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Moon Woke Me Up Nine Times:
Selected Haiku of Basho

Translated by David Young

Vivid new translations of Basho's popular haiku, in a selected format ideal for newcomers as well as fans long familiar with
the Japanese master.

Basho, the famously bohemian traveler through seventeenth-century Japan, is a poet attuned to the natural world as well as humble human doings; "Piles of quilts/ snow on distant mountains/ I watch both," he writes. His work captures both the profound loneliness of one observing mind and the broad-ranging joy he finds in our connections to the larger community. David Young, acclaimed translator and Knopf poet, writes in his introduction to this selection, "This poet's consciousness affiliates itself with crickets, islands, monkeys, snowfalls, moonscapes, flowers, trees, and ceremonies...Waking and sleeping, alone and in company, he moves through the world, delighting in its details." Young's translations are bright, alert, musically perfect, and rich in tenderness toward their maker.

Here’s the link to a site where it can be ordered:


The art of translation is useful to a poet because it calls for the practice of the craft in the absence of inspiration for one’s own work.

It is also, in David Young’s view, a way for a poet to carry on a giant conversation with poets of other languages, times, and places.

“When I translate,” says Young, “I inhabit the other poet’s world, however briefly, and sometimes sense that I am tracking the creative process that brought the original poem into being.”


Paul Celan was, by common consent, among the most important poets of the twentieth century. In the second half of that century, he has no rivals, not least because of his surviving the Holocaust and then confronting it through his art. His 1959 collection, Sprachgitter, stands at the very center of his achievement, and it is here presented in its entirety, for the first time in English, by the noted translator David Young, along with a helpful introduction. Even the title of this collection is diffcult to render in translation, but Young’s choice, Language Behind Bars, reflects Celan’s sense of his diffculty, as a Jew living in France, writing in the language of the enemy and trying to reconstitute and resurrect its potential for poetry in the light of its corruption by the Nazis. Readers will value having the German texts on facing pages, in a continuous dialogue with David Young’s searching and scrupulous versions of these diffcult, masterly lyrics.



David Young’s translation of Paul Celan’s volume,
Von Schwelle zu Schwelle (1952) is now available from
Marick Press.

Link to Merick Press


David Young's DU FU: A LIFE IN POETRY was
published by Knopf in early November, 2008.
Below is a link to a radio interview in which he
discusses the book with Eric Tomb:

Click here for radio interview
• Click here for the NPR review of David Young's DU FU •
Click here for Poetry Daily
Click here for Front Porch 10 review
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