Haiku and Beyond: Language, Ecology, and Reconnection with the Natural World
Abstract: This article presents a detailed analysis of the representation of animals, plants and nature in Japanese haiku .In haiku, animals and plants are written back into the language, appearing for themselves as manifestations of life deserving of empathy and respect. In this way, haiku encourage ecological consciousness in tune with the local environment, in contrast to both industrial and environmental discourses in the west, which frequently portray animals as objects, tokens of species, or resources. The power of haiku, the conclusion claims, lies in its ability to transcend itself and encourage relationships with nature which are unmediated by language.
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Published in Fall 2008