Lips Licked Clean: Selected Haiku of Sugita Hisajo, Translated by Alice Wanderer
Alice Wanderer brings Hisajo’s haiku to life in this new selection of her work.
Transcending her gender restrictions in the haiku world, Hisajo Sugita wrote haiku of the female gaze: the mundanities of nursing a baby & doing the laundry, the eroticism of unloosened kimono sashes & moon-lit naked skin, and the melding of the spiritual & everyday while combing her hair under the Milky Way. Finally, more great Japanese women haiku poets like Hisajo will be known outside of Japan through the gift of these comprehensive selections and fine translations of Alice Wanderer. The luminosity of Hisajo’s imagery and depth of her words reverberate long after the last page is turned.
chō ōte haruyama fukaku mayoikeri
chasing a butterfly
deep into spring mountains
I lost my way
Kigo: 蝶 chō, butterfly.
shinobikite tsumu wa ta ga ko zo beni ichigo
to pick the red strawberries —
whose child could it be?
Kigo: 苺 ichigo, strawberry/strawberries.
genkan zo tsui ni ugachishi iwa fusuma
freezing cold —
he pierces the final
curtain of rock
Kigo: 嚴寒 genkan, freezing cold. This haiku refers to Zenkai, a monk, who, to atone for a murder, took 30 years of his life to chisel a tunnel through a rock in order to create a safe passage to a local shrine. The tunnel was finished in 1763.