Overview

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 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 ...

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Narrow Road to the Interior

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Overview

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 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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780834824935
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/19/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 373,927
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Basho (1644–1694)—the most revered poet of Japanese literature—is best known in the West as the author of Narrow Road to the Interior, a travel diary of his journey through northern Japan. Basho elevated the haiku to an art form of utter simplicity and intense spiritual beauty. His travel diaries of linked prose and haiku created a new genre of writing that inspired generations of Japanese poets.

Sam Hamill has translated more than two dozen books from ancient Chinese, Japanese, Greek, Latin, and Estonian. He has published fourteen volumes of original poetry. He has been the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and the Mellon Fund. He was awarded the Decoración de la Universidad de Carabobo in Venezuela, the Lifetime Achievement Award in Poetry from Washington Poets Association, and the PEN American Freedom to Write Award. He cofounded and served as Editor at Copper Canyon Press for thirty-two years and is the Director of Poets Against War.

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Read an Excerpt


From Narrow Road to the Interior

The sun and moon are eternal travelers. Even the years wander on. A lifetime adrift in a boat, or in old age leading a tired horse into the years, everyday is a journey, and the journey itself is home. From the earliest times there have always been some who perished along the road. Still I have always been drawn by windblown clouds into dreams of a lifetime of wandering. Coming home from a year's walking tour off the coast last autumn, I swept the cobwebs from my hut on the banks of the Sumida just in time for New Year, but by the time spring mists began to rise in the fields, I longed to cross the Shirakawa Barrier into the Northern Interior. Drawn by the wanderer-spirit Dōsojin, I couldn't concentrate on things. Mending my cotton pants, sewing a new strap on my bamboo hat, I daydreamed. Rubbing moxa into my legs to strengthen them, I daydreamed a bright moon rising over Matsushima. So I placed my house in another's hands and moved to my patron Mr. Sampū's summer house in preparation for my journey. And I left a verse by my door:

Even this grass hut
may be transformed
into a doll's house

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