Dew on the Grass: The Life and Poetry of Kobayashi Issa

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This book sketches the life and poetry of Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828), a Japanese poet popularly known as one of the Three Pillars of Haiku. While Basho with his mystic asceticism and Buson with his romantic aestheticism immeasurably enriched the haiku tradition, it was Issa who, with his bold individualism and all-embracing humanism, helped to modernize the form to a degree matched by no other poet. Based on the most recent scholarship, the book attempts to identify the sources of his originality in terms of his long checkered life. It traces his growth and maturity by examining his motherless childhood, struggling youth in Edo, wanderings in western Japan, restless existence as a haiku master, return home to Kashiwabara, three brief marriages, and last years as an old poet.
 

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Contents

With an Orphaned Little Sparrow 17631791
3
A Wanderer in the Western Provinces 17911798
20
Of Sewers and Moonlight 17981807
40
Flowers of the Thorn 18071812
57
Through a Hole in the Shoji Screen 18121816
83
The World of Dew 18171820
108
Snow in the Front Yard 18201824
131
Fearful of the Time to Come 18241828
152
A Stag a Kasen Written by Issa and His Students
168
Selected Bibliography
175
Index of Issas Hokku in English
177
Index of Issas Hokku in Japanese
184
General Index
190
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About the author (2004)

Makoto Ueda, Ph.D. (1962) in Comparative Literature, University of Washington, is Professor Emeritus of Japanese at Stanford University. His many publication include Far Beyond the Field: Haiku by Japanese Women (2003) and The Path of Flowering Thorn: The Life and Poetry of Yosa Buso (1998).

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