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Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), along with Basho and Buson, is considered one of the three greatest haiku poets of Japan, known for his attention to poignant detail and his playful sense of humor. Issa's most-loved work, The Spring of My Life, is an autobiographical sketch of linked prose and haiku in the tradition of Basho's famous Narrow Road to the Interior. In addition to The Spring of My Life, the translator has included more than 160 of Issa's best haiku and an introduction providing essential information on Issa's life and valuable comments on translating (and reading) haiku.
Sam Hamill has translated more than two dozen books from ancient Chinese, Japanese, Greek, Latin, and Estonian. He has published fourteen volumes of original poetry. He has been the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and the Mellon Fund. He was awarded the Decoraci n de la Universidad de Carabobo in Venezuela, the Lifetime Achievement Award in Poetry from Washington Poets Association, and the PEN American Freedom to Write Award. He cofounded and served as Editor at Copper Canyon Press for thirty-two years and is the Director of Poets Against War.