Basho’s teachings about writing are as relevant and provocative now as they were when he was alive. “Poetry is a fan in winter, a fireplace in summer.” “To learn of the pine, go to the pine.” “Don’t imitate me, like the second half of a melon.” His navigation of the creative life and poverty, his restless curiosity, his losses, even his death was exemplary, really—Basho’s last spoken words take the point of view of the flies his students were trying to chase from the room. They show how supple and compassionate a poet’s sense of existence can be.
- Jane Hirschfield, from an interview with Frogpond Journal about her 2011 essay The Heart of Haiku. You can read the whole interview here.