Matsuo Basho

(1644 - 1694 / Iga Province / Japan)

Matsuo Basho
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Bashō was born Matsuo Kinsaku around 1644, somewhere near Ueno in Iga Province. His father may have been a low-ranking samurai, which would have promised Bashō a career in the military but not much chance of a notable life. It was traditionally claimed by biographers that he worked in the kitchens. However, as a child Bashō became a servant to Tōdō Yoshitada, who shared with Bashō a love for haikai no renga, a form of cooperative poetry composition. The sequences were opened with a verse in the 5-7-5 mora format; this verse was named a hokku, and would later be renamed haiku when presented as stand-alone works. The hokku would be followed by a related 7-7 ... more »

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Quotations

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  • ''Refinement's origin:
    the remote north country's
    rice-planting song.''
    Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), Japanese poet. (untitled haiku), Trans. by Bernard Lionel Einbond, in Cicada I, No. 4 (Winter 1977).
  • ''Clouds now and again
    give a soul some respite from
    moon-gazing—behold.''
    Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), Japanese poet. (untitled haiku), Trans. by Bernard Lionel Einbond, in Cicada I, No. 4 (Winter 1977).
  • ''The summer grasses:
    of mighty warlords' visions
    all that they have left.''
    Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), Japanese poet. (untitled haiku), Trans. by Bernard Lionel Einbond, in Cicada I, No. 4 (Winter 1977).
  • ''On my travels, stricken—
    my dreams over the dry land
    go on roving.''
    Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), Japanese poet. (untitled haiku), Trans. by Bernard Lionel Einbond, in Cicada I, No. 4 (Winter 1977). This haiku is known...
  • ''An old pond—
    a frog tumbles in—
    the sound of water.''
    Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), Japanese poet. (Untitled haiku), Trans. by Bernard Lionel Einbond, appearing in One Hundred Frogs by Hiroaki Sato, New York ...
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Comments about Matsuo Basho

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  • Christable Anon (2/18/2012 7:44:00 PM)

    IF YOU LOVE BASHO, COME HELP ME BUILD THIS PAGE ON HIM.

    https: //www.facebook.com/pages/edit/? id=332598100115869&sk=basic#! /pages/Matsuo-Basho/332598100115869

  • Judy Meibach (4/30/2010 9:26:00 AM)

    I never quite understood haiku until I started reading the works of Basho - now I am studying haiku - and it is quite enlightening - something very different than the poetry that I have often been accustomed to.

  • Lorraine Margueritte Gasrel Black (11/16/2008 3:19:00 PM)

    How much can be said in so little words.I'm glad I finally discovered who wrote and invented the haiku.Thank you.I wrote some haiku based on THE OLD POND haiku-which is this poet's most famous.

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