PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Mark FordLetters And So It Goes
Letters from Young Mr Grace
(aka John Ashbery)

(PN Review 239)
Henry Kingon Toby Martinez de las Rivas
(PN Review 244)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Jamie OsbornIn conversation with Sasha Dugdale
(PN Review 240)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
OUP PNR 246 Banner
Monthly Carcanet Books
Next Issue Alex Wong embarks on Ausonius's Moselle Christine Blackwell recalls Jonas Mekas Lives of Graves, Trilling and Curnow visited New poems by Lisa Kelly and Jodie Hollander Andy Croft on the 'poetry industry'

This review is taken from PN Review 29, Volume 9 Number 3, January - February 1983.

A JAPANESE MAKER Paula Doe, A Warbler's Song in the Dusk: The Life and Work of Otomo Yakamochi (718-785) (University of California Press) £21.50

Yakamochi was not only a major poet but also probably the principal creator of the Japanese poetic tradition, being both the compiler of the first of the great anthologies, the Man 'yoshu, and indicating by his own example the way the tradition was to develop. About one tenth of the Man 'yoshu is taken up with his own poems and the extraordinary scope of that anthology (when compared with later Japanese anthologies) can probably be put down to his own serious concern with the various aspects of poetic craft. Here is a genuinely seminal figure and it comes as no surprise that he should be chosen for a full length study of this kind. Inevitably the book originated as a Ph.D. thesis and that, plus the unfortunate title (which I hope can be blamed on the publisher) and the remarkable price will probably be sufficient to keep the general reader away, which would be a pity since it is certainly well worth reading by anyone with an interest in oriental poetry or, indeed, with an interest in poetry, assuming it extends beyond works written in his own language. The very prejudice against the doctorate is a form of parochialism based upon an awareness of the disasters which have occurred in an overworked field such as English literature; in the study of oriental literatures the research student is not obliged to pick on a subject of minimal interest, and the enthusiasm, energy and time which are required to work on ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image