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Basho: The Complete Haiku [Hardcover]

By Matsuo Basho, Jane Reichhold (Translator), Jane Reichhold (Introduction by), Billy Collins (Foreward By) & Shiro Tsujimura (Illustrator)
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Item description for Basho: The Complete Haiku by Matsuo Basho, Jane Reichhold, Jane Reichhold, Billy Collins & Shiro Tsujimura...

Basho stands today as Japans most renowned writer, and one of the most revered. Wherever Japanese literature, poetry or Zen are studied, his oeuvre carries weight. Every new student of haiku quickly learns that Basho was the greatest of the Old Japanese Masters.
Yet despite his stature, Bashos complete haiku have not been collected into a single volume. Until now.
To render the writers full body of work into English, Jane Reichhold, an American haiku poet and translator, dedicated over ten years of work. In Basho: The Complete Haiku, she accomplishes the feat with distinction. Dividing his creative output into seven periods of development, Reichhold frames each period with a decisive biographical sketch of the poets travels, creative influences and personal triumphs and defeats. Scrupulously annotated notes accompany each poem; and a glossary and two indexes fill out the volume.
Reichhold notes that, Basho was a genius with words. He obsessively sought out the right word for each phrase of the succinct seventeen-syllable haiku, seeking the very essence of experience and expression. With equal dedication, Reichhold sought the ideal translations. As a result, Basho: The Complete Haiku is likely to become the essential work on this brilliant poet and will stand as the most authoritative book on the subject for many years to come. Original sumi-e ink drawings by artist Shiro Tsujimura complement the haiku throughout the book.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   431
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 6" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   1.62 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 2008
Publisher   Kodansha International
ISBN  4770030630  
ISBN13  9784770030634  

Availability  0 units.

More About Matsuo Basho, Jane Reichhold, Jane Reichhold, Billy Collins & Shiro Tsujimura

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > Anthologies
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > General
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > Japanese & Haiku

Reviews - What do customers think about Basho: The Complete Haiku?

Absolutely Essential  Aug 2, 2008
Ever since I first discovered Basho, some forty-plus years ago in a seventh grade English class, I have been influenced by the seeming simplicity and power of his poetry. But a complete collection of his haiku did not exist in English and I had to make do with the various partial collections which surfaced now and again.

Now, at long last, thanks to Jane Reichhold and Kodansha International, we have all of Basho's haiku in English. Basho: The Complete Haiku is a literary tour de force which every lover of haiku, poetry, and Basho needs to have on his or her bookshelf.

The book itself is beautifully done with the artwork of Shiro Tsujimura. Subtle and subdued, the illustrations please and tantalize the eye. Offering a wonderful visual counterpoint to the poems themselves.

Reichhold, a haiku poet in her own right, has been on the English haiku scene from the beginning. Her understanding of the form is second to none and she stands amongst the best of English-language haikuists. What better tribute to a poet than for another to translate his work?

Reichhold's labor of love enriches us all. In Basho: The Complete Haiku, we learn of Basho's life, what were the possible influences upon him, and how he in turn influenced others. We gain an understanding of his literary techniques, as Reichhold presents us with an appendix of analysis. A glossary of important terms is also provided. Then, of course, there are the poems.

Basho's haiku are presented in two sections: the main section, which are the superb translations; a second which gives the Japanese, a literal rendering into English, and explanatory notes. The translations themselves are spare, clean, yet full of life. The translator has clearly been touched by the spirit of her mentor. The literal renderings and notes provide the reader an opportunity to go deeper into the poem for an even richer experience of nuanced meanings. This addition gives the book greater depth.

My heartfelt thanks goes out to Jane Reichhold for translating the work of Basho and to Kodansha International for bringing the work to the world. We non-Japanese readers can now savor the full range of haiku of one of the truly great poets and philosophers. I cannot help but think the spirit of Matsuo Basho is smiling and filled with great joy.
Essential  Jul 16, 2008
This is an essential book for anyone interested in, well, living fully. Basho is one of the world's great writers and this book is the best way to immerse yourself in his work. Doing so will make each moment longer, fuller, more connected.

Basho can help you to see,

white chrysanthanums
looking closely
no dust

(my translation)

To age,

this autumn
why am I older
a bird in clouds

(my translation)

Think of one's neighbours,

autumn deepens
so what does he do
the man next door

(Reichold's translation)


miming a fan
drinking sake in the shade
of the cherry blossoms

(my translation)

The book contains fine translations of all of Basho's haiku, among the best, all of the poems in Japanese and in transliteration with literal translations, good notes and helpful essays on Basho, haiku techniques, etc.

A must have book.
Basho for here and now  Jul 4, 2008
The poet Basho (born Matsuo Kinsaku in Iga Province, Japan, in 1644) is widely regarded as the founding father of haiku as we have come to know it. It was Basho who brought to the haikai, as much pastime as poetry, of the Japanese merchant class and samurai the high seriousness of true art. High seriousness, we must remember, is not solemnity; lightness is one of the defining qualities of Basho's best poems and a key point of his aesthetic.

Now, in "Basho: The Complete Haiku," we have for the first time a translation into English of all 1012 of Basho's haiku. Jane Reichhold, an accomplished haiku poet and the author of the highly influential "Writing and Enjoying Haiku: A Hands-On Guide," has been a Basho enthusiast since she first encountered his work, an encounter that set her on her own haiku path. If her translation is a labor of love, it is also a work of dedicated scholarship and poetic sensibility. In Reichhold, the most famous Japanese poet of all time has found his translator for our time.

In addition to the poetic translations themselves, the book includes, under the heading of "Notes," the original Japanese poems, Romanized versions, literal word-for-word translations, and commentaries that are unfailingly informative and frequently illuminating.

In the back matter, Reichhold provides a chronology of the poet's life, a bibliography of Basho in English, and an index of first lines. All of these are useful, but among the book's most valuable features are a glossary of literary terms (which may also serve for some as an introduction to the spirit of haiku) and an enumeration with examples of 33 haiku techniques employed by the master. This last lends insight into Basho's work and guidance to those who, inspired as Reichhold was by that work, may want to set out on their own haiku path.

Ultimately, of course, it's the translations that count, and here Reichhold shows the sure hand of a contemporary poet who is deeply in tune the spirit of the originals. Just a sampling:

old pond
a frog jumps into
the sound of water

autumn deepens
so what does he do
the man next door

morning dew
the muddy melon stained
with coolness

For anyone seriously interested in haiku, as reader or writer or both, "Basho: The Complete Haiku" will be required reading and rereading.

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