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My entry to Japanese poetry was, I suspect, similar to most. It began with Matsuo Basho; anthologies by R. H. Blyth and Kenneth Rexroth; haiku by Edo Period (1603-1868) monks; and tanka by Heian Period (794-1185 ) noblewomen.

The heyday of Japanese poetry, these books seemed to say, is long gone. But nothing could be further from the truth.

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