Haiku Sandbox: An Evening At Play with Editor and Translator Adam L. Kern

Adam L. Kern|Wednesday 10th October

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Detail from ‘Frog and Mouse’, by Dairyūsai Getsuju (late 18th – early 19th century). Hanging scroll (ink on paper). In the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Haiku Sandbox: An Evening at Play with Penguin Book of Haiku Editor and Translator Adam L. Kern

The haiku is world-famous for its brevity, instantly recognizable structure and natural imagery. Yet, as The Penguin Book of Haiku demonstrates, the verse form can also be erotic, funny, satirical, crude and mischievous. Join editor and translator Adam L. Kern for what he calls a haiku sandbox, an evening of play and discussion.

The evening will start with a brief discussion of the ‘anatomically correct’ scope, nature, and history of the Japanese haiku up until the twentieth century. You will then try your hand at translating some celebrated haiku (with English equivalents for those who do not speak Japanese) and even compose your own haiku with some rather curious prompts.

About the

Author of The Penguin Book of Haiku (London: Penguin Classics, 2018), ADAM L. KERN studied Japanese literature at Harvard University, where he earned a PhD in East Asian Languages and Civilizations before joining the faculty for nearly a decade. His experiences in Japan (apart from research affiliations with the University of Kyoto, the University of Tokyo and the National Institute of Japanese Literature) include brief stints as an editorial internship in the manga division of Kōdansha Publishers and as a staff reporter for a metropolitan Japanese newspaper (Kyoto Shimbun). Kern is Professor of Japanese Literature and Visual Culture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.



Wednesday 10 October


6.30pm – 9pm


Marx Memorial Library & Workers’ School 37a Clerkenwell Green  London  EC1R 0DU

Nearest tube





Hendrick’s Gin & Tonic, Idler Academy exercise book

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