Quintessential classical Japanese haiku--selected and translated by one of America's premier poet-translators--now available in a pocket edition.
In this collection of haiku, translator Sam Hamill has compiled the best from the tradition, spanning the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries, with particular focus on the three great masters: Bashō, Buson, and Issa. Based on images from nature, the poems address the themes of joy, temporality, beauty, wonder, loneliness, and loss.
Haiku may be the most popular and widely recognizable poetic form in the world. In just three lines a great haiku presents a crystalline moment of image, emotion, and awareness. Elements of compassion, silence, and a sense of temporality often combine to reveal a quality of mystery. Just as often, haiku may bring a startling insight into the ordinary, or a flash of humor. Collected here are over two hundred of the best haiku of Japanese literature--written by the great masters of the genre.
The featured poets are Bashō, Buson, Issa, Moritake, Sōin, Sanpū, Kikaku, Ransetsu, Kyorai, Raizan, Kakei, Onitsura, Taigi, Chiyo, Sogetsuni, Sogi, Fuhaku, Teiga, Kikusha-ni, Tayo-jo, Sōchō, Shōha, and Shiki.
This is a pocket-size reissue of The Sound of Water (Shambhala, 1995).
At the ancient pond
a frog plunges into
the sound of water
Nobly, the great priest
deposits his daily stool
in bleak winter fields
A world of dew,
and within every dewdrop,
a world of struggle
Excerpted from The Pocket Haiku by Compiled and translated by Sam Hamill. Copyright © 2014 by Compiled and translated by Sam Hamill; illustrated by Kaji Aso. Excerpted by permission of Shambhala, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
About Sam Hamill
Sam Hamill is the author of more than thirty books of poetry, essays, and translations from the classical Chinese and Japanese, ancient Greek, Latin, and other languages. He has been a recipient of fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission. He lives near Port Townsend, Washington.