The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa

The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa

American readers have been fascinated since their exposure to Japanese culture late in the nineteenth century, with the brief Japanese poem called the hokku or haiku. The seventeen-syllable form is rooted in a Japanese tradition of close observation of nature, of making poetry from subtle suggestion. Infused by its great practitioners with the spirit of Zen Buddhism, the h American readers have been fascinated since their exposure to Japanese culture late in the nineteenth century, with the b...

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Title:The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa
Author:Robert Hass
Rating:
Genres:Poetry
ISBN:The Essential Haiku: Versions of Bashō, Buson, and Issa
ISBN
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:329 pages pages

The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa Reviews

  • Jenna
    Dec 10, 2008
    This book makes me wish there were renga parties in my neighborhood that I could attend. One of the most unfortunate things about the Western poetic tradition -- when contrasted with, say, the Eastern poetic tradition or the Western music tradition or the Western mathematics tradition ...
  • Chris
    Jun 03, 2008
    Read this years and never added it. It's fantastic, and I return to it often. It helped me understand the history of the haiku and it's connections to the tanka and renga, and--between Basho and Issa--showed me how flexible this restrictive little form can be. A fantastic introduction ...
  • Rebecca
    Aug 25, 2007
    This is the book that first exposed me to haiku. The general introduction and the biographical sketches of each haiku poet are incredibly informative and interesting, and of course the haiku poems themselves are all wonderful. There are even some excerpts from the diary of one of the h...
  • Kerfe
    Feb 24, 2014
    The current attention span of my life is well-suited to haiku. These are the Japanese masters: Basho, Buson, and Issa. Hass' translations, lyrical and free, seem faithful to the imagery and emotional impact each poet has condensed into three lines. The afterword explaining the diffi...
  • Kate
    May 05, 2015
    I find it interesting that so many people who rated this book three stars or less did so because they didn't like haiku. Totally unfair. That's like saying, "I think I'll read this here book about tarantulas, and then I'll give it one star because I HATE tarantulas." Actually, this is ...
  • Sara Willis
    Dec 02, 2007
    I am admittedly ignorant on the form and subject of the haiku. This book was nothing like I thought it would be. It showcases three old school haiku masters who heavily influenced the trade. I thought the haiku written here would be stodgy and antiquated but they were incredibly humoro...
  • Sean
    May 11, 2015
    Great haiku are really actually great. Here's a few: Year after year on the monkey's face a monkey face How admirable! to see lightning and not think life is fleeting. Climb Mount Fuji O snail, but slowly, slowly. Writing shit about new snow for the rich is ...
  • John Fanning
    Oct 13, 2012
    Issa is probably my favorite poet. He has all these almost flippant haikus, but then he hits you with ones like this: In this world we walk on the roof of hell, gazing at flowers. Like Dostoyevsky when he hits you with the line: "She trembled like a leaf" near the end of "Crim...
  • Micah
    Aug 31, 2008
    Compiled by former US Poet Laureate Robert Haas, this is a solid introduction to the fundamental classics of Haiku. It includes works by three founding fathers of Japanese Haiku: Basho, Buson, and Issa. I bought this after hearing a lecture by another Laureate, Billy Collins, who me...
  • Angie
    Jul 12, 2015
    I loved every bit of this book. I loved it so much that after keeping it as long as the library would let me; I ordered my own copy. ...
  • Audrey
    Apr 17, 2009
    One of the most accessible forms of poetry--and the Japanese do it best, especially these 3 masters. Very well worth reading. I left this book feeling serene, uplifted and educated (the perfect combination). ...
  • Bryson
    Apr 14, 2009
    Not my favorite haiku anthology out there, to be honest. Hass compiled three great poets into this book: Basho, Issa, and Buson. Though I don't have the book in front of me, I believe he tackles them in that order, as well. This book is pretty good, but I personally don't conside...
  • Adrian Astur Alvarez
    May 29, 2012
    I took a class from Robert Haas during my undergrad. He was a vague teacher but his lectures were careful, rigorous, and were often delivered with a gentleness that made what would otherwise be burdensome topics graceful. So it is with this collection of Haiku by Buson, Basho, and Issa...
  • Bee
    Sep 21, 2011
    I am sad, that i don't know who I lent this too. Because this book is a constant companion. You can open it anywhere, and BAM, killdeer, a little slice of this very moment right here, with a twist of lemon and a cherry blossom ...
  • Harriet
    Jul 19, 2010
    A gorgeous book of haiku by Basho, Buson, and Issa, translated and edited with great care and intelligence by Robert Hass. I keep this book by my bed, actually, and am continually dipping into it; it's a great cure for too much Facebook, email, text messages, etc. The beauty of a haiku...
  • Dana Nordstrom
    Apr 11, 2009
    I love this book! I've read it over several times and still just open it up randomly and start reading. A definite must for Haiku lovers! ...
  • Robert
    Feb 12, 2010
    Hass's anthology offers generous selections of three haiku masters: Bash?, Buson, and Issa. In addition to their haiku, he offers prose works by all three, as well as three longer poems by Buson. His introductions and notes provide full, clear contexts for the haiku and other work, co...
  • Rhea Tregebov
    Jun 06, 2010
    My friend John Fanning of La Muse Writers' Retreat lent me this book while I was there. Hass' translations seem very very strong, and I really want to read this. ...
  • Jenbebookish
    Apr 15, 2014
    Ugh. I am giving this two stars because I feel so out of my league that I feel bad giving it one star because I am hardly qualified to be rating a book on poetry! Haiku style poetry is like, a big thing. And I am now willing to admit that I am just poetry retarded. My girlfriend...
  • Abby
    Sep 12, 2011
    Knowing my love for Japanese literature, my husband gave me this book some years ago. It was edited by one of our favorite poets, Robert Hass, which makes it that much more incredible. I think this is the best primer for haiku in English translation for any reader. I was floored by the...
  • C.B. Wentworth
    Feb 08, 2015
    Fantastic collection of classic haiku, along with contemporary and historical commentary on the form. In addition, the side by side compilation of Basho, Buson, and Issa allowed for a nice comparative study between the masters of haiku. It's very interesting to see the differences in s...
  • Daniel
    Aug 08, 2012
    Always makes me wish I could read them in the original Japanese. Wonderful poetry with interesting explanations and history as well. ...
  • David Yoon
    Oct 15, 2012
    The book, "The Essential haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa" is a collection of Haiku written by masters of the art, Basho, Buson, and Issa. Personally, I did not like poetry very much especially Haikus. But after reading some of the Haikus of this book, my perspective changed. ...
  • D.A. Lockhart
    Jan 17, 2016
    Always near my desk. A book I constantly return to. ...
  • Juli Anna
    Mar 21, 2013
    This is an essential text for anyone interested in haiku. It is concise, palatable, and beautiful; collections of poems by three great haiku maters (Bash?, Buson, and Issa) are complemented by biographies, essays, and extensive endnotes by American poet Robert Hass. Wonderful for read...
  • Sally Hegedus
    Dec 23, 2013
    I really loved this little book! I enjoyed learning something of the history and form of haiku, also of the stylistic differences between the three haiku masters represented in this book. For someone with little knowledge of the form, who had never, to my recollection, been introduced ...
  • Chelsea
    Dec 11, 2014
    "Red morning sky, snail; are you glad of it?" ...
  • Sarah
    May 21, 2016
    "First day of spring- I keep thinking about the end of autumn." -Matsuo Basho "He's on the porch to escape his wife and kids- how hot it is!" -Yosa Buson "Even a fleabite, when she's young, is beautiful." -Kobayashi Issa This is a lovely collection of poetry that I...
  • Osvaldo Gomez
    Dec 07, 2015
    A nice mix of history and poetry. ...
  • Kimber
    Dec 03, 2018
    Basho--favorite poems/lines: "Winter solitude-- in a world of one color the sound of wind." "Don't imitate me-- it's as boring as the two halves of a melon." "Who mourns makes grief his master. Who drinks makes pleasure his master." "Don't follow in the footsteps of ...