A Swallow Press Book
By Lucien Stryk
“The moral grandeur of Lucien Stryk’s poetry emerges specifically from his ability to reveal, to accept, and to forgive… even the darker edges of human experience, because to do so is to awaken to, and to be fully aware of, our own most profound humanity…that is akin to Whitman’s assertion nothing human is alien to me.”
A. Poulin, Jr., Contemporary American Poetry
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.
The collection’s second part, devoted completely to the poet’s favorite of all the great haiku poets of Japan, Issa, “Issa: A Suite of Haiku,” is made up of 72 freshly translated pieces by one of haiku’s “great four” (the others being Basho, Buson, and Shiki -- all of whom Lucien Stryk has translated).
The collection’s third part begins with some poems about painting and sculpture, then begins to “travel” to Italy, England, and Sweden. This volume of poetry is yet another demonstration of what Library Journal declared upon publication of Stryk’s Collected Poems: 1953-1983: “This collection affirms Stryk as one of our best poets working in America today.”
Lucien Stryk is the prize–winning author and editor of more than two dozen volumes of poetry, translations, and edited collections. More info →
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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.
Lucien Stryk has been a presence in American letters for almost fifty years. Those who know his poetry well will find this collection particularly gratifying. Like journeying again to places visited long ago, Stryk’s writing is both familiar and wonderfully fresh. For those just becoming acquainted with Stryk’s work, Zen, Poetry, the Art of Lucien Stryk makes an excellent introduction.
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.