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Strong in the Rain: Selected Poems Paperback – May 28, 2008

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*Starred Review* Another year, another selection of the early-twentieth-century Japanese master poet who didn’t catch on in his homeland until the 1990s, when deep economic recession roused spiritual concerns in Japan for the first time in decades. Although translator Pulvers offers a much smaller number of poems than Hiroaki Sato did in Selections (2007), no enthusiastic reader of that book will want to miss this one. Pulvers, a man of the theater more than a literary man, stresses the visual content of Miyazawa’s work, how the poet expresses emotions and reveals the meaning of events through colors, which have direct Buddhist spiritual connotations, and through natural action, especially that of the wind. Besides a more ardently sympathetic introduction to Miyazawa than Sato’s, Pulvers provides engaging, unfussy annotation for each selection. His translations are that extra bit livelier; they work a little harder to vivify Miyazawa’s almost Franciscan life of devotion to the poor farmers of his culturally backward home prefecture in northern Honshu. Perhaps newcomers to this startlingly great poet should begin with this book, proceed to Sato’s for earlier and other versions of some small masterpieces, seek out the stories that have been translated—and look sharp for more translated poems. --Ray Olson


Newcomers to this startlingly great poet should begin with this book. --Booklist

Editor's Choice 2008 --Booklist

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