Go to the pine if you want to learn about the pine, or to the bamboo if you want to learn about the bamboo. And in doing so, you must leave your subjective preoccupation with yourself. Otherwise you impose yourself on the object and do not learn. Your poetry issues of its own accord when you and the object have become one – when you have plunged deep enough into the object to see something like a hidden glimmering there. However well phrased your poetry may be, if your feeling is not natural—if the object and yourself are separate—then your poetry is not true poetry but merely your subjective counterfeit. ~ Bashō (translated by Nobuyuki Yuasa)
Narrow Road to Old North
In fall of 2015, each student in Gretchen Henderson’s Introduction to Creative Writing class selected a spot in Dahlgren Quad to visit on a weekly basis throughout the semester. Once in their spot, the students captured information about what they were experiencing in a weekly “Field Guide to Getting Lost” exercise, then wrote a haiku.
In the words of Professor Henderson, “Because the haiku is a terse form of verse that focuses on the present. It is a poetic form of a manageable length, which you can write at your leisure or as you run between classes. As you grow familiar with the form, you will start thinking into its three unrhymed lines (essentially: five, seven, five syllables) that create a single, memorable, sensory-based image. We are following in the footsteps of Bashō’s Narrow Road to the Deep North by making a journey that we will call ‘Narrow Road to Old North.'”
Click on a number on the map above to read some haiku from that spot, or choose a spot here:
Watch a video remix of selected haiku from among the haiku produced in Professor Henderson’s class.