Bagley Wright Lecture

From Haiku to Collage: A Body Based Poetic, Bagley Wright Lecture, 2016

I was honored to give a Bagley Wright lecture at Hugo House in Seattle in February of 2016.  These blog posts introduce some of the ideas that I discussed at the talk:

Butoh at the Kazuo Ohno Studio in Yokohama

Thoughts on Narrow Road from a Temescal cafe

After the lecture, Angela Terry from Haiku Northwest led a Q & A session. It is posted here.

Below is the handout with a bibliography that accompanies the lecture.


From Haiku to Collage, A Body Based Poetics

Judy Halebsky

Bagley Wright Lecture, February 28, 2016

Hugo House, Seattle


Matsuo Basho, 1644-1694

Travel Journal: Oku No Hosomichi, おくのほそ道

Narrow Road to Far Away Places or Narrow Road to the Interior


"The months and days are the travelers of eternity. The years that come and go are also voyagers. Those who float away their lives on ships or who grow old leading horses are forever journeying, and their homes are wherever their travels take them. Many of the men of old died on the road, and I too for years past have been stirred by the sight of a solitary cloud drifting with the wind to ceaseless thoughts of roaming." (translated by Donald Keene, 1996)


Basho's temporary shelter haiku:



In this world/our life passes/temporary shelter


Yo ni furu mo/sarani Sogi no /yadori kana

In this world, our life passes/ indeed, as Sogi says / temporary shelter


Sogi's poem:



Yo ni furu mo/sara ni shigure no/yadori kana


To live in this world

is as short as the period we spend

sheltering from a cold winter shower(trans. Toshiharu Oseko)


Basho's teachings as recorded by his students



Ku-zukuri ni, naru to suru to ari.

In making a poem, to become, to do, or to exist.



Mono no mie-taru hikari.

To see something in a flash of light.



Matsu no koto wa matsu ni narae, take no koto wa take ni narae

For pine trees, study pine trees, for bamboo study bamboo



Hass, Robert. The Essential Haiku : Versions of Bashō, Buson, and Issa. Hopewell, N.J.: Ecco Press, 1994. Print.

Kacian, Jim, Philip Rowland, and Allan Burns, eds. Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years. New York: Norton, 2013. Print.

"Matsuo Basho's Frog Pond (30 translations)." Bureau of Public Secrets.Web. <>.

Sato, Hiroaki. Bashō's Narrow Road : Spring & Autumn Passages : Two Works. Berkeley, Calif.: Stone Bridge Press, 1996. Print.

Oseko, Toshiharu. Basho's Haiku: Literal Translations with Grammatical Analysis and Explanatory Notes. 1 &2 Vol. Maruzen Co., Tokyo, Japan.: Oseko Toshiharu, 1990. Print.

Perloff, Marjorie. “Collage and Poetry” Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, ed. Michael Kelly. New York: Oxford U Press, 1998. Also online:

Shirane, Haruo. Traces of Dreams: Landscape, Cultural Memory, and the Poetry of Bashō. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1998. Print.

Ueda, Makoto. Basho and His Interpreters. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1992. Print.