Marie Mutsuki Mockett Interprets Bashō with Her Son

May 4, 2020

For the Paris Review, Marie Mutsuki Mockett reflects on Bashō’s haikus through the eyes of her 10-year-old son, who encounters the poet’s work for the first time in the midst of home quarantine. “All poetry requires interpretation, but it is a characteristic of Bashō’s haiku that the reader plays a role in fully constructing the poem,” Mockett writes. “It’s as though Basho has left out a step somewhere in a math equation, and you must make the mental effort to do that step for the answer to reveal itself. This kind of cooperative art feels relevant right now, in a time when we are all staying home as much for ourselves as for each other.”

is a writer and illustrator. She is the author of two illustrated books, Last Night's Reading (Penguin Books, 2015) and Sanpaku (Archaia 2018).

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