10 October 2007


"Similar to the weblog, the Japanese have a concept called Zuihitsu, which means something close to 'following the brush'. It is a reference to writing one's mind as thoughts come to it, perhaps best described in English as 'miscellany' or 'stream of thought' writing."

"During the Heiian period in the ninth century, a genre of poetry known as 'zuihitsu' began to form in Japan. 'Zuihitsu' (which continues as a genre today) means 'occasional writings' and consists mainly of poetry by women. Inspired by the natural world and sensuality, the genre deals especially with romance."

"Zuihitsu" is the title of a blog by Michael P. Silva -- "Random thoughts on photography and design."

... and the title of a page (from 2003) on the now defunct personal website of "Scottish oddball pop star" Momus, a.k.a. Nick Currie:
"An intellectual is someone who has found something more interesting to think about than sex."
Wikipedia says he is "fascinated by identity, Japan, the avant-garde, time travel and sex." I share four of those five fascinations. But I'm not a pop star.

"This might be a strange analogy, but I like to think of the zuihitsu as a fungus -- not plant or animal, but a species unto itself. The Japanese view it as a distinct genre, although its elements are difficult to pin down. There's no Western equivalent, though some people might wish to categorize it as a prose poem or an essay. You mentioned some of its characteristics: a kind of randomness that is not really random, but a feeling of randomness; a pointed subjectivity that we don't normally associate with the essay. The zuihitsu can also resemble other Western forms: lists, journals. I've added emails to the mix. Fake emails."
~ poet Kimiko Hahn, discussing her book, The Narrow Road to the Interior

No comments: