-- John Ashbery...
|Title||:||From the Country of Eight Islands: An Anthology of Japanese Poetry|
|Number of Pages||:||652 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
From the Country of Eight Islands: An Anthology of Japanese Poetry Reviews
This is the longest book of poetry I have ever read. It is beautiful and allows for the great scope of change in Japanese poetry.My personal favourite poem was, In Praise of Sake by Otomo No Tabito. I just love the line, "Rather than be a so-so human being, I'd like to be a sake jar and get steeped in sake"I really enjoyed the poetic form, Renga, and have discovered new poets I want to check out, like Ishikawa Tabuboku and Tomioka Taeko. I am always concerned about translations, especially regarding poetry due to importance of sound. This anthology though did win the PEN Translation Prize in 1982. I'm still concerned, but I have nothing to compare it to, so I am trusting the prize. It does read beautifully though.The biggest issue for me is that the first thousand years sounds very similar. There were constant metaphors to the Autumn moon and flowers, and at one point, all that sentimentality, with the same metaphors made me less emotionally invested. At times their love seemed as powerful as a flood, but once you realize that it was a technique or an allusion to a previous poem, it became harder for me to be invested. I would admire their skill more than their emotion. However, reading love poetry from a thousand years ago does put you in a particular mood, a reminder that everything, including the most powerful of emotions, will end. It puts one's own life into perspective.
There are the masters, of course:"I'm tired of children"—to anyone who says that, no flowers-Matsuo BashōBut then there are such gems as:At midday when the sea's visible in the window, through the pine trees, I kiss the hair of someone sleeping peacefully-Wakayama BokusuiandKissShe came home, smelling of another man.And so I could not kiss her.Then the two of us got under the quiltsthat still held the sun’s heat.That day the weather was nice all day.And yet I could not kiss her.She pressed her breast close to my breast.And yet I could not do it.I felt she was a different woman.It was like before the two of us met.It was like the days when I still didn’t know that part of herand went fishing alone on Sundays.It was like the days when I watched the thin winter sun by that small marshand was waiting to meet someone.I was afraid.And yet I could not do it.And in time I fell asleep.It’s a night like a vast prairieno matter how long I run, how long I run-Tanikawa Shuntarō
This book is to Japanese poetry what Sunflower Splendor is to Chinese verse (see my review of the latter). In particular, the translations of the great "lost" Surrealist, Takiguchi Shuzo, are themselves enough to recommend this magnificent book.
This is a brilliant collection of Japanese verse that takes the reader through each century with a whisper and a wink.