Dew on the Grass
This book sketches the life and poetry of Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828), a Japanese poet popularly known as one of the Three Pillars of Haiku. While Basho with his mystic asceticism and Buson with his romantic aestheticism immeasurably enriched the haiku tradition, it was Issa who, with his bold individualism and all-embracing humanism, helped to modernize the form to a degree matched by no other poet. Based on the most recent scholarship, the book attempts to identify the sources of his originality in terms of his long checkered life. It traces his growth and maturity by examining his motherless childhood, struggling youth in Edo, wanderings in western Japan, restless existence as a haiku master, return home to Kashiwabara, three brief marriages, and last years as an old poet.