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August 28, 2011

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I like this very much indeed!

I love this book; great post!

Please note that Hass's book attributes the "two autumns" poem to Buson incorrectly. It is actually by Shiki, but was misattributed to Buson by R. H. Blyth more than sixty years ago (in the second volume of his four-volume book titled "Haiku"), an error that was repeated by Harold Henderson and other translators. Blyth corrected himself in his later two-volume book, "A History of Haiku," attributing the poem to Shiki, also providing the anecdote that Shiki wrote the poem for Soseki. Burton Watson's translation (from Columbia University Press) correctly attributes the poem to Shiki, as does a book on Shiki from the Shiki Museum in Matsuyama. Unfortunately, many translators have perpetuated the error that Blyth seems to have started. Bob Hass has told me that he's aware of this problem and will make sure that the poem is removed (reluctantly, he told me, because it's an extraordinary poem) if the book ever goes into a new edition.

I should also point out that the “two autumns” translation in Hass's book is actually by Hass himself, not Yuki Sawa and Edith M. Shiffert.

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark
                   

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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