5.0 out of 5 stars An introduction to haiku and its master
While reading this book I realized that I knew nothing about haiku. I had always thought that the form of haiku, the 5-7-5 pattern was important but I had never really considered why this pattern mattered, or what one tried to accomplish with a haiku that could not be accomplished with a more free-form style of poetry.
This book, “Matsuo Basho,” not only supplies an interesting history of the undisputed master of Japanese haiku, but it also contains an introductory lesson on the different forms of poetry that Basho utilized, the haiku, the renku and the haibun. Many of Basho’s poems are included, both in the original Japanese as well as with a translation, and then interpreted. The author puts the poem in historical context, as well as gives an idea of the scene that Basho was describing. It is truly amazing how complete a scene Basho could bring forth using such a limited palette of words.
Also included are descriptions of Basho’s travel guides, that he wrote on his many voyages across Japan, some highlights of Basho’s thoughts on poetry as well as the author’s personal interpretation of why Basho has remained a relevant poet, and will continue to remain so.
A fascinating book overall, and one that has led me to become interested in haiku and seeking out more books by this amazing writer, Matsuo Basho.