each than that achieved by most translators in the field. (Perhaps only 10-20 of these poems have been previously translated into English. Gill includes original Japanese and romanized texts, as well as word-for-word trots of each poem, along with his witty and usually dead-on translations.)
The ultimate worth of this book will be the striking questions it raises about the (im)possibility of bridging cultural and linguistic gaps, and the wonderful fun to be had along the way. It also forms a tutorial on the packed meanings of well-written poems in the tradition, and challenges those of us who think we write "haiku" in other languages to revise our views of that enterprise.
Rise Ye Sea Slugs is a thick and rich treatment that will take time (and you should take time) to enjoy.
As a student of haiku, I find his treatment of the Japanese language invaluable in giving context to its use in poetry. I will continue to use his work(s) as helpful and joyful references.