“Behind the Falls” by Matsuo Bashō

On May 20, 1689, a few weeks before the beginning of the three-month time of seclusion Buddhist monks were required to observe each summer, the Japanese poet Bashō climbed into the mountains to visit Urami Falls. Passing behind the cascade, he tarried a while in a cave, looking out at the world…

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“A Child Has Died” by Matsuo Bashō

Japanese poet Bashō composed the following haiku in 1666, apparently after visiting the home of a couple whose young child had died. The sight of their despair reminded him of the nō play Take no Yuki (“Snow on Bamboo”) by the playwright Zeami Motokiyo, in which a young boy dies…

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“Autumn Wind” by Matsuo Bashō

Japanese poet Bashō composed the following haiku in the fall of 1666. An autumn wind blows through the doorway’s yawning maw— cold and cutting voice. —Translated by David Bowles, March 2015  

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“Split Melon” by Bashō

Japanese poet Bashō gave the following haiku to Emoto Tōko, a young merchant who wanted to become the master’s student. Don’t just mirror me as if we were both two halves of the same melon. —Translated by David Bowles, March 2015  

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Where All Debts Are Paid

Where All Debts Are Paid (originally published in the Fall 2014 edition of Huizache) 1 The Dilemma What passions roil within me Whenever I recite, my friends! I drag my heart round And round this earth, Sketching with words Every stopping place.  

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Rattle #47

Rattle 47 is out. This edition of the journals features a tribute to Asian poetical forms, including my translation from the Japanese of three pieces by Karai Senryū as well as haiku by Billy Collins and a wealth of verse from many others, from Debra Kang Dean to Mariko Kitakubo. Especially wonderful…

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Translations in Somos en escrito

The on-line magazine Somos en escrito has published three translations of mine from Classical Nahuatl into English and Spanish. You can read them now by heading over to that website.  

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“Cradlesong” to be published in Metamorphoses

I’m delighted that the journal Metamorphoses has accepted “A Cradlesong,” my translation from the Nahuatl of “Cōzolcuīcatl,” poem LVII of the Songs of Mexico codex composed in 1585. In the 800-word sequence, a young Mexica girl envisions the fallen young king of Tenochtitlan, Ahuizotl, as a baby, youth and man,…

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Poems in Rattle #47

Just received word that my translations of three Japanese poems by Karai Senryū have been accepted for publication in issue 47 of Rattle (forthcoming March 2015). Ii darou! (“Cool, ain’t it?”)  

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“Any hope of ever seeing you again” by Eugenio Montale

Eugenio Montale was an Italian poet awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1975. His work occasionally seems difficult, but the apparent obscurity often arises from references to events in his life of which the reader has no knowledge. The following poem, for example, alludes to an event both poet…

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