The Haiku of Basho
About the Book
Matsuo Basho (1644–1694) was the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan. He is universally recognised as the greatest master of haiku. His work is internationally renowned, and in his native land, many of his poems are reproduced on monuments and traditional sites. Basho was introduced to poetry at a young age, and after integrating himself into the intellectual scene of Edo (now Tokyo) he quickly became well known throughout Japan. He originally taught for a living, but later in his short life he chose to wander across the county, finally journeying into the northern wilderness to seek inspiration for his writing. His poems were influenced by his direct experience of the natural world, and he could enshrine the essence of what he saw in a few simple poetic elements. This new translation of three hundred of Basho’s haiku reflects the freestanding 5-7-5 form which most epitomizes the poet’s subtle literary brilliance.