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How to Read a Japanese Poem
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Ancient Song and Poetry
2. Long Poems and Short Poems
3. Popular Songs
4. Linked Verse
5. Unorthodox Poems
6. Comic Poems
7. Poems in Chinese
Appendix 1: Technical Terms
Appendix 2: Aesthetic Ideals and Devices
Notes
Sources of Japanese Texts
Selected Bibliography
Index of Japanese Names, Titles, and Terms

About the Author

Steven D. Carter is Yamato Ichihashi Chair in Japanese History and Civilization, emeritus, at Stanford University. His Columbia University Press books include Haiku Before Haiku: From the Renga Masters to Basho (2011) and The Columbia Anthology of Japanese Essays: Zuihitsu from the Tenth to the Twenty-First Century (2014).

Reviews

Carter's book, no esoteric over-academic tome, is a lively exploration of Japanese poetic discourse, a guide to the formal delicacy and subtlety of Japanese verse, opening it up for the reader and showing, not telling, what's inside. His book is accessible to all who enjoy Japanese poetry; he writes intelligently, sensitively and passionately about it, and the result is an indispensable book which will make Japanese poetry come alive and reveal its depth at the same time. -- John Butler * Asian Review of Books *
In this thorough and wide-ranging book, Carter explores what to look for and what's not obvious in each of Japan's distinct genres of poetry. How to Read a Japanese Poem offers detailed analyses of specific poems in each era, exploring the textual and cultural context, social occasion, and the location and timing of composition. This book takes readers below the surface to understand the nuances of context. -- Michael Dylan Welch, founder and president, Tanka Society of America
This fresh collection of poems, most of which have never appeared in translation before, illuminates the core and continuity of Japanese poetry. Carter's commentary, based on a vast erudition worn as lightly as a feathered robe, opens up each poem, the world and the heart together. This book will enlighten and delight general readers and specialists alike. -- Sonja Arntzen, University of Toronto
Carter's colleagues and students have long waited to take this journey with him as guide to the formal subtleties and aesthetic principles that make Japanese poetry so rewarding and that he understands and explains so well. This is a most welcome volume. -- Edward Kamens, Yale University
From the songs of ancient Japan to haiku on World War II, through snow-flecked pines and into noisy streets, Carter guides us through more than a millennium of Japanese verse. Thanks to his contextual insights and masterful translations, the "clouds clear away" to reveal the beauty, power, wit, and utility of Japanese poetry. -- Christina Laffin, University of British Columbia
This book is a masterful tour of Japanese poetry from the earliest times to the late nineteenth century. The range of knowledge is astonishing, and there are very few people-perhaps no one-who could attempt this kind of book except for the author. -- Torquil Duthie, University of California, Los Angeles

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