Local haiku poet and Japanese poetry enthusiast Joan Zimmerman joined host Dennis Morton on last Sunday’s Poetry Show for a discussion of haiku, and especially of the book, Collected Haiku of Yosa Buson, translated by W.S. Merwin and Takako Lento, published by Copper Canyon Press. The publisher says:
“From master translator W.S. Merwin comes Collected Haiku of Yosa Buson, the first complete bilingual translation of the entire Buson Kushu (Buson Collection, 1899), a comprehensive collection of the haiku of Yosa Buson (1716–83), originally published in Japan in the mid-eighteenth century. W.S. Merwin and Takako Lento worked for nearly a decade to co-translate these poems, filled with resonant philosophical inquiry and wisdom about the natural world, in an English as luminous as the original Japanese.
In an invaluable “Note from the Translators,” co-translator Takako Lento describes Buson as “a major artist as well as a master poet, and his artist’s powers of observation are evident in his verse. He is uniquely carefree and unbound by convention, creating the realities of life with immediacy and warmth.” Also including notes and commentary on the context of the poems and the collaboration process along with source notes for those interested in delving deeper, Collected Haiku of Yosa Buson is an essential addition to the world’s canon of great writing.”
Joan Zimmerman is a past Poetry Show guest, most recently in November, 2011 with her Haiku group the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society.