1997-carter-shotetsu-unforgottendreams.pdf: “Unforgotten Dreams: Poems by the Zen Monk Shōtetsu”, (1997; ):
[This volume presents translations of over 200 poems by Shōtetsu, who is generally considered to be the last great poet of the uta form. Includes an introduction, a glossary of important names and places and a list of sources of the poems.]
The Zen monk Shōtetsu (1381–1459) suffered several rather serious misfortunes in his life: he lost all the poems of his first thirty years—more than 30,000 of them—in a fire; his estate revenues were confiscated by an angry shogun; and rivals refused to allow his work to appear in the only imperially commissioned poetry anthology of his time. Undeterred by these obstacles, he still managed to make a living from his poetry and won recognition as a true master, widely considered to be the last great poet of the classical uta, or waka, tradition. Shōtetsu viewed his poetry as both a professional and religious calling, and his extraordinarily prolific corpus comprised more than 11,000 poems—the single largest body of work in the Japanese canon.
The first major collection of Shōtetsu’s work in English, Unforgotten Dreams presents beautifully rendered translations of more than two hundred poems. The book opens with Steven Carter’s generous introduction on Shōtetsu’s life and work and his importance in Japanese literature, and includes a glossary of important names and places and a list of sources of the poems. Revealing as never before the enduring creative spirit of one of Japan’s greatest poets, this fine collection fills a major gap in the English translations of medieval Japanese literature.