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100 Poems from the Japanese Paperback – June 17, 1955


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100 Poems from the Japanese + One Hundred Poems from the Chinese (New Directions Books) + One Hundred More Poems from the Japanese (New Directions Books)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions; First Edition edition (June 17, 1955)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811201813
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811201810
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #211,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

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.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 10 customer reviews
Since that day I've had 3 copies of the book in all.
Karen Shaub
Also, there is a great preface by the man who collected the poems and it's very educational.
Celeste Triebeneck
You will be surprised by the intensity and sensibility that these short poems reflect.
Luciano Lupini

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Luciano Lupini on June 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is one of the greatest "small" books I have ever read. Rexroth conveys a good bird's eye view of classical japanese poetry, with poems selected and translated by him, mostly from the Manyoshu (A.D. 759) and Kokinshu (A.D. 905)compilations.
You will be surprised by the intensity and sensibility that these short poems reflect. Also you will be delighted to read the different depictions of states of mind and heart in this poetry which will eerely convey the atemporal dimension of sorrow, pain, joy and appeasement to the contemporary human being.
An example of what to expect:
The flowers whirl away
In the wind like snow.
The thing that falls away
Is myself.....(Prime Minister Kintsune)
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Karen Shaub on August 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
Many decades ago as I was standing in a seemingly endless line at the college bookstore waiting to pay for my texts, I happened to pick up a copy of Kenneth Rexroth's 100 POEMS FROM THE JAPANESE and started thumbing through it in order to kill some time while I waited...and waited...and waited for my turn at the register. By the time I finally made it up there I couldn't have cared less, I was totally engrossed in the small volume that had been meant merely to keep me from thoughts of violence as I continued to wait...and wait...and wait. I knew that I had to have this book, I had fallen in love with Japanese poetry. Since that day I've had 3 copies of the book in all. The first was stolen by a "friend", the second died from over-work, and the third is sitting in front of me as I try to cobble together this review.

I had long hated poetry since its writers tended to exhume every archaic word they knew and went on for as long as they possibly could until they had finally beaten what ever sentiment, or thought they had tried to express into into a gelatinous pulp and left it and the reader whimpering on the floor in helpless submision. Writers of Western and European poetry that is. For when I openned Rexroth's book I learned there was an alternative to the pompous florid verbosity of Western poets and it could be found in the powerful, exquisitely crafted yet extremely economical poetry of Japan.

There are several different poetic forms and a great many shadings and other things to be concerned with, as in the works of all poets, and Rexroth deals with these things both in his introduction as well as in individual notes in the back of the book. He explains everything you need to know in order to understand these poems if you're interested in going beneath their surface beauty.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
He has gathered a wonderful collection of quiet often powerful poems. I used to always keep a copy at my desk at work when I needed a break from programming. I think everyone who loves poetry should have a copy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Celeste Triebeneck on January 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
I won't even begin to pretend that I can critique a book that is so beautiful in the art of Japanese poetry....but I will say that the spare, disciplined beauty of the the poems evoke such emotion from me.

When I was falling in love, my love was in the UK...I sent him this book because I loved it so much and wanted to share it. We tried (clumsily) to text each other in the Haiku style when we thought of something...a sweet memory!

Anyway this book is a must have. Also, there is a great preface by the man who collected the poems and it's very educational.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joseph J. Truncale VINE VOICE on June 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
I have loved almost anything Asian most of my life. May be this is why I have not only been a life-time student of several martial arts, but also of Asian philosophy, art and poetry. One of my favorite books of poetry has been this collection. Unlike much of western poetry, which sometimes rambles on and on with no purpose, most of the Japanese and Asian approach to poetry is to have you experience a slice of life in a short sentence. The beauty of this book is that the author has each selection written in English, Japanese and in Kanji characters. Over the years, I have read this volume numerous times and it is always a joy. In conclusion, this is a book for anyone who is interested in Japanese poetry.

Rating 4 stars. Joseph J. Truncale (Author: Haiku Moments: How to read, write and enjoy Haiku)
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