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."
Included in this volume are these Paris poems as well as other verses that Kuki appended to a long essay on poetry, Rhymes in Japanese Poetry, written in 1931. Included as well are translations of two of Kuki s major critical essays on poetry, The Genealogy of Feelings: A Guide to Poetry (1938) and The Metaphysics of Literature (1940).
Michael Marra, one of the West s foremost authorities on modern Japanese aesthetics, prefaces his translations with an important essay that gives an account of the current state of Kuki studies in English and presents an intriguing and original interpretation of Kuki s writings. Marra argues that there is an unresolved tension in Kuki s thought between a desire to overcome the rigid schemes of metaphysics, garnered from his knowledge of French and German philosophy, on the one hand, and a constant hesitation to let those schemes go, which is expressed in his verse."
David Landis Barnhill's brilliant book strives for literal translations of Basho's work, arranged chronologically in order to show Basho's development as a writer. Avoiding wordy and explanatory translations, Barnhill captures the brevity and vitality of the original Japanese, letting the images suggest the depth of meaning involved. Barnhill also presents an overview of haiku poetry and analyzes the significance of nature in this literary form, while suggesting the importance of Basho to contemporary American literature and environmental thought.