f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

June 5, 2008

ed markowski strolls basho’s road

Filed under: haijin-haikai news,Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 11:32 am

Author-poet Norbert Blei discovered f/k/a‘s Honored Guest and Friend Ed Markowski at Tinywords.com in 2006, and has admired and sought out Ed’s work ever since. Yesterday, Blei helped to bring Ed Markowski to a broader group of poetry lovers — beyond regular readers of haiku — with an extended posting at his Basho’s Road website (which Blei created to focus on “the small poem and the quiet voice within”). Please see and enjoy Ed Markowski at Basho’s Road (June 4, 2008). [For more on the spirit of Japan’s master haikuist Basho, check out his classic book, and this commentary.]

Blei says this was probably the first of Ed’s poems he ever read:

dad’s grave . . .
all the flowers
he wouldn’t let mother plant

… by ed markowski – from Haiku Harvest (Fall/Winter 2005)

His reaction: “And, that’s it. Right there. He ‘nailed it‘ , so to speak. That what we’re after. That’s what Basho’s Road is all about.”

After seeing more Markowski, Blei concluded:

“He’s got it, I said to myself. The Scene. The eye to see inside. To simply lay the words on the line and let you see/feel for yourself.

In my humble estimation, my own small world of small poetry, he’s on his way to haiku master — if not already there.

. . . Basho’s Road in mind, he seemed a perfect stranger/poet to meet along the way and share with others.”

In addition to showcasing a few of Ed’s poems (you can find several hundred more here at f/k/a, by starting at his archive page), Blei let’s Ed speak. And his words are as pithy and sharp as his poetry. For instance:

. . . i don’t look for haiku moments, i think it’s more a matter of learning the craft, and placing things within that framework . . .

 . . . “i think the ‘haiku moment’ is basically a mirage perpetrated by people who like to think they see the world in some special sort of way, or that they’re tuned into some higher frequency.”

I especially enjoyed seeing online Ed’s insistence that this poem “is about raking leaves & nothing else” — despite an admiring critic who read much more into it:

fog . . .
i’ve got to begin

– from Roadrunner Haiku Journal (Feb. 2006)

When we first posted Ed’s above poem about “dad’s grave” at f/k/a, I said:

While the rest of us sleep, eat, and work, Ed Markowski does all of those, gets in a lot of gardening and ESPN, and “finds” more haiku and senryu than a dozen other haijin combined.

I continue to be amazed by the ability of Ed-da-Prolific to “find” so many quality haiku so quickly (despite his recent decision to cut back, after judging a book contest for HSA last year “burned me out completely”). He’s especially impressive on frantic, short-deadline requests from me, when I want a few poems to go with a topic here at this weblog. Although he pooh-poohed to me Blei’s notion of Ed “being on his way to haiku master,” I reminded him that “master” has so many meanings, one is sure to stick.

If “haiku master” means achieving a high degree of skill and being worthy of teaching others (directly or by example), I am going to embarrass my friend Ed Markowski by agreeing with Norbert Blei, that “he’s on his way to haiku master — if not already there.” [Of course, as I’ve mentioned before to Ed (as to other haijin friends), I hope he’ll stay away from too much fooling around with spacing and line dispersion, and from those darn tell-ems — and stick to the simple, insightful presentation and juxtaposition of sensory images, which he does so well.]

Many thanks to Norbert Blei for sharing Ed Markowski with a broad audience of poetry lovers, at his lovely website, Basho’s Road.


  1. Thanks, David, for showing the way to Basho’s Road.

    Thoroughly enjoyed Ed’s poems.

    Happy summer!

    Comment by Yu Chang — June 5, 2008 @ 12:45 pm

  2. A wonderful haiku stroll and a nice break in the work day. Thanks to Ed for the poems, David for pointing the way and Norbert for featuring Ed’s poems.

    Comment by Roberta — June 5, 2008 @ 3:31 pm

  3. You and your comments are both very, welcome, Roberta and Yu. You should use your full name, Roberta, so our other readers will know what a classy little website we have.

    Comment by David Giacalone — June 5, 2008 @ 4:11 pm

  4. I can identify with Mr. Blei, because I found Ed Markowski on tinywords (in 2005), and he’s one of the reasons I became interested in haiku. Thanks, Ed.

    I’m glad you posted this, David.

    Comment by Collin Barber — June 6, 2008 @ 12:35 am

  5. You make a good point, David! A rose by any other name…

    Comment by Roberta Beary — June 6, 2008 @ 7:32 am

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