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Traditional Japanese Poetry: An Anthology

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This anthology brings togethere in convenient form a rich selection of Japanese poetry in traditional genres dating back from the earliest times to the twentieth century. With more than 1,100 poems, it is the most varied and comprehensive selection of traditional Japanese poetry now available in English. Ezra Pound called poetry "the most concentrated form of verbal express This anthology brings togethere in convenient form a rich selection of Japanese poetry in traditional genres dating back from the earliest times to the twentieth century. With more than 1,100 poems, it is the most varied and comprehensive selection of traditional Japanese poetry now available in English. Ezra Pound called poetry "the most concentrated form of verbal expression," and the great poets of Japan wrote poems as charged and compressed as poems can be. The Japanese language, with its few consonates and even fewer vowels, did not lend itself to expansive forms, making small seem better and perhaps more powerful. There is also the historical context in which Japanese poetry developed—the highly refined society of the early courts of Nara and Kyoto. In this setting, poetry came to be used as much for communication between lovers and friends as for artistic expression, and a tradition of cryptic statement evolved, with notes passed from sleeve to sleeve or conundrums exchanged furtively in the night. Add to this the high sense of decorum that dominated court society for centuries, and you have the conditions that led to the development of the classical uta (also referred to as tanka or waka), the thrity-one-syllable form that acts as the foundation for virtually all poetry written in Japanese between 850 and 1900. In choosing poems, the compiler has given priority to authors and works gnerally acknowledged as of great artistic and/or historical importance by Japanese scholars. For this reason, major poets such as Kakinomoto no Hitomaro, Izumi Shikibu, Saigyo, and Matsuo Basho are particualarly important collections such as Man'yoshu, Kokinshu, and Shin kokinshu. In addtion, the volume also contains samplings from genres such as the poetic diary, linked verse, Chinese forms, and comic verse.


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This anthology brings togethere in convenient form a rich selection of Japanese poetry in traditional genres dating back from the earliest times to the twentieth century. With more than 1,100 poems, it is the most varied and comprehensive selection of traditional Japanese poetry now available in English. Ezra Pound called poetry "the most concentrated form of verbal express This anthology brings togethere in convenient form a rich selection of Japanese poetry in traditional genres dating back from the earliest times to the twentieth century. With more than 1,100 poems, it is the most varied and comprehensive selection of traditional Japanese poetry now available in English. Ezra Pound called poetry "the most concentrated form of verbal expression," and the great poets of Japan wrote poems as charged and compressed as poems can be. The Japanese language, with its few consonates and even fewer vowels, did not lend itself to expansive forms, making small seem better and perhaps more powerful. There is also the historical context in which Japanese poetry developed—the highly refined society of the early courts of Nara and Kyoto. In this setting, poetry came to be used as much for communication between lovers and friends as for artistic expression, and a tradition of cryptic statement evolved, with notes passed from sleeve to sleeve or conundrums exchanged furtively in the night. Add to this the high sense of decorum that dominated court society for centuries, and you have the conditions that led to the development of the classical uta (also referred to as tanka or waka), the thrity-one-syllable form that acts as the foundation for virtually all poetry written in Japanese between 850 and 1900. In choosing poems, the compiler has given priority to authors and works gnerally acknowledged as of great artistic and/or historical importance by Japanese scholars. For this reason, major poets such as Kakinomoto no Hitomaro, Izumi Shikibu, Saigyo, and Matsuo Basho are particualarly important collections such as Man'yoshu, Kokinshu, and Shin kokinshu. In addtion, the volume also contains samplings from genres such as the poetic diary, linked verse, Chinese forms, and comic verse.

30 review for Traditional Japanese Poetry: An Anthology

  1. 4 out of 5

    Diana Wilder

    A Classic Compilation and Translation of Japanese Poetry This is a compilation of Japanese poetry from earliest times to the present. The poems are grouped by writer, with information given on the writer (when possible) and the circumstances giving rise to the poem (or shedding light on the poem). I This was published by the Stanford University Press. The poems are presented in their entirety, and any notes or information are beside them, saving the reader from the annoyance of having to look to t A Classic Compilation and Translation of Japanese Poetry This is a compilation of Japanese poetry from earliest times to the present. The poems are grouped by writer, with information given on the writer (when possible) and the circumstances giving rise to the poem (or shedding light on the poem). I This was published by the Stanford University Press. The poems are presented in their entirety, and any notes or information are beside them, saving the reader from the annoyance of having to look to the bottom of the page or flip to the back. Beautifully done, well worth owning.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kitty

    Overview of Japanese poetry with the original and notes on translation. I have a better understanding of Haiku and the traditions surrounding it. I enjoyed very much the black and white drawings sprinkled throughout which capture a mood or time period. This is a book to be enjoyed multiple and endless several sittings.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Farah SA

    A must-read for students of Japanese and anyone who is interested in Japanese, especially the poetry. This book tells us about (brief) history of Japanese poetry, not only haiku but also other form of Japanese poetry.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    By far the best single English-language collection of Japanese poetry in existence (I've read them all). Definitely the place to start if you're even vaguely interested in this genre. By far the best single English-language collection of Japanese poetry in existence (I've read them all). Definitely the place to start if you're even vaguely interested in this genre.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Michael O.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ankhespaten

  7. 5 out of 5

    Maria

  8. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cone

  10. 5 out of 5

    Madison

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lothar Spillemaeckers

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jen

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nina

  14. 5 out of 5

    Paul Kerschen

    Meticulously done. Reading in concert with a literary history like Keene's is a good way to avoid the false sense of sameness that comes with the heft. Meticulously done. Reading in concert with a literary history like Keene's is a good way to avoid the false sense of sameness that comes with the heft.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dan Yingst

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sebastian Kantor

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ladislav

  18. 5 out of 5

    Adriana

  19. 4 out of 5

    Haven

  20. 4 out of 5

    Eva Smrekar

  21. 5 out of 5

    Brad

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

  23. 4 out of 5

    kit

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sheikh Tajamul

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kay White

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chen

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alexgarens

  28. 5 out of 5

    Vi

  29. 4 out of 5

    Јована Станковска

  30. 5 out of 5

    Destiny Tatum

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