Three Simple Lines
A Writer’s Pilgrimage into the Heart and Homeland of Haiku
One of the world’s foremost writing teachers invites readers on a joyful journey into the reading and origins of haiku
A haiku is three simple lines. But it is also, as Allen Ginsberg put it, three lines that “make the mind leap.” A good one, he said, lets the mind experience “a small sensation of space which is nothing less than God.” As many spiritual practices seek to do, the haiku’s spare yet acute noticing of the immediate and often ordinary grounds the reader in the pure awareness of now.
Natalie Goldberg is a delightfully companionable tour guide into this world. She highlights the history of the form, dating back to the seventeenth century; shows why masters such as Basho and Issa are so revered; discovers Chiyo-ni, an important woman haiku master; and provides insight into writing and reading haiku. A fellow seeker who travels to Japan to explore the birthplace of haiku, Goldberg revels in everything she encounters, including food and family, painting and fashion, frogs and ponds. She also experiences and allows readers to share in the spontaneous and profound moments of enlightenment and awakening that haiku promises.