Here is the most complete single-volume collection of the writings of one of the great luminaries of Asian literature. Basho (16441694)—who elevated the haiku to an art form of utter simplicity and intense spiritual beauty—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 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, and Sarashina 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.
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.
"One of the undisputed masterpieces of Japanese Literature. . . . Hamill achieves a kind of luminosity of language that I find unparalleled in other translations of this work."—Burton Watson, Columbia University
"Lucid and engaging, this translation, a gift of careful attention, does not separate poetry from spiritual practice. Basho becomes our guide on the way of insight. Such is the magic of a fine translation."—Margaret Gibson, Tricycle
Narrow Road to the Interior by Matsuo Basho; translated by Sam Hamill