The Complete Haiku

  • Basho Matsuo
  • Translated by Jane Reichhold
  • Foreword by Billy Collins
  • Illustrations by Shiro Tsujimura

Size: 226×152 mm, 770 g
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 432
glossary, bibliography, chronology, and indexes (first-line and original Japanese)
ISBN10: 1-56836-537-3
ISBN13: 978-1-56836-537-4
Release date: July 1, 2008

List price: $24.95

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"At the time of his death, in 1694, Basho had more than seventy disciples, and about two thousand associates who had accepted and aligned themselves with his teachings. On the one-hundredth anniversary of his death the Shinto religious headquarters honored him by canonizing him as a deity. Thirteen years later the imperial court gave him similar status. He alone is known as a haisei, the saint of haiku. Today he is a recognized genius."
                         —from the INTRODUCTION

  • First complete collection of Basho's haiku in English
  • All-new translation by one of America's eminent haiku poets
  • A comprehensive discussion of Basho's poetic techniques
  • Original Japanese accompanied by word-for-word translation
  • An insightful biography of Basho
  • Detailed notes on each poem
  • First-line index
  • Bibliography, glossary, and chronology


About the Authors

Matsuo Basho stands today as Japan's most renowned writer, and one of the most revered.Yet despite his stature, Basho's complete haiku have never been collected under one cover. Until now.
To render the writer's full body of work in English, Jane Reichhold, an American haiku poet and translator, dedicated over ten years to the present compilation. In Basho: The Complete Haiku she accomplishes the feat with distinction. Dividing the poet's creative output into seven periods of development, Reichhold frames each period with a decisive biographical sketch of the poet's travels, creative influences, and personal triumphs and defeats.
Supplementary material includes two hundred pages of scrupulously researched notes, which also contain a literal translation of the poem, the original Japanese, and a Romanized reading. A glossary, chronology, index of first lines, and explanation of Basho's haiku techniques provide additional background information. Finally, in the spirit of Basho, elegant sumi-e ink drawings by well-known Japanese artist Shiro Tsujimura front each chapter.
Reichhold notes that "Basho was a genius with words." The poet obsessively sought the perfect word for each phrase or coupling, always stretching for the very essence of experience and expression. With equal dedication, Reichhold has sought the ideal translations.
As a result, Basho: The Complete Haiku is likely to become the essential work on this brilliant poet and stand as the most authoritative book on his poetry for many years to come.

Jane Reichhold is one of America's leading haiku poets. She has written over thirty books, most of them on haiku or poetry, including Writing and Enjoying Haiku: A Hands-on Guide. She is a three-time winner of the Haiku Society of America's Merit Book Award, for Tigers in a Tea Cup (1988), Silence (1991), and A Dictionary of Haiku (1992). She is also a two-time winner of the Literature Award from the Museum of Haiku in Tokyo for her original haiku. In 1998, Ms. Reichhold was honored with an invitation from the Emperor and Empress of Japan to attend the Imperial New Year's Poetry Party at the palace in Tokyo. Since founding Aha Books more than twenty years ago, Reichhold has aided the spread and understanding of haiku and other Japanese poetry forms with the publication of over fifty books. She started the magazine Mirrors: International Haiku Journal (1987–95); edited Geppo, a monthly publication for the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society of America; and continues to co-edit Lynx, a poetry journal, with her husband, Werner. Reichhold's Aha Books sponsors the Tanka Splendor Awards, which honors exceptional writing of tanka poetry in English. She holds memberships in haiku societies in the United States, Canada, Japan, and Germany. Her literary papers are housed in American Haiku Archives of the State Library of California.