The first Penguin anthology of Japanese haiku, in vivid new translations by Adam L. Kern. Now a global poetry, the haiku was originally a Japanese verse form that flourished from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. Although renowned for its brevity, usually running over three lines in seventeen syllables, and by its use of natural imagery to make Zen-like observations about reality, in fact the haiku is much more: it can be erotic, funny, crude and mischievous. Presenting over a thousand exemplars in vivid and engaging translations, this anthology offers an illuminating introduction to this widely celebrated, if misunderstood, art form. Adam L. Kern's new translations are accompanied here by the original Japanese and short commentaries on the poems, as well as an introduction and illustrations from the period.
Adam L. Kern studied Japanese literature at Harvard University, where he earned his PhD in East Asian Languages and Civilizations before joining the faculty for nearly a decade. In Japan, he has been affiliated with the University of Kyoto, the University of Tokyo and the National Institute of Japanese Literature. Kern teaches Japanese literature and visual culture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.