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Dew on the Grass: The Life and Poetry of Kobayashi Issa

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This book sketches the life and poetry of Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828), a Japanese poet popularly known as one of the Three Pillars of Haiku. While Basho with his mystic asceticism and Buson with his romantic aestheticism immeasurably enriched the haiku tradition, it was Issa who, with his bold individualism and all-embracing humanism, helped to modernize the form to a degre This book sketches the life and poetry of Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828), a Japanese poet popularly known as one of the Three Pillars of Haiku. While Basho with his mystic asceticism and Buson with his romantic aestheticism immeasurably enriched the haiku tradition, it was Issa who, with his bold individualism and all-embracing humanism, helped to modernize the form to a degree matched by no other poet. Based on the most recent scholarship, the book attempts to identify the sources of his originality in terms of his long checkered life. It traces his growth and maturity by examining his motherless childhood, struggling youth in Edo, wanderings in western Japan, restless existence as a haiku master, return home to Kashiwabara, three brief marriages, and last years as an old poet.


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This book sketches the life and poetry of Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828), a Japanese poet popularly known as one of the Three Pillars of Haiku. While Basho with his mystic asceticism and Buson with his romantic aestheticism immeasurably enriched the haiku tradition, it was Issa who, with his bold individualism and all-embracing humanism, helped to modernize the form to a degre This book sketches the life and poetry of Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828), a Japanese poet popularly known as one of the Three Pillars of Haiku. While Basho with his mystic asceticism and Buson with his romantic aestheticism immeasurably enriched the haiku tradition, it was Issa who, with his bold individualism and all-embracing humanism, helped to modernize the form to a degree matched by no other poet. Based on the most recent scholarship, the book attempts to identify the sources of his originality in terms of his long checkered life. It traces his growth and maturity by examining his motherless childhood, struggling youth in Edo, wanderings in western Japan, restless existence as a haiku master, return home to Kashiwabara, three brief marriages, and last years as an old poet.

34 review for Dew on the Grass: The Life and Poetry of Kobayashi Issa

  1. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    Probably only interesting to you if you're already pretty deeply interested in haiku -- but if you are, good stuff. Issa is considered one of the 3 (sometimes 4) canonical Great Masters of Japanese haiku and this is a very good introduction to his work and biography. He is often considered the most down-to-earth & human of the masters -- his trademark haiku are sympathetic toward the lowest of the low, common bugs, etc. The biography is fair to him but also doesn't shy away from talking in detai Probably only interesting to you if you're already pretty deeply interested in haiku -- but if you are, good stuff. Issa is considered one of the 3 (sometimes 4) canonical Great Masters of Japanese haiku and this is a very good introduction to his work and biography. He is often considered the most down-to-earth & human of the masters -- his trademark haiku are sympathetic toward the lowest of the low, common bugs, etc. The biography is fair to him but also doesn't shy away from talking in detail about his very human flaws (extended property disputes with family members & poor treatment of his wife, among other things). Good mix of biography and discussion of his haiku.

  2. 5 out of 5

    John Porcellino

    If you are interested in the history and human background of haiku, this is a must-read. So glad a book like this exists!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Paul

  4. 5 out of 5

    Paul H.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  6. 5 out of 5

    Olena Kuzmina

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kate

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michael Lloyd-Billington

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ze

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lindu Pindu

  11. 5 out of 5

    Melai

  12. 4 out of 5

    Andie

  13. 4 out of 5

    Donald

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tchatchke

  15. 4 out of 5

    Raven

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cat

  17. 5 out of 5

    Man Solo

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rubens

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kallas

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cristina

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rahmaniyar Adimanggala

  22. 5 out of 5

    twirls

  23. 5 out of 5

    Chris Zac

  24. 5 out of 5

    Andreia

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mindaugas Gaulia

  26. 4 out of 5

    Yasmin

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kit

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kate

  29. 5 out of 5

    Anastasia

  30. 5 out of 5

    Renan Virginio

  31. 4 out of 5

    MisanthropeRaft

  32. 4 out of 5

    Arshad Khan

  33. 4 out of 5

    Sapti Sesa

  34. 4 out of 5

    Raphael d’Urbino

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