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Japanese Death Poems

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Japanese Death Poems Cover

ISBN13: 9780804831796
ISBN10: 0804831793
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"A wonderful introduction the Japanese tradition of jisei, this volume is crammed with exquisite, spontaneous verse and pity, often hilarious, descriptions of the eccentric and committed monastics who wrote the poems."—Tricycle: The Buddhist Review

Although the consciousness of death is, in most cultures, very much a part of life, this is perhaps nowhere more true than in Japan, where the approach of death has given rise to a centuries-old tradition of writing jisei, or the "death poem." Such a poem is often written in the very last moments of the poet's life.

Hundreds of Japanese death poems, many with a commentary describing the circumstances of the poet's death, have been translated into English here, the great majority of them for the first time. Yoel Hoffmann explores the attitudes and customs surrounding death in historical and present-day Japan, and gives examples of how these have been reflected in the nation's literature in general. The development of writing jisei is then examined—from the poems of longing of the early nobility and the more "masculine" verses of the samurai to the satirical death poems of later centuries. Zen Buddhist ideas about death are also described as a preface to the collection of Chinese death poems by Zen monks that are also included. Finally, the last section contains three hundred twenty haiku, some of which have never been assembled before, in English translation and romanized in Japanese.

Synopsis:

Hundreds of 'jisei' or death poems translated into English

Synopsis:

Although the consciousness of death is in most cultures very much a part of life, this is perhaps nowhere more true than in Japan, where the approach of death has given rise to a centuries-old tradition of writing jisei, or the "death poem" written in the very last moments of the poet's life. From passionate samurai writins and meditative Zen haiku to the satirical poems of later centuries, Hundreds of jisei have been translated into English here, many for the first time. The result is a moving, powerful collection whose philosophical and aethetic profundity will give readers pause.

Synopsis:

Although the consciousness of death is in most cultures very much a part of life, this is perhaps nowhere more true than in Japan, where the approach of death has given rise to a centuries-old tradition of writing jisei, or the "death poem" written in the very last moments of the poet's life. From passionate samurai writings and meditative Zen haiku to the satirical poems of later centuries, hundreds of jisei have been translated into English here, many for the first time. The result is Japanese Death Poems, a moving, powerful collection whose philosophical and aesthetic profundity will give readers pause.

About the Author

Professor Yoel Hoffman has written several books on Buddhism and comparative philosophy, including The Sound of the One Hand, Radical Zen: the Sayings of Joshu, and The Idea of Self-East and West.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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lauraelik, August 10, 2012 (view all comments by lauraelik)
Hoffman provides a substantial introduction to the history of the haiku and tanka forms, Japanese culture and religion, and views on death and dying. Parts two and three present death poems by Zen monks and haiku poets (respectively) on the verge of death. The poems are translated into English and are accompanied by cultural context and a short biography of each author.

This is both an educational and contemplative little book that inspires great respect for Japanese poetry. The more I read it, the more wisdom and appreciation I glean.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780804831796
Other:
Monks, Zen
Author:
Zen Monks
Author:
Hoffmann, Yoel
Publisher:
Tuttle Publishing
Location:
Rutland, Vt.
Subject:
Asian
Subject:
Anthologies (multiple authors)
Subject:
Poetry (poetic works by one author)
Subject:
Death
Subject:
Death & Dying
Subject:
Chinese poetry
Subject:
Haiku
Subject:
General
Subject:
Anthologies-Miscellaneous International Poetry
Subject:
Non-Classifiable
Subject:
haiku; poetry; death poems; japanese poetry; poetry anthology; Japan
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Series:
No Series
Series Volume:
[1]
Publication Date:
19980431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
7 x 5 in 13 oz

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Related Subjects

Engineering » Engineering » History
Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Miscellaneous International Poetry
Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Poetry
Fiction and Poetry » Classics » Japanese
Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » Anthologies
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
Religion » Eastern Religions » Japanese Religion and Literature
Sports and Outdoors » Martial Arts » General
Sports and Outdoors » Sports and Fitness » Martial Arts » General

Japanese Death Poems Used Trade Paper
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Product details 368 pages Tuttle Publishing - English 9780804831796 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Hundreds of 'jisei' or death poems translated into English
"Synopsis" by , Although the consciousness of death is in most cultures very much a part of life, this is perhaps nowhere more true than in Japan, where the approach of death has given rise to a centuries-old tradition of writing jisei, or the "death poem" written in the very last moments of the poet's life. From passionate samurai writins and meditative Zen haiku to the satirical poems of later centuries, Hundreds of jisei have been translated into English here, many for the first time. The result is a moving, powerful collection whose philosophical and aethetic profundity will give readers pause.
"Synopsis" by , Although the consciousness of death is in most cultures very much a part of life, this is perhaps nowhere more true than in Japan, where the approach of death has given rise to a centuries-old tradition of writing jisei, or the "death poem" written in the very last moments of the poet's life. From passionate samurai writings and meditative Zen haiku to the satirical poems of later centuries, hundreds of jisei have been translated into English here, many for the first time. The result is Japanese Death Poems, a moving, powerful collection whose philosophical and aesthetic profundity will give readers pause.
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