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1. Basho: The Complete Haiku
2. The Narrow Road to the Deep North
3. The Narrow Road to Oku (Illustrated
4. Basho's Journey: The Literary
5. Basho and the Fox
6. On Love and Barley: Haiku of Basho
7. Narrow Road to the Interior (Shambhala
8. Narrow Road to the Interior: And
9. Basho's Haiku: Selected Poems
10. The Sound of Water: Haiku by Basho,
11. Matsuo Basho
12. The Essential Haiku: Versions
13. Basho's Narrow Road: Spring and
14. Journeys of Simplicity: Traveling
15. A Haiku Journey: Bashos Narrow
16. Back Roads to Far Towns: Basho's
17. A Zen Wave: Basho's Haiku and
18. Basho and the River Stones
19. Grass Sandals: The Travels of
20. Basho And The Dao: The Zhuangzi

1. Basho: The Complete Haiku
by Matsuo Basho
Hardcover: 432 Pages (2008-07-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$15.41
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 4770030630
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
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.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the most beautiful books I own.
And that's going some.

It's physically beautiful, yes.The jacket is sumptuous as is the binding; the art, the type and even the paper are feasts for the eyes; the paper is a pleasure to handle.

But it's more than that.It is the most thorough treatment of Basho's work - and maybe of the haiku form itself - accessible to the casual reader.Maybe the casual reader, or the merely curious, might want to start with something else, actually; shorter and less expensive treatments abound.(Sam Hamill's translations, for example, are excellent.)Not that heavy sledding for novices is a detriment.The buyer should, however, be aware.

But if you have been exposed to haiku, and feel its pull, this book does much to help you understand why.The translations are spare and intriguing, the author's apparent effort to reach for Basho's intent.This is an inevitable part of what the translator does; a translator of poetry is, unavoidably,*writing* poetry, and must be a poet.Jane Reichhold is.She is struck by Basho's consistent choice of words with the widest range of dictionary meanings, a good indicator that she knows what she is reaching for.She also provides an excellent introduction; biographical sketches of each phase of Basho's life, into which the poems, in chronological order, are grouped; the literal rendering of the original Japanese, plus historical and explanatory notes for each and every poem; an index of first lines for quick reference; and a full exposition of Basho's poetic techniques.

If the name Basho means anything of significance to you, get this book.If you aren't truly ready for it yet, you will be, soon enough.

2-0 out of 5 stars Basho:the Complete Haiku
Not sure how she translated this Haiku by Basho, but I cannot find "In a world of one color the sound of wind."Do not know what she did with it or if she just left it out, which means this is not the complete works.

5-0 out of 5 stars Labor of love
Sure, this is another book. It is also a haiku temple. Basho didn't just write haiku; he lived haiku. To some extent Jane Reichhold apparently does, too. Here she collects original texts and variants and contributes literal and poetic translations, commentaries on all the verses, and essays that place the haiku in biographical and historical context.

Reichhold's poetic translations comprise the creative core of the book. They strike me as sharp, unsentimental, full of experiencing. In haiku, of course, every space between every character counts. Knowledgable Amazon reviewer Zack Davisson wishes the translator had left more such spaces for readers to fill in themselves. I find many of Reichhold's translations illustrate Davisson's aesthetic preferences perfectly. She seems quite at home with poetic silences and spaces. In her introductions and commentaries, meanwhile, she shares both a practitioner's how-to knowledge and a scholar's grasp of detail.

The publisher has wisely allowed Basho's verses to float in their own spaciously designed pages. Inevitably, this privileges the creative aspect of the translations over the scholarly apparatus, which becomes less convenient though no less rewarding to peruse. That minor inconvenience gives the translated verses time to unpack themselves a bit in readers' minds before the direct experience of the haiku is supplanted by a more ordinary sort of reading. It's another kind of space in a volume whose beauty of design and manufacture is unusual in a mass-market book.

5-0 out of 5 stars basho's works altogether
i have been reading basho for some time now and have been looking for a complete collection.this is the first to come out and it is an exellent translation and the anotations bring new insight to my understanding of basho's life and work.i recommend it to anyone interested in basho or haiku

5-0 out of 5 stars A Treasure For Those Who Love Haiku
This book is complete collection of all of Basho's haiku. Although he lived more than 300 years ago, he is still considered on of the finest Japanese writers ever to have lived. His work has influenced other writers, in other countries, for hundreds of years.

You do not have to be an expert in either haiku, or Japanese literature, to appreciate this book. There is so much information in the introduction, and index, that you will quickly learn to appreciate all the nuances of this form. The poems themselves are written on beautiful paper, in a beautiful format, with beautiful illustrations.

It is a perfect gift for yourself, or a friend, to have in your library collection.
... Read more

2. The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches (Penguin Classics)
by MatsuoBasho
Paperback: 176 Pages (1967-02-28)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$6.48
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140441859
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
In his perfectly crafted haiku poems, Basho described the natural world with great simplicity and delicacy of feeling. When he composed "The Narrow Road to the Deep North" he was a serious student of Zen Buddhism setting off on a series of travels designed to strip away the trappings of the material world and bring spiritual enlightenment. He wrote of the seasons changing, of the smell of the rain, the brightness of the moon and the beauty of the waterfall, through which he sensed the mysteries of the universe. These travel writings not only chronicle Basho's perilous journeys through Japan, but they also capture his vision of eternity in the transient world around him. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

3-0 out of 5 stars An Ephemeral Pleasure

This was my introduction to the world of Japanese literature, and I'm told it's one of the classics. For me, it made for enjoyable, light reading -- but it was ultimately unmemorable. In the introduction of this book, Nobuyuki Yuasa admits to finding the task of translation a "fearsome" one, which was is an endearing revelation, but it also indicates the stilted pages that follow.

The premise of this book is definitely interesting, especially when seen in the context of 17th century Japan. At age 50 or so, Basho decides to shed all his provisions and embark on a journey North (symbolic for The Unknown), indefinitely, for better or worse. Basho tells his story by alternating between prose and haiku. If Basho considers an observation worthy, it seems, he crystallised it in haiku. Basho's work here reads somewhat like a diary, with its confessional style (though the authenticity of what actually happened on the travels has been questioned, as one of Basho's servants apparently scribed his own version of events).

Basho's reverence for nature is a real joy to experience. We are treated to some truly beautiful, romantic haiku: "To the moon in the sky, If you put a handle, Certainly it would make, An excellent fan" is one of many. As Basho braves the elements, he sensitively observes those who have less than he; desperate concubines, abandoned children, animals. Ofcourse, without the luxury of modern technology, he has some rough nights in miserable houses, which inspires some amusingly sordid haiku: "Bitten by fleas and lice, I slept in a bed, A horse urinating all the time, Close to my Pillow".

Ultimately, though, the verse seemed oversimplified, to the point of being cutesy at times rather than profound. The fineries of language will inevitably be lost in translation, but without knowing a lick of Japanese, I can't say how the translator could have improved on what we have here.

I enjoyed reading this book, but I'm in no hurry to recommend it to another, and frankly I failed to discover why this is considered a classic of Japanese literature.

4-0 out of 5 stars Anything on Basho is great.
Anything on Basho is great. Even tought i can't agree with the author's choice of using a four line verse translation for the haiku. i think it gives a different rythm not intended. once you've read any three verse translation you'll know what i mean.

5-0 out of 5 stars Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home...
As an English teacher in Japan on and off for the past 20 years, I am always asked, on meeting new students, why I came to Japan. The answer, for me, is simple: this book. You see, as a college senior, I found myself drifting in no direction, with no roots or life plan. A slacker? Perhaps. But as I studied for my last final exam, I stood to ward off sleep, stretched, and wandered aimlessly through the library stacks until I found myself immersed, by chance mind you, in the Japanese poetry section. I took out the first volume I saw, Basho's classic Narrow Road to the Deep North: I was hooked from the first line.

Is this story important?

I think so. For, in all honesty, this "little book" changed my life - it really is THAT good!

Although this 17th century text is obstensibly a travel diary of prose poems and haiku gathered from Basho's peripatetic wanderings through nothern Tokugawa Era Japan, the "narrow road to the deep north" is merely a metaphor for our own, personal inward journey...and it was, for me, an epiphany. My dream, from that moment on was to move to Japan, study kanji, and ultimately read Narrow Road's original text. (Having accomplished my goal, I must admit I find this translation to be inferior to, say, The Narrow Road to Oku, translated by Donald Keene.)

Still, this penguin version (with a new cover, no less) remains a sentimental favorite, if for nothing else, its wonderfully clear, no nonesense approach to Basho.

Thus, I strongly recommend it for its psychological depth (belied by a disarming stark surface simplicity). I think that even readers with ZERO knowledge of Japan, haiku, or Buddhism (like me, years back) will find that Basho's profound and spare use of words strike - like a temple bell at dusk - at something deep inside, something universal.

Buy it today!

4-0 out of 5 stars Surprised...
This is a wonderful collection of travel sketches and poetry.Albeit, I was slightly disappointed in the translation and format.One who is used to the traditional 3 line haiku may have to relax their preconception of how a haiku should look.The other elements are there, except in an entry made by Basho himself whereas he noted that he'd neglected including a "season word."One would read this to relive the writer's journeys- the poetry, while closely associated with Basho, should be accepted as inspirations of the journey and not the reason for reading the collection.

3-0 out of 5 stars Seminal work marred by questionable translation
"Narrow Road to the Deep North" is one of the classics of Japanese literature, and a seminal work by Matsuo Basho, possibly Japan's greatest poet. A wandering spirit, he traveled across his home nation during a time when travel was dangerous, arduous, and almost impossible to the average citizen. Not only did he perfect his medium, the haiku, during his travels, but he also introduced the rare sights of Japan to his audience, painting a canvas of imagery that few would ever be able to see with their own eyes.

Unfortunately,this classic work is not fully realized in this translation.The translator, Nobuyuki Yuasa, is himself not a native speaker of English.Poetic translation is difficult under any circumstances, and when translating into a non-native language the task is made even more difficult.Yuasa makes use of fairly grandiose English words where Basho used simple language, and he attempts to fill in perceived gaps of foreign understanding with additional lines not included in the original. (Example: Basho's most famous poem includes the stanza "Mizu no oto" literally "The Sound of Water." Yuasa has given this as "A Deep Resonance" ) Yuasa also made use of a 4-stanza method of translating the haiku, which he defends in the introduction, but does not transfer the original intent of the form.

Unfortunately, the original Japanese versions of the haiku are not included, so a capable reader is not even able to attempt their own understanding.

Included in this single volume are several of Basho's travelogues, including "The Records of a Weather-Exposed Skeleton," "A Visit to Kashima Shrine," "The Records of a Travel-Worn Satchel" and "A Visit to Sarasina Village." The works are heavily end-noted, to clarify culture terms and names of note.Unfortunately, this is another flaw in the volume, as the end-notes are often short, and checking them interrupts the flow of the tale.Foot-notes would have been a better choice.

For a more capable translation of Basho's poetry, see Makoto Ueda's biography "Matsuo Basho."Hopefully in the future a better translation of all of these wonderful and important travelogues will be issued. ... Read more

3. The Narrow Road to Oku (Illustrated Japanese Classics)
by Matsuo Basho
Paperback: 188 Pages (1997-04-15)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$14.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 4770020287
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
In the account which he named The Narrow Road to Oku, Basho makes a journey lasting 150 days, in which he travels, on foot, a distance of 600 ri.

This was three hundred years ago, when the average distance covered by travelers was apparently 9 ri per day, so it is clear that Basho, who was forty years old at the time, possessed a remarkably sturdy pair of walking legs. Nowadays with the development of all sorts of means of transportation, travel is guaranteed to be pleasant and convenient in every respect, so it's almost impossible for us to imagine the kind of journey Basho undertook, "drifting with the clouds and streams," and "lodging under trees and on bare rocks."

During my countless re-readings of The Narrow Road to Oku, I would bear that in mind, and the short text, which takes up less than 50 pages even in the pocket-book edition, would strike me as much longer than that, and I would feel truly awed by Basho's 2,450-kilometer journey.

I chose The Narrow Road to Oku as the theme of the exhibition marking the thirtieth anniversary of my career as an artist. As somebody who has been illustrating works from Japanese literature for many years, the subject naturally attracted and interested me. But once I'd embarked on the project, it wasn't long before I realized I'd chosen a more difficult and delicate task than I ever imagined, and I wanted to reprove myself for my naivete.

Last year, to mark the centenary of Tanizaki Jun'ichiro's birth, I produced a set of 54 pictures for his translation of The Tale of Genji. This was a formidable undertaking, as I had to grapple with the achievement of a literary genius whom I had personally known. But if producing a single picture to represent each chapter in The Tale of Genji was a matter of selecting a particular "face," or "plane" to represent the whole, producing a picture to represent each haiku in The Narrow Road to Oku was without a doubt a matter of having to select one tiny "point"-a mere "dot." One misjudgment in my reading, and the picture would lose touch with the spirit of Basho's work, and end up simply as an illustration that happened to be accompanied by a haiku. I had to meticulously consider every word in those brief 17-syllable poems. Then, if I was fortunate, from the vast gaps and the densely packed phrases a numinous power would gather and inspire me: at times I felt as if I was experiencing what ancient people called the "kotadama," the miraculous power residing in words.

A self-styled "beggar of winds and madness," Basho originated and refined a unique genre of fictional travel literature, which used poetry that enabled one to render, empty-handedly, all of creation. But Basho also left us the following poem:

Journeying is the flower of elegance
Elegance, the spirit of travelers long gone:
The places seen and recorded
by Saigyo and Sogi -
All those are the heart of haikai.

I believe that I could ask for no greater favor from my painter's brush than that I too be able to glean the merest fragment of what the saint of haiku Basho saw, and be able to reproduce it in my work.

Miyata Masayuki ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Japanartese
The book was very much to my liking and provided haiku and excellent illustrations of places we recently visited in Japan. If you are looking for a story or novel then this book is not for you,but for Japanese poems and illustrations it is just right.

5-0 out of 5 stars A True Work of Art
While a translation can always be disputed, it is the illustrations that make this book worth the having.The incredible images are supposedly cut from paper and layered into a collage, yet some could pass for silk screen prints with their intricate detail.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply beautiful
"The Narrow Road to Oku" is about as close to perfection as one can get.First you have Matsuo Basho, Japan's greatest poet, chronicling his hundred and fifty day journey into Oku to visit the grave of his mother, who had died the previous year. Translating this masterpiece is Donald Keene, possibly the greatest modern interpreter and translator of the Japanese mind.If this wasn't enough, Miyata Masayuki has taken Basho's poetry and created stunning works of Kiri-e, torn paper art, that provides a visual to match the written imagery.

"The Narrow Road to Oku" was the last of Basho's five travelogues, and he finally attained the essential balance between observation and inspiration, between prose and poetry.Along the narrow road he and his traveling companion, student Kawai Sora, experienced the highs and lows of ancient Japan.The Tokugawa Shrine at Nikko, the famed Bridge of Heaven at Matsushima and the ancient Ise Shrine were all stops on this fantastic voyage.As well as these wonders, he encountered poor prostitutes and fishermen, giving them equal time to his poetic genius.

Miyata Masayuki, as he has with other books in this series such as "The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter" and "Love Songs from the Man'Yoshu," has created delightful and whimsical artwork that enhances rather than distracts from Basho's musings.There is a hint of Ukiyo-e in his style, but not enough to consider it redundant.The art is fresh and lively. sometimes powerful and bittersweet.

The original Japanese text is preserved alongside Keene's translation, which I think is essential of a work of this type."The Narrow Road to Oku" is 100% authentic, and 100% beautiful.Definitely a treasure in my library.

4-0 out of 5 stars "The Narrow Road To Oku"
This book is a must have for any fan of Kiri-E, or Masayuki Miyata.His illustrations are beautiful...it is easy to see why he has become one of Japans modern masters of this traditional artform.Great Stuff!

5-0 out of 5 stars ...lovely...
If anyone adores the simple beauty and truth of haiku, this is the text to own.Not only are the Japanese characters printed alongside the inquisitive English translations, but the accompanying collages arebreathtaking interpretations of the works.The entire book is a work ofart. ... Read more

4. Basho's Journey: The Literary Prose Of Matsuo Basho
Paperback: 212 Pages (2005-04-21)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$20.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0791464148
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Stories behind the Haiku of Basho
This is a wonderful work on 17th century Japan as experienced by Basho one of the countries greatest poets. More than the poetry they encompass, the journals allow one to travel on the roads which the poetry represents. It is easy to pick up and to put down again as one creates ones own poems on any day of any season.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Journey with Basho
This is one of the latest books out on the travel journals of Matsuo Basho and this lovely book contains all five journals.The translator David Landis Barnhill has arranged the journals in chronological order to show how Basho's writing developed over the years.The journals included are 'Journey of Bleached Bones in a Field' [Nozarashi Kiko], 'Kashima Journal' [Kashima Kiko], 'Knapsack Notebook' [Oi No Kobumi], 'Sarashina Journal' [Sarashima Kiko], and 'The Narrow Road to the Deep North' [Oku No Hosomichi]. Basho's 'Saga Diary' [Saga Nikki] is also included along with a massive 80 of Basho's haibun (short poetic prose pieces that include haiku) and over 320 of Basho's haiku are scattered throughout the book, which also includes maps of each of the five journeys and extensive notes and a glossary. ... Read more

5. Basho and the Fox
by Tim Myers
Paperback: 32 Pages (2004-10)
list price: US$5.95 -- used & new: US$12.24
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0761451900
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

Basho And The Fox is a Marshall Cavendish publication.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars To please a sly and tricky fox....
Three years in Japan
Tim Myers became poet,
fine storyteller.

Came home to Calif
Wrote books about Basho-san
Oki Han painted

Basho and the Fox--
Both wanted the bright cherries
Who will get them--ha!

Basho best poet--Task:
show up fox with good haiku
make his red fur curl

Basho must struggle--
No leftover haiku whisper
in ear by young fox

"With the scent of plums
on the mountain road--suddenly
sunrise comes!"
(Note: translation does not always scan)

Fox speaks with pity
Not a good haiku, old man
Try, try again
(If his doesn't have to scan, neither does mine)

"An old pond.
A frog jumps in.
The sound of water."
(The most famous haiku in the world! The pause after the haiku is pregnant with anticipation.)

Third time is a charm
Haiku thrills fox to shivers
Secret? Fox is in't!

"Summer moon over
mountains is white as the tip
of a fox's tail."
(which, I might add, looks just like Mt. Fuji)

Parents, if you like adding a multicultural element to your child's reading, please get this delightful book about Japan's most famous writer of haikus and his own travels. Teachers, this is a must to add to your class library, and librarians, of course, you must have this, too!

Bright red orbs of taste
Sweet red rolling over tongue--
Share this treat with friends!

5-0 out of 5 stars Life Lessons
I just came home from the post office where I mailed this book (after reading it - of course) to myalmost 1 year old Japanese-American granddaughter.I know she'll like it (illustrations are fantastic) and her brothers 7 and 9 and Momma (Japanese) and Papa (American) will like it too.I had jotted down the information regarding the book and "googled" it when I got home and was happy to see I wasn't alone in my enthusiasm about this book.

This is a book for all ages (even grandmas) and all cultures and I'm going to buy a copy for myself.

5-0 out of 5 stars Basho and the Fox
Basho and the fox by Tim Myers is about a long time ago when a great named Basho lived in Fukazawa, Japan. He ate food, slept and wrote his poems. One day when he went to eat from a cherry tree he saw a fox climb down from it. The fox said to Basho that he must be the great poet. The fox said "The best human poems were whispered to people in their sleep by foxes." Basho never knew that foxes were very good poets. Basho said "wait!" and told him he was the great poet. The fox said if Basho writes a good haiku for the foxes by next full moon the foxes will let him have the cherry tree. Basho thought and thought and searched and searched to find a good haiku but he can't find a one that he liked. Then, he found one that he thought was good. By the time he saw a full moon in the sky he went to read his poem to the fox. Basho read, "With scent of plums on the mountain road suddenly sunrise comes." But the fox didn't like it. The fox told Basho meet me by next full moon, will you?" So Basho looked and looked for another haiku. When full moon came again he went and read it to the fox, "an old pond, a frog jumps in the sound of the water." The fox said, "Kids can do better than that." By the next full moon Basho couldn't come up with a haiku. So he did one in his head. He told it to the fox, "Summer moons over mountains are white as the tip of a fox's tail." The fox loved it very much. The fox said, "Now you can have the tree." Why did you like this one?" Basho asked. "It has a fox in it," the fox replied. So Basho got to have the cherry tree.

The theme of the book Basho and the fox is never to give up and always try your best. The time the fox didn't like his haiku he didn't give up. After that he still tried his best to write a great haiku for the fox. He tried very very hard to find a poem for the fox. He even stayed up all night. Finally at the end he was successful because he never gave up.

I think this book is a great book because is shows people never to give up.The lesson I learned from this book is never to give up and try your best ever if you are taking a test or if you are at P.E.. Always try your best.

By Semere

5-0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Book
I bought this book yesterday for my two daughters, both toddlers, and I'm absolutely in love with it. The storytelling and descriptions are minimalist, as is appropriate for a book about a haiku poet.Han's beautiful illustrations compliment the story well.But first and foremost, I loved the characterization of the kitsune. It comes across as quite a haughty creature in the beginning, telling Basho that the kitsune are far better poets than humans could ever be. But in the end, when Basho finally comes up with a poem that the kitsune enjoys, the reader finds out just how hilariously self- absorbed the kitsune can be. There are small references to the kitsune's family, which I appreciated, since kitsune in Japanese folklore are always concerned, first and foremost, with their families. Another thing I love about this book is that there isn't too much text on each page. As a mother of toddlers, I often find it difficult to keep their interest when a book has too many words on a page; they like to keep the pages turning quickly. I think this will be a wonderful introduction to haiku for them, as well as an interesting glimpse into the mysterious world of the kitsune. Next on my list to buy is Myers' _Tanuki's Gift_.

5-0 out of 5 stars My four-year-old son loves this book!
What a beautifully illustrated, powerfully written book!I was so surprised that my wildly energetic little boy (who does love books) wanted to read this book again and again.I love how the author teaches some Japanese words and how the pictures capture the essence of Japanese life in a simpler era.And I'm always thrilled when a children's book incorporates authentic, adult-level literature (the three haiku used would delight readers of any age.)The best picture is that of Basho's house and the cherry tree and the forest and the river from a bird's eye view, like a map, or rather, like all maps should be! ... Read more

6. On Love and Barley: Haiku of Basho (Penguin Classics)
by Matsuo Basho
Paperback: 96 Pages (1986-01-07)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$4.82
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140444599
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Basho, one of the greatest of Japanese poets and the master of haiku, was also a Buddhist monk and a life-long traveller. His poems combine 'karumi', or lightness of touch, with the Zen ideal of oneness with creation. Each poem evokes the natural world - the cherry blossom, the leaping frog, the summer moon or the winter snow - suggesting the smallness of human life in comparison to the vastness and drama of nature. Basho himself enjoyed solitude and a life free from possessions, and his haiku are the work of an observant eye and a meditative mind, uncluttered by materialism and alive to the beauty of the world around him. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars A fair guide to the master of Haiku, Basho.
This collection of translations has much to be desired when compared to other haiku books.Nevertheless, there is some value for those who are not familiar with the Japanese haiku form.This book provides a brief history of Basho and his development of this form of poetry.As a lover of haiku, I still found this book fun to read, even though there are flaws in some of the translations.In conclusion, this book is for anyone interested in learning something about Basho and haiku.Rating: 3 stars.Joseph J. Truncale (Author: Season of the Warrior: a poetic tribute to warriors, Walking with warriors, PR-24 Baton Advanced Techniques)

4-0 out of 5 stars Well, I enjoyed it.
It is apparently very difficult to find a good translation of Basho. I am delighted that I did not know this when I was younger, and fell in love with Basho and his haiku as part of my discovery of poetry. I am a little bit sorry now that I have discovered it when older since I have to worry about whether what I am reading is *really* Basho or whether it is just Lucian Stryk making misuse of the patina of Basho's reputation.

Whatever. I consciously chose this translation because I tend to like Stryk as a poet. I guess that as a reader I prefer the less technically accurate translation from a poet than I do a more perfect version that is lacking in music. Since it is impossible to really translate poetry in perfect mirror image, I would rather the kinds of mistakes that other poets make. This is not to say that there is not some value in truth, but more to say that since I am not in a position to judge the truth and since there seems to be no universal consensus, I decided to just enjoy this book as written. It has at least reminded me what I have loved about Basho for these many years. It has also reminded me to renew my acquaintance with Stryk.

Be aware that there is some debate about the translation, but also be aware that there is music in this work that nothing can kill. Lovely little things.


Year by year,
the monkey's mask
reveals the monkey.

5-0 out of 5 stars A remarkable work of translation
The best translations of Basho's work.....Beautiful. A great poet and someone who seems to understand Basho.

3-0 out of 5 stars All things great in small.
At a time when Milton and Dryden were producing their prolix epics, the Japanese Zen monk Basho was paring poetic language down to its very essence, managing to pack as much philosophy and metaphysics, narrative, evocation of place and custom, human behaviour and emotion in 17 syllable haikus as the Englishmen did in endless cantos.Unfortunately, the non-Japanese reader will never be able to appreciate Basho - his poetic art is such an inseparable union of form and content, that an inability to translate the former means an inability to understand the latter; while any attempt to replicate the 17-syllable structure in a completely alien language and mindset would be grotesque.

So, from the start, Lucien Stryk's admirable attempt to evoke the spirit of Basho is doomed.The reader can do other things with his translations, however.The compression of the haiku actually gives the reader a lot of freedom to construct narratives, moods and feelings from the barest hints: of the peasant monk Basho travelling throughout Japan, visiting temples; eating; meeting friends and passers-by; passing mountains, trees, seas, rivers, waterfalls, gardens; sleeping in fields or on the side of the road; looking at the moon or a butterfly; sights transformed by sounds or smells.

It probably helps if you know something about Japan and Buddhism to appreciate the allusions packed in the poetry, and Stryk's introduction (which also briefly posits Basho's aims and technique, and his position in the tradition of the genre) and notes are of some help.The movement of the poems are remarkably fluid and expansive within such narrow limits, with their hierarchies of nature, fusion of the senses and questioning of reality all cohering to create the oneness with nature that was Basho's ideal.

The overwhelming mood is one of serenity, of passive marvelling at the riches of nature, of plays of light or wind, of unexpected, tiny, revelatory details; but there is also an acknowledgement of human folly, poverty, war ('Summer grasses, all that remains of soldiers' dreams'), decay and death - Basho's deathbed poem is truly desolating.

To be honest, I was much more engaged by the sketches by Taige that accompany the text, effortlessly combining the representation of nature with abstract thought that Basho strove for in his poetry (although other reasons for my dissatisfaction seem to be more precisly located in the reader Ty Hadman's very valuable comment below).

5-0 out of 5 stars Basho Book on Table
Basho book on table-

Cezanne fruit bowl too

It's time to party ... Read more

7. Narrow Road to the Interior (Shambhala Centaur Editions)
by Matsuo Basho
Paperback: 136 Pages (2006-11-14)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$11.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0877736448
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Basho is best known in the West as the author of Narrow Road to the Interior, a travel diary of linked prose and haiku that recounts his journey through the far northern provinces of Japan. This volume includes beautiful Japanese-style illustrations by Stephen Addiss. ... Read more

8. Narrow Road to the Interior: And Other Writings (Shambhala Classics)
by Matsuo Basho
Paperback: 224 Pages (2000-09-26)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$7.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1570627169
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Here is the most complete single-volume collection of the writings of one of the great luminaries of Asian literature. Basho (1644–1694)—who elevated the haiku to an art form of utter simplicity and intense spiritual beauty—is best known in the West as the author ofNarrow Road to the Interior, a travel diary of linked prose and haiku that recounts his journey through the far northern provinces of Japan. This volume includes a masterful translation of this celebrated work along with three other less well-known but important works by Basho:Travelogue of Weather-Beaten Bones, The Knapsack Notebook, andSarashina Travelogue. There is also a selection of over two hundred fifty of Basho's finest haiku. In addition, the translator has provided an introduction detailing Basho's life and work and an essay on the art of haiku. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great poetry, flimsy book
I thought the poetry in this book was great, concise, and well organized.Unfortunately the paperback book is quite flimsy, and after the first time you open the cover, the cover will curve and warp quite severely, and will stay that way.Visiting a bookstore, I noted the same effect on both of the copies on the shelf.A great book, but poorly bound.I would have paid an extra dollar or two to have this excellent book bound properly.

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome book for backpacking
I think all backpackers and serious travelers can seriously appreciate this book. This guy went through the same thing we all go through, but he did it way before us and explains it much more elegantly than we can. This is a must read no matter where in the world you travel. It's all about Japan, but as i was passing through South America, I could easily relate it to Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay etc... If you bring no other book, you should carry this one along.

4-0 out of 5 stars A trip to the past
I am not a scholar or a critic, I am just a person who really enjoys haiku and as such am familiar with Basho's poetry.I bought this book because it was cited in so many other books that I have read that I just had to read it for myself.I am very glad I did.

A good portion, but not all, of the haiku contained in this book you have read countless times before, though they are translated slightly differently here.To me the real value of this book is that the poems are put in context of Basho's larger world by the prose that surrounds them.Basho's haibun tells of his various journeys around Japan, the people he meets, the sites he sees and how this all affects him.

I love history as much as haiku, and this book is a real window on the past through the eyes of a man who could relate his world in a way that is both clear and yet filled with beautiful imagery, so that 17th century Japan comes alive for you.

If you like haiku and are interested in what goes into a great poet's creative process, I feel you will enjoy this book, I know I did.

4-0 out of 5 stars *TheGreatMatsuoBashoLeadsUsINWARD*

Matsuo Basho's "Narrow Road to the Interior" is translated by Sam Hamill, an accomplished poet who also translated the haiku of ISSA in "The Spring of my Life"(isbn # 1570621446)As B. Watson, professorat Columbia University has said, "Hamill achieves a kind of luminosity of language that I find unparalleled in other translations of the work."

Basho lived from 1644-1694 and achieved acclaim as the greatest writer of haiku and.this book of his last travels is a classic in Asian literature. His stature must have made the task of translating more difficult, even intimidating.The title is of course a metaphor for traversing life to find one's spiritual center or soul.

Amateur western writers who become enamored of writing haiku soon realize there are depths to which their studies may never take them. The sounds, the Zen way of thinking --bring much more to the equation than mere playfulness (as in senryu), or a built-in sense of syllables, and fondness for epigrams.

Basho set off on his long journey & early in his travels was loaned a horse because "it is easy to get lost."The horse carried the poet, then stopped, and returned home without the rider but carrying Basho's gift tied to the saddle.The route of Basho's travels is printed inside the covers -- he describes "pines shaped by salty winds, trained into sea-wind bonsai." In other centuries men walked hundreds of miles, giving & receiving haiku as gifts - many about history, and some memorials.His lodgings were often noted, probably because they were more often miserable than not. His writings often included geographical 'markers' -- these speak of much more than PLACE to Japanese readers.One who had been a companion on the road wrote:
"All night long
listening to the autumn winds
wandering in the mountain"
Basho himself wrote for another companion as he turned back:
"Written on my summer fan
torn in half
in autumn"
And so he gave his thanks to those who shared his journeys and the quest for answers each of us asks on our own "narrow road."

3-0 out of 5 stars nice of Hamill to try
There is only one other book where you can find these four of Basho's "travel diaries" in one volume and that is Nobuyuki Yuasa's. This compilation also includes a generous selection of Basho's hokku. These are the book's pluses. Unfortunately though, Hamill is much too intent on presenting you with Basho as a sort of haiku-zen master, an identity that Basho himself created as a voice through which to narrate. Mr Hamill would have us believe that Basho wrote poetry for the sake of zen, but the truth is that Basho studied zen for the sake of poetry. Also, Hamill's insistence upon translating in the 5-7-5 form ruins quite a few poems: you get sort of overexplanatory, prosaic verses much of the time. It is almost as if he were translating the explanations you will find in Japanese collections of Basho's verse. For example:

Hamill translates "fuyu no hi ya bajou ni kooru kageboushi" as

Crossing long fields,
frozen in its saddle,
my shadow creeps by

though it should probably (more accurately) be rendered:

winter sun...
on horse's back
a frozen shadow

Hamill dropped the phrase "fuyu no hi ya" entirely and replaced it with "Crossing long fields." I don't know why Hamill rids Basho of suggestion and nuance. Maybe he doesn't think the western reader can find poetry in hokku/haiku as they truly are.

The verse quoted by another reviewer

Your song caresses
the depths of loneliness,
high mountain bird.

might as well not be considered a translation at all. There is almost nothing of the original poem remaining except for the notion of loneliness and the kankodori, which is translated as "high mountain bird." "uki ware o sabishi-garase yo kankodori" would be translated literally as

make this sorrowful self feel lonely, cuckoo!

sabishi-garase is the imperative form of the verb that means "to cause to feel lonely." As a translator one of the worst things you can do is to try to improve upon a poem, though, personally, I don't think Hamill's versions actually do. If you don't trust the poet you're translating, then why are you doing it at all?

At the moment I am in the middle of translating Basho's "Oi no Kobumi" ("Backpack Notes") into English, and when I get stuck on an obscure phrase it helps to consult other translations to see how that translator interpreted it, but oftentimes Hamill (Yuasa is guilty of this too) just glosses over a phrase, which in the end robs the text of any of the interesting quirks in Basho's prose. I wonder if Hamill hit the same tough spots as I and just decided to gloss rather than really try to understand it.

I do not mean to be overly critical of Hamill. It is obvious that he is a good writer and some of his translations are successful but I wonder how much he really considered his renderings. In the end we are reading Hamill, not Basho.

Unfortunately, there are not many alternative translations of Basho's other haibun, but there are plenty of his "Oku no Hosomichi."Hiroaki Sato's is probably the best, since it is very faithful and it gives the most background info (including linked-verse sequences written during the journey), but Cid Corman's is nice too because he does a pretty good job at reproducing Basho's prose style.Also, if you're looking for a good collection of Basho's hokku, check out Makoto Ueda's work. For a good critical study of Basho look at Haruo Shirane's Traces of Dreams. A good internet analysis of Oku no Hosomichi: http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~kohl/basho/ ... Read more

9. Basho's Haiku: Selected Poems of Matsuo Basho
Paperback: 348 Pages (2004-08-24)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$25.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0791461661
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars BASHOS HAIKU

5-0 out of 5 stars Several ways in to the heart of Basho's poetry
I wanted to read more Basho after reading The Narrow Road to Oku, and this book provides several ways into an understanding of the man, his work, and the culture around him.I particularly enjoyed the explication of the allusions to other literary works in the Notes, and the list of nature-words and their use in defining seasons in the specialized Glossary.I still can't read these poems as if I were versed in Japanese literary traditions, but they have gained additional dimensions in my mind.

Also, after reading this book I was looking at a Japanese print by Hiroshige Ando and realized that what I was seeing was not an actual landscape, but an illustration of a haiku--there were all the autumn flowers growing with careful casualness, and wild geese flying south, with a distant view of Fuji. It was great to feel that little snap of recognition.

I also appreciated the way the translator doesn't add words to explain what's supposed be suggested, as well as the way that a transliteration of the sounds of the words is included.The rhythm of the poems is more clearly heard than seen, so the transliteration is very helpful. ... Read more

10. The Sound of Water: Haiku by Basho, Buson, Issa, and Other Poets (Shambhala Centaur Editions)
Paperback: 152 Pages (2006-11-14)
list price: US$10.95 -- used & new: US$5.64
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1570620199
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Here are more than two hundred of the best haiku of Japanese literature translated by one of America’s premier poet-translators. The haiku is one of the most popular and widely recognized poetic forms in the world. In just three lines a great haiku presents a crystalline moment of image, emotion, and awareness. This illustrated collection includes haiku by the great masters from the seventeenth to the early twentieth century. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect
It's little; it's beautiful; it can fit in a pocket; it explains the form; and the translations are lovely.

I've been bringing it to work.I didn't today.And I'm already missing it.

If you love haiku, get this book.If you don't know yet but want to, start with this book.My bet is you'll know before you're finished reading, if you've gone this far.

4-0 out of 5 stars Trying to get this review published for a third time...
Sam Hamill (ed.), The Sound of Water: Haiku by Basho, Buson, Issa, and Other Poets (Shambhala, 1995)

Very small, very concentrated book. One hundred twenty-five pages, most with two haiku per page (some pages are simple illustrations from the period). I was unfortunately too much of an idiot to keep this with me until I wrote the review so I could quote some of the world's finest haiku at you, so all I can say is trust me on this one: there's a reason these guys are known as the masters of haiku and senryu. It's also a surprising look at the earthiness of the form; too many anthologies of classic haiku seem like revisionist histories, quoting the stuff the translator or editor thinks is noble and leaving out the poems about drunkenness or taking a leak or lechery or what have you. Hamill, thankfully, has no filters (in fact, in his intro, he singles out one of Issa's faecal pieces to point out this very thing). As with a lot of books along these lines, my only problem with it is that it's far too short; it's possible to polish this off in an hour, if you don't savor each piece. Even then, it'll probably take you an afternoon. I spent a couple of weeks on it, thinking and reflecting; given a book five time this size, I would have been more than happy to sit with it for a few months. ****

4-0 out of 5 stars Sweet and intriguing as cherry blossom shadows
This is a delightful little book for any haiku lover - small enough to carry in pocket or purse for a bit of meditation anywhere. Occasional sumi ink illustrations, nice little intro to Basho, Issa and the art of haiku.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Sound of Water
This book gives examples of haiku by various poets.There is some interesting art included and some useful information.

5-0 out of 5 stars Exquisite Little Book
I keep ordering this small book again and again to give as a gift.Both the poetry and the presentation are exquisite.I love the book's compact size, which seems suggestive of the condensed beauty of the haiku it holds inside. I also love the artwork on the cover. Someone with a lot of sensitivity designed this book. The selection of poetry is equally compelling. ... Read more

11. Matsuo Basho
by Makoto Ueda
Paperback: 194 Pages (1982)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$7.74
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0870115537
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Behind the life and work - the prose and poetry - of a literary genius. The only comprehensive study that examines all areas of Basho's work, including haibun, renku and critical commentaries. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars El mejor estudio en profundidad sobre Matsuo Basho
Un verdadero estudio en profundidad sobre este genio de la literatura universal, quizá el único, escrito por un gran especialista en la vida y la obra de Basho.Imprescindible para los que quieran adentrarse en todas las claves del hayku.

5-0 out of 5 stars I love Basho
This book is great for the history of Basho's life as well as what motivated him for his writing.A great read! It's not too wordy or boring.I highly recommend.

5-0 out of 5 stars a great find!
I am fairly new to haiku and this poet.Was recommended to me, and I now do the same to anyone wanting to read and be calmed by the depth of understanding of our lives, animals, all nature around us, that is presentedby Matsuo Basho.I now have two of his books, his travel journals, and return to them often whenever I need to mentally take a trip myself to another time and place.Everyone should read some Basho.I recommend this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Critique and Commentary
If you are looking for a complete collection of Matsuo Basho's poetry, this is not what you are looking for.However, if you are looking for a personal and literary biography of the haiku master and his influence on Japanese literature, this is what you are looking for.

The writing is clear and interesting and the text is liberally studded with examples of not only Basho's, but the the work of his contemporaries and students.

Definately for the literary minded.

5-0 out of 5 stars An introduction to haiku and its master
While reading this book I realized that I knew nothing about haiku.I had always thought that the form of haiku, the 5-7-5 pattern was important but I had never really considered why this pattern mattered, or what one tried to accomplish with a haiku that could not be accomplished with a more free-form style of poetry.

This book, "Matsuo Basho," not only supplies an interesting history of the undisputed master of Japanese haiku, but it also contains an introductory lesson on the different forms of poetry that Basho utilized, the haiku, the renku and the haibun.Many of Basho's poems are included, both in the original Japanese as well as with a translation, and then interpreted.The author puts the poem in historical context, as well as gives an idea of the scene that Basho was describing.It is truly amazing how complete a scene Basho could bring forth using such a limited palette of words.

Also included are descriptions of Basho's travel guides, that he wrote on his many voyages across Japan, some highlights of Basho's thoughts on poetry as well as the author's personal interpretation of why Basho has remained a relevant poet, and will continue to remain so.

A fascinating book overall, and one that has led me to become interested in haiku and seeking out more books by this amazing writer, Matsuo Basho. ... Read more

12. The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, & Issa (Essential Poets)
Paperback: 329 Pages (1995-10-01)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$4.42
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0880013516
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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American readers have been fascinated, since their exposure to Japanese culture late in the nineteenth century, with the brief Japanese poem called the hokku or haiku. The seventeen-syllable form is rooted in a Japanese tradition of close observation of nature, of making poetry from subtle suggestion. Infused by its great practitioners with the spirit of Zen Buddhism, the haiku has served as an example of the power of direct observation to the first generation of American modernist poets like Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams and also as an example of spontaneity and Zen alertness to the new poets of the 1950's.

This definite collection brings together in fresh translations by an American poet the essential poems of the three greatest masters: Matsuo Basho in the seventeenth century; Yosa Buson in the eighteenth century; and Kobayashi Issa in the early nineteenth century. Robert Haas has written a lively and informed introduction, provided brief examples by each poet of their work in the halibun, or poetic prose form, and included informal notes to the poems. This is a useful and inspiring addition to The Essential Poets series.Amazon.com Review
An exquisite collection of the finest works of three distinct masters of the haiku tradition: Matsuo Basho (the ascetic and seeker), Yosa Buson (the artist), and Kobayashi Issa (the humanist).

The editor, Robert Hass, United States poet laureate, is the author ofseveral books of poetry including Human Wishes aswell as a book of criticism TwentiethCentury Pleasures, forwhich he received The National Book Critics Circle Award. The book isone of the larger series of poetry collections, EssentialPoets Series published by Ecco Press. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars Gotta Have It
No traveler through this life should be without the deep, beautiful and earthy poems of Basho, Buson, and Issa. Robert Hass translates with a poet's mind and heart.Make sure this wonderful collection is in your backpack.

3-0 out of 5 stars ok
Received the book quickly-
looks like it has been kicking around for a while.. some dents and scratches in soft cover-definitely NOTlike new. Book was written in-on page 42; the book's previous owner wrote: "a little water falls"in blue pen.
My intent was to give the book as a gift- will keep this one -as a result I bought a new one for my gift giving.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not quite what I was looking for...
I was a little disappointed in the translation itself, having read different versions of some of these poems and also there is a certain amount of vulgar language, (words I can't repeat in a review even).I don't know what words they used in the original Japanese, but had I know what was used here, I'd have bought an older translation from a more genteel generation...;)

Here is an example of the differences in translators.From this book we have,

"Weathered bones
on my mind
a wind pierced body."

But here is the more elegant and thoughtful Penguin Classics translation by Nobuyuki Yuasa,

"Determined to fall
A weather-exposed skeleton
I cannot help the sore wind
Blowing through my heart."

5-0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites.
The scholars and masters will be able to write a technical review covering all the fine points of why this is such an excellent collection. For my part, I just find I'm able to lose myself in the imagery so easily. It's become a sort of "apple-a-day" for my soul. I will never be able to read these works in Japanese, but I sense these translations carry all the simple beauty and truth of the original poems. The biographies are succinct yet intimate. The poets are masters of the art. The selected poems are amazing, inspiring, humbling, uplifting. I've shared this over and over, with people of very different tastes, and it's never disappointed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, Wonderful, Wonderful
I love this collection of haiku.I've marked several favorites with Post-It flags and thumb through it often.I recommend it to anyone, especially people who are knew to haiku, because it includes a variety of themes and the poems were all written by true masters of the art.It's simply wonderful. ... Read more

13. Basho's Narrow Road: Spring and Autumn Passages (Rock Spring Collection of Japanese Literature)
by Matsuo Basho
Paperback: 192 Pages (1996-09-01)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$10.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1880656205
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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In 1689, the poet Matsuo Basho set off on a five-month journey into the mountains north of the capital, Edo.Along the way he paused to compose poems that are today revered for their clarity of observation.Ostensibly a travel diary, Narrow Road to the Interior is artful and carefully sculpted, filled with rich allusions to literature and Zen.This volume includes the complete text in English with annotations, as well as an additional translation of a sequence of renga "linked verse" featuring Basho and his traveling companion, Sora. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful translation of a beautiful work
Basho is an 18th century Japanese poet who was a leader in the art of Haibun - or Haiku prose.In this book he describes a pilgrimage he made across Japan, visiting sites associated with earlier poets along the way.The translation is clear and beautiful.I found the introduction and notes to be extremely helpful in understanding and appreciating the work, even though I had almost no background in Japanese poetry prior to this.Definitely recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Japanese journey during the 17th century
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (9/06)

Matsuo Basho (1644-94) was a famous Japanese haiku poet.In 1689, he took a 1,233 mile journey across Japan.His travels lasted five months.He was joined by his friend Kawai Sora. Basho wrote about this trip. He titled it, "Oku No Hosomichi," which translates to "Narrow Road to the Interior."This story is considered to be a masterpiece of Japanese literature.He took four years to write it and revise it.

Basho started this trip when his house burned down.He had two goals.One goal was spiritual; it involved "poetic truth."The other goal was a practical one in which he would use his travels to become well known as a poet.Sora developed stomach problems and had to end his travels with Basho.Basho wrote a short piece for him.In the second part of this book, there is a translation of "A Farewell Gift to Sora."

Basho funded his travels with donations from wealthy friends and students.He felt that there were three types of poets.The first type is confused noisemakers.The second type is wealthy people who desire to write instead of gossip.The third type is poets who work hard at writing true poetry.These poets write to "soothe their heart."Basho was the third type of poet.

Hiroaki Sato includes annotations to go along with the writings.This adds richness to the story and helps explain more about the culture and what was happening at the time.I read the story first with the annotations to gain understanding of what I was reading; then I went back and reread the story by itself so that I could feel how it flowed.Without the annotations, I would have enjoyed Basho's story, but I would not have understood much of what was written.Sato also includes pages of notes and commentaries.This is a well researched piece."Basho's Narrow Road" is a beautiful story about Basho's travels.In it he reflects on the beauty of the countryside and the spirit of the people that he encounters.

I recommend "Basho's Narrow Road" to people that enjoy Japanese poetry, especially Haiku.It would also be a great book to use for a college literature class.I really enjoyed Basho's journey.

5-0 out of 5 stars Nice
This was the first time that I have read Basho's Narrow Road to Oku, snd I enjoyed it a great deal. Actually I read it twice this week. The first time I read through it I tried to read it without using the notes. I was lazy, so it came out that I really didn't enjoy what I was reading because I really didn't know what was going on throughout most of the book, so I read it again using the notes, and I got much more out of it. The annotations are on the left page while the actual text is on the right page, so there is no flipping to the back of the book every time that you need to look up something. There are endnotes that give more information about the haiku Basho writes. This is a very cool book, that gives the reader a glimpse at the literary world of japan back during the 17th century.

5-0 out of 5 stars To start with it's Basho.
This is a very well translated and annotated edition of this great work. ... Read more

14. Journeys of Simplicity: Traveling Light with Thomas Merton, Basho, Edward Abbey, Annie Dillard, & Others
by Philip Harnden
Paperback: 112 Pages (2007-08-30)
list price: US$12.99 -- used & new: US$7.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1594731810
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Where do our journeys take us?
What do we leave behind?
What do we carry with us?
How do we find our way?

You are invited to consider a more graceful way of traveling through life. With arresting clarity, Journeys of Simplicity offers vignettes of forty travelers and the few, ordinary things they carried with them--from place to place, from day to day, from birth to death.

Edward Abbey, Nellie Bly, Raymond Carver, Dorothy Day, Marcel Duchamp, Dolores Garcia, Emma "Grandma" Gatewood, Mohandas Gandhi, Peter Matthiessen, William Least Heat Moon, John Muir, Robert Pirsig, Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton, Henry David Thoreau, Father Zossima, and others. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Dream of Simplicity
Most of us are in risk of being overwhelmed by our pursuit of "stuff." Let's just take babies as an example. It appears that strollers for toddlers must now cover almost half an acre and contain sufficient storage for any possible medical or hygienic emergency. Young married couples feel the necessity to immediately buy a huge van that is effective only at cutting off the view of the hapless motorists behind you. Houses must be larger to contain the "stuff" we buy for our children. Why? Because if we don't, it means we don't love them, I suppose.

I must not have been loved very much. My father was a poor factory worker who drove a 1949 Mercury coupé. During all my childhood, I remember only a handful of toys: a set of white plastic blocks that were similar to the Legos that came later, various toy soldiers, a small Lionel O-Gauge electric train set, a stamp collection, a cowboy cap pistol, and a Civil War hat (Union Army type). That hat I wore with a blue cub scout shirt with captain's bars sown on that made me look like the boy Dusty on the old Rin Tin Tin show that I loved to watch.

Over the years, I seem to have gone astray somewhat. My apartment has well over 6,000 books in it. However much I resolve to cut down, I always find myself intrigued by another title that I must read. If I were to sit down and read all the books I own, I would have to live for hundreds of years more.

This slim volume was one of my recent purchases. I sat down to read it almost at once and fell in love with it. JOURNEYS OF SIMPLICITY is a book of lists of stuff with which selected real and fictional people traveled through their lives.

Some of the lists, such as the personal effects of Thomas Merton when he was found dead in a Bangkok hotel room after being electrocuted by his room fan, were heart-wrenching. In almost every case, they set off a little flash bulb of enlightenment. Each list was a window into a person's life (even if that "person" were Bilbo Baggins or Dostoyevsky's Father Zossima from THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV).

If ever I became a truly enlightened person? What would be on my list. Let me guess: a box of loose black Indian tea, a pot to boil water, a few (far less than 6,000) good books, a sweater, a jacket, two or three changes of clothing including wool socks, stout walking shoes, reading glasses, a hat -- and that's about it.

Oh yes, and one other thing -- a sense of wonder.

3-0 out of 5 stars It's Hard To Travel Lighter Than This
The small book devotes two pages each to about three dozen authors, spiritual seekers and fictional characters.One page briefly describes the person and something about their life and philosophy; the second provides a supposedly complete list of the small number of items each person lived with or took on a trip.It's thought provoking as to how much - or how little - stuff we really need to live a good life.At the same time it's a VERY brief book that can be read in about 30 minutes.Because there is a bibliography listing one or more sources for or about each person this book might best be considered an introduction/reference for those wanting to study the philosophy of simplicity.It's also a good inspirational gift for someone who wants to simplify their life.Too bad publishers don't provide little books like this for a more reasonable price. ... Read more

15. A Haiku Journey: Bashos Narrow Road to a Far Province (Illustrated Japanese Classics)
by Matsuo Basho
Paperback: 124 Pages (2002-03-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$6.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 477002858X
Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars
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In the seventeenth century, the pilgrim-poet Basho undertook on foot a difficult and perilous journey to the remote northeastern provinces of Honshu, Japan's main island. Throughout the five-month journey, the master of haiku kept a record of his impressions in a prose-poetry diary later called The Narrow Road to a Far Province. His diary was to become one of the classics of Japanese literature.

Noted professor of Japanese literature J. Thomas Rimer wrote of this classic: "In his diary, which Basho kept reworking and revising until his death, he mixed fact, fiction, poetry, and prose to create the record of a journey that moves both geographically and spiritually, one strand mixing with the other on virtually every page. Read and reread with care, The Narrow Road to a Far Province can reveal more qualities still basic to Japanese cultural attitudes than perhaps any other work in the whole canon of classical literature. For once, the highest of reputations is truly deserved."

This new edition is illustrated with sumi-e ink sketches by Japanese artist Shiro Tsujimura. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

2-0 out of 5 stars Nice volume, but not the best translation
Although Ms. Bitton's translations of Basho's prose are not far off from other versions of this title, many have complained of the rhyming scheme she employs when translating the haiku verses of the author's most famous work.I do agree, that these translations are somewhat jarring and just a little cumbersome (especially if one has knowledge of other translations of this haibun).But Bitton's effort was devoted to making the verses more accessible to Western readers accustomed to the perceived elegance of the rhyme in popular Western poetry.This, one may argue, is the job of a translator, and thus is not an all too terrible introduction to "The Narrow Road," especially for younger readers.However, if one truly wishes to enjoy this, one of Japan greatest literary volumes, please seek other versions as well.The difficult art of translation is in itself a fascinating study.

4-0 out of 5 stars Can Haiku Be Translatable?
We can find Basho almost everywhere in Japan. My hometown is close to the Tokaido-highway and easy to find stone monuments with Basho's haiku inscribed in it.

Dorothy Britton did fine job in the mission-impossible task of
translating Basho haiku into palpable English. I am not well versed in poetry so I do not know how great her translation is with respect to literal viewpoint. She created the method by which peculiarly styled Japanese poem is converted into that of rhyme based western poem. Her English translation is easy to understand so it could be enjoyed by huge number of people not limited to those highly educated. As a Japanese who usually reads this essay in archaic Japanese of 17th century, her translation is instrumental in understanding what difficult Japanese words mean.

As far as Haiku translation goes English language has huge disadvantages.
1: Deletion of subject is difficult while in old Japanese it is really common.
2: Phonetically Japanese and English is so different. For example, in Japanese, common English words such as STRIKE is
pronounced SU-TO-RIE-KU. In Englsih one syllabled but in Japanese phonetics it requires four syllables.

So as syllable based translation. Basho's haiku will be translated rather explanatory than its original Japanese form.

In conclusion, I think she did a great job as a translator and her translation quite natural. No wonder Kodansha International adopted her translation for Japanese English learners.

Recommended for wide range of Japanese culture appreciators.

1-0 out of 5 stars Don't buy this one!
There are several different translations of Basho's Narrow Road extant and without doubt this is the worst generally available. Dorothy Britten's translations of both the text and verse cloy terribly, and betray her shallow understanding of the form. Her translations of some of Basho's best haiku rhyme, which should be enough to put anyone off.

If you want to buy a translation of this wonderful work, I recommend a different Kodansha publication -- the edition featuring Masayuki Miyata's breathtaking illustrations and Donald Keene's somewhat academic but still vastly superior translations. Don't buy this one!

1-0 out of 5 stars This translation is laughable!
This is the worst translation of Basho that I have ever seen.She makes all the haiku rhyme!!!Ugh!I suppose in Lady Bouchier's idle mind that's how poetry should appear.

Here's a quote: "Life itself is a journey; and as for those who spend their days upon the waters in ships and those who grow old leading horses, their very home is the open road."

Now compare that to Sam Hamill's translation: "A lifetime adrift in a boat, or in old age leading a tired horse into the years, every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home."

This book is embarrassing.Don't buy it. ... Read more

16. Back Roads to Far Towns: Basho's Oku-No-Hosomichi (Ecco Travels)
by Basho Matsuo
 Paperback: 173 Pages (1996-05)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$9.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0880014679
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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One spring morning in 1689, Basho, arguably the greatest of all Japanese poets, set forth on foot, accompanied by his friend and disciple Sora, from his hermitage in Edo (old Tokyo) on one final journey--a pilgrimage that eventually took him nearly 1,500 miles. Now, more than 300 years later--via beautifully spare prose sprinkled with haiku and graceful translation--this book provides the account of Basho's arduous trek. 16 illustrations. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

1-0 out of 5 stars Can you help me?
I want to know about Sabi in Oku no hoshomichi. But i cant'n reat about it anywhere. Can you help me?

5-0 out of 5 stars Only version that delivers the goods.
There are perhaps half a dozen English versions of this, Basho's most famous "travel journal"--the Oku no hosomichi--currently available. If you have not read this version, you may justifiably wonderhow this could be considered one of the two pillars of Japanese literature(with The Tale of Genji).

Translating the haiku in this work isdevilishly difficult. I don't believe that Corman has delivered the goods100% of the time, but his are still the best versions available,overall.

In the meantime, Corman is the only one who has managed tocreate in English prose something that remotely resembles the prose of theJapanese text. Basho did NOT write ordinary Japanese prose, so anytranslation into English that sounds like something you might hear oncommercial radio or TV, or reads like a current novel by you-name-it, iswoefully inadequate.

Corman's version has been slighted by others,claiming that it "sounds like Corman's own poems" (it does not)or it's written "as if Jack Kerouac went on the journey". (Thislast is amazing, as I cannot think of a style more distant from Kerouac incontemporary American English.)

Rather, Corman has tried to let theunique toughness and terseness of Basho's language cross the translationbarrier.

This translation is closer to Basho than any other I've seen,and I've read probably just about every English translation of it everpublished in an edition of 500 or more--and the original.

Kudos to RobertHass for seeing it back into print! ... Read more

17. A Zen Wave: Basho's Haiku and Zen
by Matsuo Basho
Paperback: 192 Pages (2003-10-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$8.65
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1593760086
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Zen Buddhism distinguishes itself by brilliant flashes of insight and its terseness of expression. The haiku verse form is a superb means of studying Zen modes of thought and expression, for its seventeen syllables impose a rigorous limitation that confines the poet to vital experience. Here haiku by Matsuo Basho (1644-94) — the greatest Japanese haiku poet — are translated by Robert Aitken, with commentary that provides a new and deeper understanding of Basho’s work than ever before. In presenting themes from the haiku and from Zen literature that open the doors both to the poems and to Zen itself, Aitken has produced the first book about the relationship between Zen and haiku. His readers are certain to find it invaluable for the remarkable revelations it offers. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Totally Recommended
Full disclosure:I came to this book with a strong interest in the haiku of Basho (as well as Issa, Buson, Chiyo-ni, et.al.) but very little knowledge of the Japanese language.Most of the books I've been able to find so far provide various translations but little commentary or translator's notes.A Zen Wave, however, provides much to think on--a well-considered English translation; the original in romanji; and a literal word-for-word translation.Comments on individual poems go into the particular challenges of rendering Japanese into understandable English (random example:"Most translators render naki as "weep," but this is incorrect.Its homonym means "weep," and so this carries through as an overtone, but the ideograph Basho used refers to the cry of any animal, with reference derived from context.")

The other aspect of the book is, of course, Zen.Aitken uncovers deeper meaning in Basho's haiku, informed by both Basho's understanding of Zen (he was "familiar with the ways of Zen monks to some degree") and Aitken's own (as a Zen roshi.)These essays take the reader to many delightful places, bringing all sorts of things along the way--poems by T.S. Eliot and Joyce Carol Oates; monk stories; Zen koans; slightly cranky rants (oh, the poor acolyte of the 60s-70s who wanted master Aitken to LOVE his students . . . ); and out-and-out didacticism."Basho's purpose was not merely self-expression," Aitken tells us. "With his great compassionate heart, he was saying, 'Go thou and do likewise.'"

Again, I am no expert on haiku or Zen; merely a student.As such, I found this work both delightful and useful.I would not agree with a previous reviewer who found the book lacking in "depth" but I wouldn't mind if Aitken had tackled more poems.For that matter, I wouldn't mind if other contemporary translators of Japanese poetry would give us more material like this.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent insight into the translation of Zen haiku
A Zen Wave: Basho's Haiku and Zen

This book provides an excellent insight into the editing choices that must be made in translating poetry (in this case Zen haiku) from another language into English. I found the author's discussions and commentary to be compelling and answered many questions that had arisen in my mind concerning the interpretation of Japanese haiku. By providing the Japanese poem side-by-side with a literal word-by-word transcription into English, together with the author's translation of the poem into English, I was able to easily follow the author's rationale as to how best to express the essence of the poem.

This book is more, however, because it provides insights into Basho the man and Basho the poet, influences upon his life and the poems he wrote,and the context within which those poems were written.By way of further explanation and comparison, the author also provides haiku from other poets and alternative translations of the subject haiku by other translators.

3-0 out of 5 stars Zen Wave
This book is an early work by a respected and cherished Zen adept.For this reader it lacks depth and breadth but should appeal to a beginner. ... Read more

18. Basho and the River Stones
by Tim J. Myers
Hardcover: 32 Pages (2004-10)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$8.74
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 076145165X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The great poet Basho lives in the woods and shares the cherries from his cherry tree with the local foxes. But one tricky fox becomes greedy––He uses his magic to turn three river stones into gold coins, and then tricks Basho into giving up all of the cherries. When the fox returns to gloat over his victory, he discovers that Basho is content.Wiser than the fox, Basho knows that a poem inspired by the beauty of the river stones is more valuable than gold. Oki S. Han’s watercolors evoke ancient Japan in this sequel to the New York Times bestseller Basho and the Fox. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Basho and the River Stones
This story, Basho and the River Stones, By Tim Myers, takes place at Fuka River. One day at Fuka River there was a poet named Basho. He shared his cherry tree with foxes. It was peaceful and gorgeous at Fuka River. Then one day a young fox played a trick on the poet. All Japanese foxes have great magic and they are great at changing things and themselves. The fox transformed himself a yamabushi, a monk. Then he got three stones in the river and then turned them into gold coins. Fox walked to Basho's hut, a house. The fox knows Basho was poor, so fox used a great monk voice. Fox came and asked "I will give you coins if you sign a paper and leave the cherry tree to me." "Ok", replied Basho. "Can you put my name on the paper?," asked the fox . Then Fox left laughing to himself. The fox visited Basho again. Basho told fox that at first he was angry, then he loves the river stones. Then Basho told fox his new haiku, a poem. The fox told Basho he tricked him. "Sorry, I learned my lesson, how can I ever repay you?" cried Fox. Then Fox decided to give Basho real gold coins. Fox dug them up and returned to the hut. "Can I tear up the paper?" asked the fox. "NO, NO and NO!" yelled Basho. Fox walked to Fuka River in shame. While fox walked he saw gorgeous river stones. Fox came back to Basho. Then Basho accepted the river stones. At night Basho looked at his three new stones. At the morning Basho woke up. Then Basho stopped and looked at the table. He saw REAL gold coins and not his stones. Then Basho knew Fox tricked him. Basho went outside. Basho saw a letter from Fox on his hut. The letter said "Thank you" from Fox. Then Basho and Fox shared the cherry tree and many more things.

The theme of this book is to share and not trick people. In the beginning they shared a cherry tree with other foxes but Fox did not want to share any more. The fox tricked a poet named Basho by transforming into a monk. The fox tricked Basho by getting river stones and transforming them into gold coins. Fox told Basho that he will give him gold coins if he will sign a paper that says that he will give a cherry tree to the fox himself. Then they shared the cherry tree. Then fox learned a BIG lesson.I like the way that in the end Basho and the fox shared the cherry tree.

By Resmi

4-0 out of 5 stars Great way to introduce Haiku to students
I read this to 3rd, 4th and 5th graders in our school library and used the book as a jumping off place for a lesson on haiku. They loved Basho's story and it was fun to watch them "get it" as they gradually understood the clever fox's tricks on the poet. I would recommend this story for 3rd and 4th graders. Although younger kids might enjoy it, I doubt they'd readily understand the twists and turns in the story.

5-0 out of 5 stars A very thoughtful and lovely book
I have given this wondrous book to a number of friends and relatives.It is a trickster tale that is delightful, humane, and highly poetic.The artwork is lovely and vibrant.This is a book to treasure, share and read aloud to people you care about.

5-0 out of 5 stars Like Bread into Chocolate! well, except that it's stones into gold...
This beautifully illustrated book imagines the 17th century inventor of haiku, Matsuo Basho, and his encounters with the magical foxes of Fukagawa.We first see Basho asleep under a cherry tree, surrounded by a fraternity of suspicious looking foxes clad in Hugh Hefner-esque silk kimonos.Initially, Basho and the foxes shared great "wa," or harmony.(Tim Myers deserves kudos for using the interesting and accurate Japanese words in a kids' book!)One fox, "particularly fond of cherries" wants them all, and so he uses his trickster powers to transform himself into the figure of a "'yamabushi,' a wandering monk."The fox turns three stones into gold, and enters into an exclusive rights-to-the-cherry-tree contract with the money-strapped poet.

The next day the gold reverts to the stones, but they inspire a haiku:

How many years have
These stones loved the river, not
Knowing they were poor?

Basho, ever the poet, tells the fox, "A good poem is worth more than money--and it lasts much longer."The fox admits his deception, and then seeks to make it up to him. In the process, the fox learns much about cultural attitudes towards charity, and, especially, honor. The repentant, wiser fox uses his magic again--this time to procure enough money for Basho to buy food for the long winter ahead.

Oki S. Han delivers some of the best illustrations I've seen recently; her watercolors have both power and grace (a grace found also in Myers' flowing language). We see traditional Japanese dwellings and marvelously colorful, variegated foliage. Even the ornamental designs framing the text are beautiful, sometimes staggeringly so.Han is a master of light and dark, and she uses close-ups, scene-setting panoramas, and overhead views in an incredibly beautiful display of illustrative mastery. The story has a very satisfying ending (which includes the fox writing his own haiku), and Myers' "author's note" talks about Basho, the deeper meanings of haiku (he wrote the two in the book), and his own heartfelt gratitude ("ongaesha") for Basho's inspiration.Very enthusiastically recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars From Tim Myers, author of "Basho and the River Stones"
One of the things I most love about stories is their ability to present us with simple truths in compelling fashion.That's part of what I tried to do with "Basho and the River Stones."Naturally, I wanted this story to entertain readers (adults and children alike).But my years as a writer and a professional storyteller have taught me that even entertainment is more successful when it carries some resonating truth.In this book, the fox is capable of selfishness and deception--he's quite "human" in that way.But when Basho's shining example is set before him, he's also capable of shame and a determination to do better.We're all like that, I suppose, to whatever degree--I can certainly see both sides of human nature in myself!So I'm uplifted and comforted at the thought that, like the fox, I can learn, grow, come to a new vision of things, deepen my values, realize what's most important--even if it takes a little trickery to set things right. After all, we have to use the gifts we were given, eh? I hope you enjoy my story!May the river stones in your life turn to gold, and the gold to river stones.Regards, Tim Myers ... Read more

19. Grass Sandals: The Travels of Basho
by Dawnine Spivak
Paperback: 40 Pages (2009-11-24)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$7.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1442409363
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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An evocative portrait of the great Japanese haiku poet describes Basho's many experiences as he traveled throughout his beloved native Japan, in a volume that also includes haiku written by Basho and Japanese characters that represent words from the verses. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and delightful
Brief but splendid.Buy this book.A wonderful adult message couched for the seeking child within.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Journey...
I am a huge haiku fan, and it was that interest that lead me to this little book. Grass Sandals: The Travels of Basho offers a beautiful, multi-sensory introduction to Japanese literature and ancient Japanese culture. Indeed the peaceful, flowing artwork looks like fine paintings rather than images in a children's story, and thick, full pages speak for the book's quality.

Basho's journey is one of peace, curiosity, and observation. Along the way, lessons of simplicity, keen observation, genuine appreciation for the natural world, gratitude, promises, and respect are subtly revealed.

In addition to the story (told in prose) and well-placed haiku samples, certain pages include a unique Japanese character, pronunciation, and translation that highlights an event or observation from that part of the tale. Thus, with adult guidance, a child can learn to look into the illustrations for specific details, learn to read the text of the story and the haiku, learn to trace a Japanese character with his / her finger, and learn to speak a Japanese word. Engaged children may take their knowledge to the next level by attempting to write the characters or their own haiku.

This book definitely provides an appreciation for Japan, and it is worth reading, sharing, and discussing.

My favorite haiku sample from the text is this one:

a tiny pink crab
tickling me climbs up my leg
from glistening sea

4-0 out of 5 stars Radiantly illustrated
This picture book presents Basho's travels, with a curious focus on the Japanese characters for various words in his haiku; I wished there had been more emphasis on the haiku themselves.But the illustrations are enchanting and evocative, deep and glowing, with a whimsical touch.While this book doesn't have the deep understanding of haiku found in Cool Melons - Turn To Frogs!: The Life And Poems Of Issa, it would be a charming supplemental text for grade school units on haiku, poetry, biography, and historical Japan.

5-0 out of 5 stars An adventurous book!
In the story Grass Sandals, there is a Japanese man named after a banana tree called basho.Basho loved nature so much that he wrote about it as a haiku poet.He lived in his small house in Edo surrounded by the morning glories in the 1600's.But one day, Basho decides he wants to travel because he is restless back at his home in Edo.Before his trip, Basho's friends give him supplies for his trip including grass sandals.On the trip he writes about what he sees, meets friends, and discovers different places in this adventurous book!

I enjoyed this book very much because I loved all the places he traveled and all the creative poems he wrote.I recommend this book for all afes.It is very well written!

4-0 out of 5 stars I liked the pictures!
Grass Sandals is a great book about friendship and poems.The main character's name is Basho.Basho liked to have tea on his porch every morning under his basho tree.Basho lives in Edo.Basho likes to travel around his country.When Basho is traveling he gets many gifts from his friends.Basho is great for his blue grass sandals (from his friend) and for haikus.This story took place 300 years ago in Japan.

I really liked this book because of its illustrations and of how well it is written.I think that this book would be good for people who like books from other countries.I also think parents would enjoy this story too! ... Read more

20. Basho And The Dao: The Zhuangzi And The Transformation Of Haikai
by Peipei Qiu
Hardcover: 248 Pages (2005-08-30)
list price: US$57.00 -- used & new: US$38.86
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0824828453
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Although haiku is well known throughout the world, few outside Japan are familiar with its precursor, haikai (comic linked verse). Fewer still are aware of the role played by the Chinese Daoist classics in turning haikai into a respected literary art form. Bashô and the Dao examines the haikai poets’ adaptation of Daoist classics, particularly the Zhuangzi, in the seventeenth century and the eventual transformation of haikai from frivolous verse to high poetry. The author analyzes haikai’ s encounter with the Zhuangzi through its intertextual relations with the works of Bashô and other major haikai poets, and also the nature and characteristics of haikai that sustained the Zhuangzi’s relevance to haikai poetic construction. She demonstrates how the haikai poets’ interest in this Daoist work was rooted in the intersection of deconstructing and reconstructing the classical Japanese poetic tradition.

Well versed in both Chinese and Japanese scholarship, Qiu explores the significance of Daoist ideas in Bashô’s and others’ conceptions of haikai. Her method involves an extensive hermeneutic reading of haikai texts, an in-depth analysis of the connection between Chinese and Japanese poetic terminology, and a comparison of Daoist traits in both traditions. The result is a penetrating study of key ideas that have been instrumental in defining and rediscovering the poetic essence of haikai verse.

Bashô and the Dao adds to an increasingly vibrant area of academic inquiry—the complex literary and cultural relations between Japan and China in the early modern era. Researchers and students of East Asian literature, philosophy, and cultural criticism will find this book a valuable contribution to cross-cultural literary studies and comparative aesthetics. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Chapter on Furyu worth the price of the book
I purchased this book after an extended period of research on Basho for a piece I was writing. The chapter on Furyu and Daoist Traits in Chinese Poetry contains the following sentence about fifteenth century priest-poet Ikkyu Sojun, "Having denounced the contemporary values of the Zen communities, Ikkyu turned to poetry and a furyu aesthetic for spiritual sustenance." This sentence confirmed my own research, and supported the idea that poetry and furyu have a capacity to nourish a person on her spiritual journey in a way that other disciplines and experiences can not.

If you are interested in Eastern philosophy, particularly Daoism, and its relationship to the artist's way, this book will provide you with solid scholarly material to ponder.

The 29 page glossary reveals Qiu's linguistic prowess and is extremely helpful both for reading this book and for studying Chinese or Japanese poetry, especially haiku.

I wasn't sure if I should spend the $63.00 for this book but it provided me with a deep and thorough study of Basho and the religious and philosophical underpinnings to his creative genius.
... Read more

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