By Kenneth Rexroth

ISBN-10: 0811201813

ISBN-13: 9780811201810

The poems are drawn mainly from the conventional Manyoshu, Kokinshu and Hyakunin Isshu collections, yet there also are examplaes of haiku and different later varieties. The sound of the japanese texts i reproduced in Romaji script and the names of the poets within the calligraphy of Ukai Uchiyama. The translator's advent supplies us uncomplicated historical past at the heritage and nature of eastern poetry, that is supplemented by means of notes at the person poets and an in depth bibliography.

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The first (ll. 72–73) references the liquefaction or extraction of aqua vitae from elixirs; its absence in version B1 is noteworthy, as it either implies that the water is synonymous with the elixirs, or leaves its production up to the reader’s interpretation. The second couplet (ll. 84– 85) relates a conventional religious reference without any obvious necessity or practical purpose. Pithy and practical in nature, version A of the “Verses” would have been ideally suited for use in the alchemical workshop.

41 Information on alchemical processes for this poem, and all texts discussed below, is based on reliable entries in Priesner and Figala, Alchemie, and various other secondary literature, including several works by Principe and Newman (see Bibliography for details). introduction to middle english alchemical poetry 27 The recipe’s structure, the intersection of its steps and the repetitive nature of the alchemical practice would have been familiar to its readers from other alchemical writings. 44 As a Gebrauchstext the poem bridges two literary traditions: concise, straightforwardly practical prose recipes often found in margins of medieval notebooks, and alchemical allegories.

These, the vast, extended pseudo-Ripleian corpus dating from the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries onwards, and the illuminated scrolls bearing alchemical poems now known as ‘Ripley Scrolls’, will become relevant for the history of the corpus of poems discussed in this book. By the early modern period the iconic Middle English alchemical poet George Ripley had thus joined the ranks of the very authorities he emulated. Beyond and including Thomas Norton and George Ripley the tradition of vernacular alchemical poetry was defined by spurious or changing attributions to both ancient and contemporary authorities.

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100 Poems from the Japanese by Kenneth Rexroth


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