Basho's Haiku: Selected Poems of Matsuo Basho

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SUNY Press, Feb 1, 2012 - Philosophy - 346 pages
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Basho's Haiku offers the most comprehensive translation yet of the poetry of Japanese writer Matsuo Basho (1644–1694), who is credited with perfecting and popularizing the haiku form of poetry. One of the most widely read Japanese writers, both within his own country and worldwide, Basho is especially beloved by those who appreciate nature and those who practice Zen Buddhism. Born into the samurai class, Basho rejected that world after the death of his master and became a wandering poet and teacher. During his travels across Japan, he became a lay Zen monk and studied history and classical poetry. His poems contained a mystical quality and expressed universal themes through simple images from the natural world.

David Landis Barnhill's brilliant book strives for literal translations of Basho's work, arranged chronologically in order to show Basho's development as a writer. Avoiding wordy and explanatory translations, Barnhill captures the brevity and vitality of the original Japanese, letting the images suggest the depth of meaning involved. Barnhill also presents an overview of haiku poetry and analyzes the significance of nature in this literary form, while suggesting the importance of Basho to contemporary American literature and environmental thought.
 

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Contents

III
1
IV
19
V
155
VI
269
VII
279
VIII
283
IX
287
X
311
XI
329
Copyright

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Page 2 - If you leave, I'll lead an honest life," Komako said, walking on again. She put her hand to her disordered hair. When she had gone five or six steps she turned to look back at him. "What's the matter? You don't have to stand there, do you?
Page 2 - The Milky Way. Shimamura too looked up, and he felt himself floating into the Milky Way. Its radiance was so near that it seemed to take him up into it. Was this the bright vastness the poet Basho saw when he wrote of the Milky Way arched over a stormy sea?

About the author (2012)

David Landis Barnhill is Director of Environmental Studies and Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh. He is the coeditor (with Roger S. Gottlieb) of Deep Ecology and World Religions: New Essays on Sacred Ground, also published by SUNY Press, and the editor of At Home on the Earth: Becoming Native to Our Place: A Multicultural Anthology.

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