Haiku Before Haiku: From the Renga Masters to Basho

Kobo ebook | February 5, 2011

bySteven D. Carter

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While the rise of the charmingly simple, brilliantly evocative haiku is often associated with the seventeenth-century Japanese poet Matsuo Basho, the form had already flourished for three hundred years before Basho even began to write. These early poems, known as hokku , are identical to haiku in syllable count and structure but function differently as a genre. Whereas each haiku is its own constellation of image and meaning, hokku opens a a series of linked, collaborative stanzas in a sequence called renga . Under the mastery of Basho, hokku first gained its modern independence. His talents evolved the style into the haiku beloved by so many poets today& mdash;Richard Wright, Jack Kerouac, and Billy Collins being notable devotees. This anthology reproduces 300 Japanese hokku poems composed between the thirteenth and early eighteenth centuries, from the work of the courtier Nijo Yoshimoto to the genre's first "professional" master, Sogi, and his subsequent disciples. It also features twenty masterpieces by Basho himself. Steven Carter, a renowned scholar of Japanese poetry and prominent translator, includes an introduction covering the history of haiku and the form's aesthetics and classifies these poems according to style and context& mdash;distinguishing early renga from Haikai renga and renga from the Edo period, for example. His rich commentary and analysis illuminates each work, and he adds their romanized versions and notes on composition and setting, as well as brief descriptions of the poets and the times in which they wrote.

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While the rise of the charmingly simple, brilliantly evocative haiku is often associated with the seventeenth-century Japanese poet Matsuo Basho, the form had already flourished for three hundred years before Basho even began to write. These early poems, known as hokku , are identical to haiku in syllable count and structure but functi...

Steven D. Carter is Yamato Ichihashi Chair in Japanese History and Civilization at Stanford University. His numerous books include Just Living: Poems by the Medieval Monk Tonna and Unforgotten Dreams: Poems by the Zen Monk Shotetsu.

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Format:Kobo ebookPublished:February 5, 2011Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231527063

ISBN - 13:9780231527064

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
The Poems
The Nun Abutsu
Musho
Zenna
Reizei Tamesuke
Muso Soseki
Junkaku
Gusai
Nijo Yoshimoto
Shua
Soa
Asayama Bonto
Mitsuhiro
Fushiminomiya Sadafusa
Chiun
Takayama Sozei
Gyojo
Noa
Shinkei
Senjun
Sugiwara Soi
Sogi
Hino Tomiko
Emperor Go-Tsuchimikado
Ouchi Masahiro
Inko
Shohaku
Sakurai Motosuke
Socho
Inawashiro Kensai
Sanjonishi Sanetaka
Soseki
Reizei Tamekazu
Tani Soboku
Shukei
Soyo
Arakida Moritake
Shokyu
Ikkado Joa
Sanjonishi Kin'eda
Miyoshi Chokei
Satomura Joha
Satomura Shoshitsu
Oka Kosetsu
Hosokawa Yusai
Satomura Genjo
Matsudaira Ietada
Shotaku
Nishinoto'in Tokiyoshi
Matsunaga Teitoku
Wife of Mitsusada
Miura Tamenori
Nishiyama Soin
Nojun
Konishi Raizan
Matsuo Basho
Bibliography

Editorial Reviews

An erudite, beautifully translated, and accessible source on this form of Japanese poetry that deserves more attention from Anglophone readers.