Crow with No Mouth
Crow with No Mouth

Translated by Stephen Berg

A 15th century Zen monk-poet, one of my very favorites, who does his tradition proud: so lusty, so stark. Stephen Berg's translations in run-on lines capture a charming voice. —Recommended by Matt, City Lights Books

An eccentric classic of Zen poetry

When Zen master Ikkyu Sojun (1394-1481) was appointed headmaster of the great temple at Kyoto, he lasted nine days before denouncing the rampant hypocrisy he saw among the monks there. He in turn invited them to look for him in the sake parlors of the Pleasure Quarters. A Zen monk-poet-calligrapher-musician, he dared to write about the joys of erotic love, along with more traditional Zen themes. He was an eccentric and genius who dared to defy authority and despised corruption. Although he lived during times plagued by war, famine, rioting, and religious upheaval, his writing and music prevailed, influencing Japanese culture to this day.

"Ikkyu scandalized the Zen community of his day and is likely to scandalize some readers even now—his short poems are simultaneously bawdy, abrupt, vulgar, and reverential... It is impossible not to love the velocity and variety of his verse."—The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Stephen Berg is exactly the right poet to have translated these poems."—Hayden Carruth, The Hudson Review

"A deeply sensual man, Ikkyu had little patience for the fussiness of monastic life and ritual... What is especially appealing about Ikkyu's poetry is the way his sensuality infuses his Zen sensibility."—American Book Review

Stephen Berg is the founder of American Poetry Review.

Title Crow with No Mouth
Author Ikkyū
Translated by Stephen Berg
Publisher Copper Canyon Press
Title First Published 30 January 2001
Format Paperback
Nb of pages 80 p.
ISBN-10 1556591527
ISBN-13 9781556591525
Publication Date 30 January 2001
Main content page count 80
Weight 16 oz.
List Price $14.00

We also suggest

Product image
The Nature of Things
2007 Edition