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Moon Woke Me Up Nine Times: Selected Haiku of Basho

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  205 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Vivid new translations of Basho's popular haiku, in a selected format ideal for newcomers as well as fans long familiar with the Japanese master.

Basho, the famously bohemian traveler through seventeenth-century Japan, is a poet attuned to the natural world as well as humble human doings; "Piles of quilts/ snow on distant mountains/ I watch both," he writes. His work captur
Paperback, 106 pages
Published April 2nd 2013 by Knopf (first published 1694)
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Khashayar Mohammadi
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Nicely edited collection; but my personal favorite part was the few pages in the appendix dedicated to Basho's longer poems ...more
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Beautiful, simple and meditative. Basho is one of my favorite Japanese poets. This is a good book to start reading Basho. When modern life has me feeling depressed or anxious or stressed, I turn to haiku for they bring me back down to Earth and remind me of the beauty in the simplicity of nature and the things around me and of being alive.
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A delightful collection. David Young's introduction is informative and easy to read, which is a rarity in poetry collections and must be praised, though you won't learn a thing about Bashō from it. Young says you can get that everywhere else; instead, the introduction addresses Young's approach to translating these poems, and I was quite surprised at the amount of latitude Young gave himself. Due to the differences between the number of syllables in English and Japanese, he disregards the West's ...more
Karen Michele Burns
Dec 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-5-star-books
Back in my school days, haiku was really the only poetic form that I understood. I could even succeed in writing some haiku that were decent, at least they were more successful than any other poetry I wrote. i decided to revisit haiku by reading the master of the form, Basho. I was entranced again by the beauty of such a short collection of words. The simplicity that holds so much more meaning than you would think could be contained in such a small package is a large part of why haiku appeals to ...more
So beautiful! Joyful and sorrowful, reading this haiku was very enjoyable. Even with it's limited words, each haiku gave such rich settings and emotions that while reading them, I felt i was right there with the poet! I highly recommend this slim volume to just about anyone. Even someone who may not like poems or haiku. I feel that most people would love to read this relaxing little book and soak up it's beauty. ...more
Jeffrey Bumiller
Jun 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is far and away the best collection of Basho's Haiku that I've ever read. The translations seem really fresh, alive, and consistent throughout the book. This book is also laid out wonderfully, the Haiku's look beautiful on the page. I read one or two poems a day and it was really great to have my daily moment with Basho. This is a great book. ...more
Amy Neftzger
Jul 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed these translations which kept true to the spirit of the writing without attempting to choosing words that forced the syllables into the traditional haiku format. The poems were written that way, but sometimes meaning becomes obscured when translators pay more attention to the meter than the content. This is a book of beautiful poems that have been nicely translated.
Timothy Langhorst
Jul 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Very enjoyable book. David Young's translation of selected Haiku by Basho. Young's introduction to the 188 Haiku in this book provides context to the reading. Would definitely recommend this book. ...more
May 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Interesting new translations; very terse compared to the translations I've read in the past. I still prefer Robert Hass's translations, but that's probably just because Hass's versions are what I read first (a long time ago) and am accustomed to. ...more
Edward Rathke
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
This is simple beauty. Love it.
Peter Schmidt
Dec 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The best translation out there, plus a superb introduction on Basho's like and why the haiku is such a immortal poetic form, esp in his hands.
Feb 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful, free form translations of Basho poems.
Desmond Beddoe
Feb 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Wonder filled simplicity
Juli Anna
Apr 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Unusual translations of Bashō--quite playful and sound-oriented. Intro is worth a read, as well.
Laszlo Szerdahelyi
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
''Look at its shape
the moon is just a young girl
Sent to bed early''

David Young does an excellent job in writing a beautiful introduction to this collection of haiku by Basho as well as in the selection of Basho's works is done in such a way that it amplifies the feelings expressed in the haiku's and offers a framework for their unfolding.

Matsuo Basho abandoned his life in the privileged samurai class of 17th century Japan and spent many years roaming Japan in all directions looking to gain inspi
Tom Scott
Aug 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
I don’t really like or respect Haiku. I probably developed this notion in junior high where I was forced to read and write it way before I was ready. I can only guess I was a pretty crappy student and scoffed at the simplicity thinking myself above it. It’s baby-stuff. Corn-ball. Easy-peasy. That attitude, noted now with a bit of embarrassment, has stayed with me up until, well, a day or two ago. On a lark, I bought a book by Basho, who is considered the master of the form. Ok, Basho, show me wh ...more
Oct 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Lovely collection, well-translated!

Here are a few of my favourites:

Sight of that mountain
makes me forget
I’m getting old

Let’s go snow viewing
fall down a lot
before we get there

We have to say farewell
the deer’s antlers
have to branch

Midnight frost
I’d like to borrow
the scarecrow’s coat

Battlefield, now summer grass
all that’s left of
soldier dreams

Old lady cherry tree
blooming in age—

First rain of winter
today’s a day
people get older
Ben Smith
Jul 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
My favorite poet, though admittedly I'm not a fan of most poetry. Basho has a way of transporting you to another time and place in just a few lines, and reading his haiku is an almost meditative experience. On the other hand, some of his haiku is surprisingly funny and breaks up what otherwise could get a bit monotonous. ...more
Kent Winward
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
the book was short
the syllables not counted
nature evoking emotion.
Sep 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Basho (1644-1694) is the heavyweight of haiku (with a feather-light poetic touch). I'd encountered his work in anthologies and was drawn to this dedicated volume because it was contemporary, had a wonderful title and a lovely cover design.

In poetic translation, it's a truism that the translator is playing a significant role, and this is certainly true of haiku. So this is Basho and David Young. I have to admit that these versions didn't strike me as often as I was expecting (and I think the haik
Hunter Marston
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wonderful experience flipping through Basho's haikus ...more
Stella Kydd
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
If you haven't I suggest you do!
Cam Netland
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Year after year
On the monkey’s face
A monkey mask
Blake Charlton
May 22, 2019 rated it liked it
a sold translation and contemplation of basho.
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
“Polished mirror
bright again
flowering snowflakes”
Cassidy Jones
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ben Niespodziany
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Made me want to go outside and describe the sky. And the sea. And the dream. Great, timeless meditations.
Will Parra
Sep 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book changed my life
Dec 26, 2017 rated it did not like it
The introduction is half of the book. There are very few haiku's in the book.

These are the ones I liked the best.:

Everyone in this house
has gray hair, walks with a cane,
visits the graveyard

Practice practice
every morning
cricket musician

Autumn is leaving
you'd like to hide
in an opium poppy

Sweeping the garden
the broom as it goes
forgets the snow

The full moon
rides in on the froth
of the salt tide

doesn't leave you enlightened
-- good to know that

The nun lives alone
straw thatch cold heart
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MATSUO Bashō (松尾 芭蕉) was the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan. During his lifetime, Bashō was renowned for his works in the collaborative haikai no renga form; today, he is recognized as a master of brief and clear haiku.

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“Moon woke me up
nine times
—still just 4 a.m.”
doesn't leave you enlightened
—good to know that”
More quotes…