Shiki's Basho: malady and modernity of a poetic meeting
This is a video of a talk by Lorenzo Marinucci (Sapenzia University of Rome) for the "Haiku as World Literature: A Celebration of the 150th Birthday of Haiku Poet Masaoka Shiki", which took place on October 12 & 13, 2017 at Barristers Hall, Boston University. Recorded on October 12, 2017 by the Geddes Language Center.
As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Shiki's birth, it is fitting to remember how he himself wrote a key text of his haiku poetics, Bashō Zōdan, for the 200th of Bashō's death. The parallelism is a good coincidence to think how the image of a poet works sometimes in a personal way, as a "meeting" more than a "reading." To Shiki the Zōdan were a contrastive meeting with a poetic person, or even an ideology, named Bashō. Following them we see a peculiar mix of admiration, envy (a lot), and the ideological need to "kill the Buddha", shaping their form and content. The confrontation with Bashō also lets us see how Shiki's illness shapes both his sense of time (giving him a modern, internal subjectivity) and his struggle with space. Bashō was a man who spent the last ten years of his life traveling constantly, while Shiki passed his last five basically dying in one room: and yet both found a way to write incredible poetry out of these extreme and opposite conditions. Hence the "malady" in the title, and Shiki's projection of death and vitality on Bashō.