By exploring the ubiquity of Bashō's frog haiku in Brazil as the naturalization of a poetics of nature and the ideographic sign, this essay traces distinct affinities between the arts of Zen and concrete poetry, in both theory and practice. It begins by observing the spiritual significance of Zen for the haiku, especially present in the emblematic poetry and figure of Bashō, and proceeds by considering the various interrelations between haiku poetics and concrete poetry, particularly evident in transcreations of Bashō's poem by the Noigandres group of concrete poets. It concludes by positing a direct correspondence between concrete poetry and Zen, aptly represented in the work of Paulo Leminski. Along the way, the essay explores questions regarding the inscription of reality in the natural sign, the transcription (or translation) of experience in a language of words, and the poetic communication of an incommunicable beyond within.
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Marco Alexandre de Oliveira; Bashō In Brazil, or Zen and the Art of Concrete Poetry. Comparative Literature 1 September 2016; 68 (3): 332–350. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00104124-3631597
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