In addition to The Spring of My Life, the translator has included more than 160 of Issa's best haiku and an introduction providing essential information on Issa's life and valuable comments on translating (and reading) haiku.
Akiko's later poetry has now begun to win long-overdue recognition, but in terms of literary history the impact of Midaregami (Tangled Hair, 1901), her first book, still overshadows everything else she wrote, for it brought individualism to traditional tanka poetry with a tempestuous force and passion found in no other work of the period. Embracing the Firebird traces Akiko's emotional and artistic development up to the publication of this seminal work, which became a classic of modern Japanese poetry and marked the starting point of Akiko's forty-year-long career as a writer. It then examines Tangled Hair itself, the characteristics that make it a unified work of art, and its originality.
The study throughout includes Janine Beichman's elegant translations of poems by Yosano Akiko (both those included in Tangled Hair and those not), as well as poems by contemporaries such as Yosano Tekkan, Yamakawa Tomiko, and others.
A significant dimension of this volume is the detailed and extensive treatment afforded two important areas of postwar Japanese verse: the poetry of women and of Okinawa. Modernism in Practice is noteworthy not only as an introduction to postwar Japanese poets and their times, but also for the numerous poems that appear in translation throughout the volume many for the first time in book form."