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Only Companion: Japanese Poems of Love and Longing
Sam Hamill
Written by court princesses, exiled officials, Zen priests, and recluses, the 150 poems translated here represent the rich diversity of Japan’s poetic tradition. Varying in tone from the sensuous and erotic to the profoundly spiritual, each poem captures a sense of the poignant beauty and longing known only in the fleeting experience of the moment. The translator has selected these five-line tanka—one of the great traditional verse forms of Japanese literature—from sources ranging from the classical imperial anthologies of the eighth and tenth centuries to works of the early twentieth century.
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