Anthology of Classical Japanese Poetry

anthology-cover-2500x1667-2016-11-29This book contains one thousand Japanese poems in English translation, with the earliest having been composed in the late sixth century, and the latest early in the thirteenth. It covers just over five hundred years of poetic development in Japan, focussed on the work produced by the court aristocracy. The poems have been selected from the nine anthologies which form the core of the canon of classical Japanese poetry: the eighth century Man’yōshū, and the later imperially commissioned Kokinshū (915-920), Gosenshū (951), Shūishū (1005-11), Goshūishū (1086), Kin’yōshū (1124-27), Shikashū (1151), Senzaishū (1187) and Shinkokinshū (1205). The poems are presented in romanised transcription and translation, and accompanied by annotations to clarify intertextual links and provide supplementary information about poetic expressions, personages and locations, but the overall intention has been to create translations which could be read and enjoyed as English poems first, with the annotations available for those who wish to delve into the poems’ compositional techniques and alternative interpretations more deeply. Context to the poetry is provided by an introduction covering how and why classical Japanese poems were composed, and what qualities defined a poet of the period.

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'Simply moving and elegant'