“Rexroth’s readings from the Japanese master poets are breathtaking in their simplicity and clarity.”—The New York Times
I go out of the darkness
Onto a road of darkness
Lit only by the far off
Moon on the edge of the mountains.
Over the years, thousands of readers have discovered the beauty of classic Japanese poetry through the superb English versions by the great American poet Kenneth Rexroth. Mostly haiku, these poems range from the classical and medieval to modern poetry, with an emphasis on folk songs and love lyrics. Because women played such an outstanding role in Japanese literature, included here are selections from their work, including the contemporary, deeply sensuous Marichiko. This elegant, beautifully designed gift book of poems spanning many centuries presents the original texts in romanji, the transliteration into the Western alphabet.
Eliot Weinberger (b. NYC, 1949), is an essayist and translator. He won PEN’s first Gregory Kolovakos Award for promoting Hispanic literature in the US, and he is America’s first literary writer to receive Mexico’s Order of the Aztec Eagle. He lives in New York City.
Poet-essayist Kenneth Rexroth (1905-1982) was a high-school dropout, disillusioned ex-Communist, pacifist, anarchist, rock-climber, critic and translator, mentor, Catholic-Buddhist spiritualist and a prominent figure of San Francisco's Beat scene. He is regarded as a central figure of the San Francisco Renaissance and is among the first American poets to explore traditional Japanese forms such as the haiku.