“A Crack in Eternity? Béla Markó’s Grass Blade on the Rock,” translated from the Hungarian of Marianna Fekete

It is difficult to write good haiku. Especially a volume of it. Nonetheless, the poet Béla Markó has published three haiku collections—the latest, Grass Blade on the Rock, consists of ninety-nine poems—in addition to numerous other works of poetry and prose. In one of his personal dedications, he refers to haiku’s three lines as morsels of verse. Today, in an era of clipped writings, when newspaper editors and internet authors opt for brevity, citing readers’ limited attention spans, we might say that Markó has discovered a modern genre: that through haiku, which can be quickly written, quickly read, digested, and forgotten, he tries to reach the masses. Yet such a judgment would be hasty and faulty—and it is not the first association that people draw between haiku writing and reading.