The Classic Tradition of Haiku (Faubion Bowers) pdf, epub, doc

The Classic Tradition of Haiku ePub and PDF Available
This is the second haiku anthology that I've reviewed on my site. While they're both thin volumes of traditional haiku, each has it's distinct flavor. The previous volume was organized by season. This one is organized by author. The two books share several authors (e.g. the greats Bashō, Issa, and Buson), but diverge on many of the lesser known poets.

One nice feature of this book is that it offers multiple translations of many of the haiku. Poetry is notoriously tricky to translate as literal translations can be meaningless. Multiple translations can give one a better opportunity to hone in on what the author meant to convey. This volume does give the original Japanese poem in romanized transcription (for those who enjoy the sound the author conveyed as well as meaning), but—unlike the other volume—it does not include the kanji. (This doesn't matter for me, as I don't read Japanese, but I'm sure the kanji is a nice feature for readers of Japanese.)

Some favorites are:

clouds occasionally
make a fellow relax

Matsuo Bashō

shattered into a thousand pieces
in the summer sea

Matsuo Bashō

you're the butterfly
and I the dreaming heart
of Sōshi

Matsuo Bashō

[Note: Sōshi is the Japanese name of the Taoist thinker Chuang Tze, and this references his famous statement about having dreamt he was a butterfly.]

that dream I had
of being stabbed—was true
bitten by a flea

Takarai Kikaku

oh, won't some orphaned sparrow
and play with me

Kobayashi Issa

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Book info

  • Author:
  • Publisher:Dover Publications
  • File: 7 Mb
  • Ganre: Poetry
  • Release: 02.09.1996
  • ISBN: 9780486292748
  • Pages 96
  • Rating: 4.67 (219 votes)


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