By Kenneth Rexroth
It's outstanding that any Westerner—even so high quality a poet as Kenneth Rexroth—could have captured in translation loads of the sophisticated essence of vintage jap poetry: the intensity of managed ardour, the austere beauty of favor, the compressed richness of imagery.
The poems are drawn mainly from the normal Manyoshu, Kokinshu and Hyakunin Isshu collections, yet there also are examplaes of haiku and different later kinds. The sound of the japanese texts i reproduced in Romaji script and the names of the poets within the calligraphy of Ukai Uchiyama. The translator's creation offers us easy history at the heritage and nature of eastern poetry, that is supplemented by means of notes at the person poets and an in depth bibliography.
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Extra resources for One Hundred Poems from the Japanese
A tire dropped like a scream from the beech, then the children's sandbox with its litter of plastic toys, the rusted jungle gym. Two neighbor farms against the sky to the north, but everything else blank. Crickets, and louder, cicadas, and still louder, frogs. The old torn couch on the porch, you over me and forcing me and with cars passing a haft-mile offyour mother upstairsthe thrumming of sixteen-wheelers. The sky passing new clouds east and they would thin out and dissolve, or gather illuminated in the evenings, or in the afternoons, heavy and dark with rain.
The Italian. A total immersion in the artifice of glory. The same operas are re-staged and we play the tapes again, we play the CDs, we play the video of Puccini's Turandot, not once, never only once. Recurrence, repetition, and so you believe in the Eternal Return and reincarnation and all that Vico said about history and cycles and Yeats of great wheels and gyres and what astronomers believe about worlds-onto-worlds and flip-over universes extending through multiple infinities and the relation of time to space and space to time and of forms emerging from and disappearing into the formlessness of voids, the vortices of black holes where all the music ever sung swirls around in astral aviaries splashed with stars.
Page 56 The Wooden Egg I keep it on my writing desk to honor you, and somewhere you are writing about it, or rather, about the desire that ascended in you the day you sought it. In that town, nowhere decent to buy a gift, not if you walked across the tarmac of the parking lot into the glare-searing mall, not if you drove to that dust-thick card shop on the square. Yet your fingers stretched for this made-in-the- Philippines egg, hand-painted fans of palmettos and banyan leaves splayed across a deep maroon.