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1020 Haiku in Translation: The Heart of Basho, Buson and Issa Paperback – April 21, 2006

4.2 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: BookSurge Publishing (April 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419627651
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419627651
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.8 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,414,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Poetry, it is said, is what disappears in translation. This may often be true, for patterns of rhythm and sound in a poem can seldom be carried over into another language, even if the translator be a poet.

Happily, this is not a problem in _1020 Haiku in Translation: the Heart of Basho, Buson and Issa_, 2006. Translated by Takafumi Saito and William R. Nelson. Artwork by Munetaka Sakaguchi. The simple patterns of everyday speech, and the utterances of things and places and feelings are brief, yet in their simple imagery and emphasis, the poems offer us at least sparks of awareness of the here-now presence in life, and at best grant us a revelation, a brief kind of surprise, an overwhelming openness.

The poesy of Japanese haiku is preserved, not in the 5-7-5 pattern, but through strong-weak stress patterns. The Japanese count of seventeen syllables in three lines (5-7-5) is naturally rendered in English differently, but still true to the original. Basho's famous frog haiku becomes: "An old pond - / A frog dives in / Water sound." Because of such apparent simplicity, schoolchildren around the world have been impelled, one believes, rather than driven, to learn and appreciate haiku - and to write them!

For children see, too, the variety of content in haiku. The poet Issa writes, "Don't swat it! / The fly is rubbing / Its hands and legs." This haiku is found in the book, _1020 Haiku in Translation: the Heart of Basho, Buson and Issa_. This anthology does not only include well more than others of the three masters' poems but also devotes many pages to helpful supplementary information not readily found in other collections.
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Format: Paperback
This is what it advertises-- 1020 Haiku from the three great haiku masters-- Basho, Buson, and Issa. The beauty of this book is that there is romanized/phonetic translation of the Japanese... so you can read the English translation, then sound out the Japanese syllables to hear the sound of the haiku (at least an approximation) in the original Japanese. Finally, the hirigana/katakana/kanji are supplied for each haiku, as well, so if you read Japanese, you can read the original.

Misters Nelson and Saito explain that they chose to translate into an English version that they thought best captured the original Japanese intention. They elected not to retain a 5-7-5 or approximate format, although they did keep predominately three lines for each haiku. That being said, I have seen more artistic translations of the common haiku I have read elsewhere in other books-- all in all, I wasn't that happy with the translations... the percentage of haiku that really grabbed me was not as high as other books I've read. But that may just be me, or the fact that out of 1020 haiku, I've seen the best ones already in other books with less.

The book itself is trade paperback in style... about 8x6 inches, 1.5 inches thick. The paper is that thick, grainy, acid-free-looking stuff... it has nice texture that should last. The book is sparsely and tastefully illustrated with Japanese brushstroke paintings and calligraphy throughout. About a dozen or so of the more famous haiku are repeated in the calligraphy independently on full pages as stand-alone decoration.

As tradition, the haiku are divided into seasons. Each haiku poet gets a section in each season.
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By Dings on March 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
It has been many years since I have felt such joy at the physical beauty of a book: the intelligence and elegance of the design, the parallel texts, the foreword, the beauty of the poetry, the architecture of the sequence, the generous size of the print, the integration of the art work and written characters in the page layouts--all of these things and more. What a lovely gift to the world. Don't miss this.
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Format: Paperback
1020 Haiku in Translation: The Heart of Basho, Buson, and Issa, Translated by Takafumi Saito and William R. Nelson illustrates the art of translation and of haiku. This is a must read book for anyone who loves poetry. The book is appropriately organized by seasons. The beauty of the haiku are matched by the exquisite artwork by Munetaka Sakaguchi. Whether you are a teacher, a student, a writer or a reader who has an interest in haiku, this book belongs on your shelf. Translation is an art and Saito and Nelson have demonstrated their talent and artistic ability in rendering these beautiful poems into English. (Reviewed by Professor Horne, Chair of English, University of Northern British Columbia)
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Format: Paperback
As the title suggests, the authors of this book chose 1,020 haiku written by the Japanese masters Basho, Buson and Issa and translated them accurately so as to give the reader the poets' words exactly how they wrote them. Most translations of haiku use approximate words in order to preserve the syllable count. So the translations in this book give us a better feel for what the Japanese call mono no aware - literally, the pathos of the thing.

This book does not place the three poets into a literary context with any detail, but that was probably not its intention; there are many other fine books that focus on this aspect. Rather, the focus of this book is to correct the inaccuracies caused by previous interpretive translations and thus give us the true form and flow of the haiku as written by Basho, Buson and Issa. Also, the translators have included notes that focus on, for example, implied meanings, the location of places, cultural background and the explanation of situations that might not be so readily understood.

What I especially liked about this book, as a student of the Japanese language and culture, is that the original poem is included as written in Japanese (kanji and hiragana). Then it is rendered phonetically so that we can hear what it might sound like in the original. In an appendix the authors provide a tutorial on the pronunciation of Japanese sounds.

Adding to the quality of this book is the inclusion of beautiful artwork and calligraphy.
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