Yosa Buson’s haiku poems

Yosa Buson(1716-1784)

Yosa Buson was a haiku poet in the Edo era and also active as a painter. Therefore, his haiku has a feature that highlights a visual image clearly.

 

 

Yosa Buson by Goshun

 

 

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Books about Yosa Buson

 

Collected Haiku of Yosa Buson (Paperback)

“Lovers of haiku will rejoice at the arrival of this book, the first complete translation of the collected haiku of Yosa Buson…rendered into English with obvious care and devotion…Through Buson we realize what haiku is best at expressing—this moment’s experience, bare facts, simple observations, elegant statements of ‘thus-ness.'”—Inquiring Mind

“Having W.S. Merwin and Takako Lento as co-translators of this book is close to ideal, and this is the best English translation of haiku that has ever been published. Their English translations are accurate and poetic and there is nothing better for introducing this great poet.”—Donald Keene, Anahorish Japanese Literature

“For a translator to be faithful and readable, as Mr. Merwin always is, is no small achievement.”—The New York Times

“From Latin to Russian to Japanese, translator [W.S. Merwin]’s oeuvre suggests an intrepid quality as well as a scrutinizing sympathy.”—Boston Review

This is the first complete bilingual (Japanese/English) translation of the Buson Kushu, a comprehensive collection of the haiku of Yosa Buson (1716–83). Buson’s haiku brim with paradox: they are bawdy yet delicate, sparse yet powerful. W.S. Merwin and Takako Lento worked for a decade to co-translate these poems into English-language versions as luminous as the original Japanese. An essential volume of world literature.

“187”

keisei wa
nochi no yo kakete
hanami kana

Courtesans come out
to see the cherry blossoms
as though they were betting on their next life

Yosa Buson (1716–1783) was one of the great poets of Japan’s Edo period. His work is technically adroit and finely attuned to visual details. A true maverick of interdisciplinary arts, Buson was also founder of the haiga—a small watercolor or black-and-white painting bordered by a haiku.

W.S. Merwin was US Poet Laureate from 2010–11 and won his second Pulitzer Prize for The Shadow of Sirius (Copper Canyon Press, 2009) and the National Book Award for Migration: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2005). He lives in Hawaii and France.

Co-translator Takako Lento holds an MFA in poetry and translation from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.



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Reading Japanese Haikai Poetry: A Study in the Polyphony of Yosa Buson’s Linked Poems (Brill’s Japanese Studies Library) (Hardcover)

In Reading Japanese Haikai Poetry Herbert Jonsson makes an inquiry into the multitude ways in which Japanese linked haikai poetry has been read and understood. A number of poems composed by the eighteenth-century master Yosa Buson are analyzed in great detail. Although closely related to the popular haiku, haikai is often regarded as difficult for non-specialists, but this study offers the reader a wealth of explanations, displaying the varied perspectives available.
The first part of the book consists of a thorough investigation of how these poems have been interpreted in the Japanese commentary tradition. The second concluding part offers an innovative study of the poetics of scent (nioizuke), essential for understanding the creative force of this poetry.

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The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson & Issa (The Essential Poets, Vol. 20) (Hardcover)

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.


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