A masterful translation of one of the most-loved classics of Japanese literature—part travelogue, part haiku collection, part account of spiritual awakening
Bashō (1644–1694)—a great luminary of Asian literature who elevated the haiku to an art form of utter simplicity and intense spiritual beauty—is renowned in the West as the author of Narrow Road to the Interior, a travel diary of linked prose and haiku recounting his journey through the far northern provinces of Japan.
This edition, part of the Shambhala Pocket Library series, features a masterful translation of this celebrated work. It also includes an insightful introduction by translator Sam Hamill detailing Bashō’s life and the art of haiku, three other important works by Bashō—Travelogue of Weather-Beaten Bones, The Knapsack Notebook, and Sarashina Travelogue—and two hundred and fifty of his finest haiku, making this the most complete single-volume collection of Bashō’s writings.
The Shambhala Pocket Library is a collection of short, portable teachings from notable figures across religious traditions and classic texts. The covers in this series are rendered by Colorado artist Robert Spellman. The books in this collection distill the wisdom and heart of the work Shambhala Publications has published over 50 years into a compact format that is collectible, reader-friendly, and applicable to everyday life.
About the Author
MATSUO BASHO (1644-1694) was the greatest of the Japanese haiku poets, whose genius elevated the haiku to an art form of intense spiritual beauty.
SAM HAMILL (1943-2018) published over twenty books translated from the Chinese, Japanese, Greek, Latin, and Estonian as well as fifteen books of original poetry and literary essays. He was the recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest fund, the Andrew Mellon Fund, and the U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission.
“Lucid and engaging, this translation, a gift of careful attention, does not separate poetry from spiritual practice. Basho becomes our guide on the way of insight. Such is the magic for a fine translation.”—Margaret Gibson, Tricycle
“Sam Hamill achieves a kind of luminosity of language that I find unparalleled in other translations.”—Burton Watson