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An Introduction to Haiku, Anthology of Poems and Poets from Basho to Shiki
translations and commentary by Harold G. Henderson,
Doubleday Anchor Paperback 1958 First
Paperback 190 pgs Measures 7x4 inches 5 ounces

Condition: Very good.
Solid tight clean copy, perfect collector piece, will display beautifully.
Cover is darker in color around the edges from age. Rich coloring at cover a well preserved copy. Spine is lightly creased and slightly darker as well.
Former owner name neat tight pen on the first leaf (the 1/2 title page)
Else is good and clean.

THIS book is an outgrowth from a small book on haikn
called The Bamboo Broom, which was published just
twenty-five years ago and which is now out of print ft
contains about seventy-five translations which orfg.
inally appeared in the Broom, and some three hun­
dred new ones.
In the preface to the Broom I referred to the old
Italian adage "traduttore, traditore" and its implica­
tion that any translator is probably a traitor. For the
present book it is even more necessary to emphasize
the warning, because the very number of examples
may suggest that they include all kinds of haiku,
which they do not. An ideal translation should, I
believe, reproduce the effect of the original, but I
have found that the best any translator can even hope
for is to reproduce the effect that the originals have
had on him. And there are many famous poems, m
English as well as in Japanese, that are undoubtedly
fine, but from which I can get no effect at all. Further­
more, there are many haiku, particularly those *
very delicate suggestions-and the strength of b ^
lies in its suggestions—for which I can find no e
passable English equivalents. The sampling of b
given here is therefore necessarily a partial one.

Chapter I
THERE are several arts which are so widely practiced
in Japan that they may be considered an integral part
of its culture but which are nevertheless practically
unknown to the world at large. Among these are the
twin arts of reading and of writing haiku. These two
are ancient arts—ancient, at least, as we in America
count age—for their seeds were sown well over seven
hundred years ago, and it was in the seventeenth cen­
tury that they blossomed into full perfection. But they
are modern arts as well, more widespread today than
they ever were before. Just how many Japanese do
practice them no one knows exactly, for most haiku
are composed primarily for the pleasure of the author
and his friends and not for publication. We do know,
however, that hundreds of thousands of new haiku are
published every year.*
* In 1957 there were ahout fifty monthly magazines de­
voted to haiku, most of them successful commercial ven­
tures. The issues that I have been able to check contain a
minimum of fifteen hundred haiku each. Many haiku ap-

An Introduction to Haiku, Harold G. Henderson, Doubleday Anchor Paperback 1958 First Poems Poets Matsuo Basho, Buson, Issa, Shiki


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  • Vintage item from the 1950s
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