I looked for my edition, but I couldn't find it. This one is from 1957 with 107 pages of poetry and a bio.
It's nice to start with this book to create a general base knowledge of haikus and of Issa. I found this book surprising because not only was it written in '57 (not exactly a long time for American ill-will to really fade away from WWII) but that it sought to create context through the biography, the original poem with his translation, and additional notes about meaning. Though these can be jarring and take away from reading just the poems, it adds meaning to them that I would have missed otherwise.
I really liked this book. I really enjoyed that the Japanese was left in with the translation. If I knew Japanese, it would have made for a wonderful opportunity to debate with myself context, the quality of the translation, and have a great knowledge base to create meaning for myself from those poems. While I liked a number of them, I might have interpreted it differently from the original intent. Well, that is to be expected. I'm reading poems that are over 200yrs old, context and meaning changes in that amount of time, for any culture. It would have been nice that in the notes I would have been informed of which poems he was known for, and which ones were well and not so well received. Since I knew/know nothing about this history, a clue would have been helpful.
Still, I'm glad I decided to pick up trying to learn about and explore poems from another culture. It gave me confidence that maybe I do have the capability of grasping poetry, even if it's on a novice level.