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Book Recommendations

The Haiku Masters of Japan drop in for a visit [by David Lehman]

Hass HaikuThanks to Bob Hass, I'm
reading the haiku masters
of Japan -- Basho,

Buson and Issa --
in one essential book: The
Essential Haiku,

published by Ecco,
with smart intro and useful
notes by Mr. Hass.

Examples follow.
(Translators do not observe
strict syllabic count).

Here is Basho as
rendered by B. Watson in
fifteen syllables:

"It's not like anything
they compare it to --
the summer moon."

And now for Buson,
trans. by Yuki Sawa and
Edith M. Shiffert:

"I go,
you stay;
two autumns."

Issa, the last of
the three, wrote the following
(trans. Robert Huey):

"Children imitating cormorants
are even more wonderful
than cormorants."

This post went up ten
years back and ended with my

New York translation
of Basho’s justly famous
haiku of the frog:


-- DL

April 13, 2021

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Best American Poetry Web ad3
click image to order your copy
"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


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

Click image to order


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