Due to Yone Noguchi’s influential piece “A Proposal to American Poets,” published in Reader Magazine in 1904, the form was exposed to a completely new and vast group of writers. In the early 1910s, haiku heavily influenced the likes of Imagist writers like Ezra Pound, D.W, and other heavyweights in the Modernist period of art and literature. While they worked more with hokku, the 5-6-4 big brother of the haiku, it helped popularize the form and make it a common term far beyond writing circles.
Across the U.S., England, and France, avant garde writers produced haiku and other work that relied on scarce, exacting language to create bold imagery. Scholars and academics such as R.H. Blyth, Kenneth Yasuda, Harold G. Henderson began publishing work that translated and dissected classical Japanese masters such as Bashō, Buson, Issa, and Shiki.
Paul-Louis Chouchoud and WWI poet Julien Vocance began publishing their work in France in the 10s, while famous American poet Amy Lowell and Spanish writer Federico García Lorca published hokku and haiku in the 20s. Central and South American writers also joined in around this time; José Juan Tablada popularized the form in Mexico as did Waldomiro Siqueira Jr. in Brazil, contributing to the growing interest worldwide.
In the post-war period of the 40s and 50s, revered Mexican poet Octavio Paz included haiku in a collection, as did Ecuadorian Jorge Carrera Andrade. This was also around the time when famous American writers Jack Kerouac and Gary Snyder produced haiku, permeating it throughout the Beat Generation’s literary communities. A 1966 English language anthology by Helen Stiles Chenowith compiled haiku from poets such as Ruth Stone, W.H. Auden, John Ashberry, and Sonia Sanchez further spread haiku awareness and experimentation.
We’ve been typing out custom haiku at parties for over six years now—but we can’t wait to learn of other ways in which the haiku format has transformed in contemporary times.
a blossom transform
into a flower’s before death
but the roots remain