The Haiku of Basho, by John White and Kemmyo Taira Sato
The Buddhist Society, London: 2019
Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) is widely acknowledged as the greatest of all the Japanese haiku poets. In the original Japanese, the two defining features of the haiku form are its 5-7-5 sound unit format (the syllable being the corresponding unit in English) and its rhythm. This selection of three hundred of Basho’s finest haiku represents the first successful strict translation into English haiku of what was actually written, some 350 years ago, by a genius of the form. The renditions are beautiful; the crucial cadences are retained.