Ten Poems by Issa

First published in Woodnotes #15, Winter 1992, page 33.

Ten Poems by Issa translated by Robert Bly. Floating Island Publications, 1992, 32 pages, hand-sewn paperback, 5½ by 7 inches. Illustrated by Arthur Okamura. $6.00 at bookstores. First transliterated in 1972 by Bly, these ten colloquially rendered translations are showcased one to a page opposite full-page illustrations. This brief but timeless book is a fitting companion to Floating Island’s publication of Diane di Prima’s Seminary Poems in 1991. A selection:

The old dog bends his head listening . . .

I guess the singing

of the earthworms gets to him.