Basho's poetry gives nature a sensuality like no other. The brevity of the form creates an ebb and flow: the trees, flowers, and the snow and seasons are inside you, then you in it, and back again and again. Reading him is living in a house without a roof.
Vivid new translations of Basho's popular haiku, in a selected format ideal for newcomers as well as fans long familiar with the Japanese master.
Basho, the famously bohemian traveler through seventeenth-century Japan, is a poet attuned to the natural world as well as humble human doings; "Piles of quilts/ snow on distant mountains/ I watch both," he writes. His work captures both the profound loneliness of one observing mind and the broad-ranging joy he finds in our connections to the larger community. David Young, acclaimed translator and Knopf poet, writes in his introduction to this selection, "This poet's consciousness affiliates itself with crickets, islands, monkeys, snowfalls, moonscapes, flowers, trees, and ceremonies...Waking and sleeping, alone and in company, he moves through the world, delighting in its details." Young's translations are bright, alert, musically perfect, and rich in tenderness toward their maker.
About the Author
David Young has written eleven previous books of poetry, including, most recently, Black Lab and Field of Light and Shadow: Selected and New Poems. He is a well-known translator of the Chinese poets as well as the poems of Petrarch and Eugenio Montale. A past winner of the Guggeheim and NEA Fellowships as well as a Pushcart Prize, Young is the Longman Professor Emeritus of English and Creative Writing at Oberlin College and the editor of the Field Poetry Series at Oberlin College Press.