Synopses & Reviews
Traditional Japanese verse. Translated by Lucien Stark.
By combining the ideals of "karumi" - lightness of touch - and oneness with nature, Basho (1644-94) rose above the artificiality of previous haiku poets to become the new master of the genre. A perfectionist, he constantly strove to express himself in the purest possible form.
Basho, one of the greatest of Japanese poets and the master of haiku, was also a Buddhist monk and a life-long traveller. His poems combine 'karumi', or lightness of touch, with the Zen ideal of oneness with creation. Each poem evokes the natural world - the cherry blossom, the leaping frog, the summer moon or the winter snow - suggesting the smallness of human life in comparison to the vastness and drama of nature. Basho himself enjoyed solitude and a life free from possessions, and his haiku are the work of an observant eye and a meditative mind, uncluttered by materialism and alive to the beauty of the world around him.
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