Lucien Stryk is the prize–winning author and editor of more than two dozen volumes of poetry, translations, and edited collections.
Haiku at its best is an art in which the poet takes a natural, most ordinary event, and without fuss, ornament or inflated words makes of it a rare moment—sparely rendered, crystallized into a microcosm which reveals transcendent unity. Small wonder haiku has a growing audience throughout the world.
Koyashi Issa (1763–1827), long considered amoung Japan’s four greatest haiku poets (along with Basho, Buson, and Shiki) is probably the best loved. This collection of more than 360 haiku, arranged seasonally and many rendered into English for the first time, attempts to reveal the full range of the poet’s extraordinary life as if it were concentrated within a year.
The first of this new collection’s three parts ranges very widely, from poems of childhood-his own, his children’s, and his grandchild’s-to poems of keen social and political awareness, and on to pieces about his neighbors, about growing more firmly and deeply into a personal place.
Lucien Stryk’s poetry is made of simple things—frost on a windowpane at morning, ducks moving across a pond, a neighbor’s fuss over his lawn—set into language that is at once direct and powerful. Years of translating Zen poems and religious texts have helped give Stryk a special sense of the particular, a feel for those details which, because they are so much a part of our lives, seem to define us.
The sharpness of Lucien Stryk’s poetry is made of simple things—frost on a windowpane at morning, ducks moving across a pond, an argument flailing in the distance, a neighbor's fuss over his lawn—set down in a language that is at once direct and powerful. Awakening is, in large part, an approach to what is most familiar by a poet whose language and poetic attention have found their own maturity.