The West has become familiar with Japanese haiku predominantly through the works of classical masters such as Bash , Buson, and Issa. If the leading haiku poets in modern Japan are unknown in the West, it is simply because translations of their works have not been available.
This anthology presents, in English translation, twenty haikus each from the work of twenty modern poets. The writers have been selected to exemplify the various trends that have dominated Japanese haiku in the last hundred years, but the individual haiku have been selected for literary merit; more than anything else this is intended to be a book of poetry.
In the introduction Professor Ueda traces the development of the verse form to the present. Brief biographies of the twenty poets are also provided.
Haiku, by its very nature, asks each reader to be a poet. Thus, for each haiku the poetic translation is accompanied by the original Japanese and a word-by-word translation into English, and the reader is invited to compose his own poem, to enter into that private relationship with the poem that haiku demands.