Takuboku (Ishikawa)

(1886-1912) Japanese Tanka and freestyle poet. A Buddhist priest’s son, Takuboku began writing poetry early, but had to struggle hard to earn a living after his father was excommunicated in 1904. Plagued by poverty, ill health, and his own temper, he became increasingly critical of the norms of both society and poetry. The Tanka of his mature years, collected in Ickiaku no suna (1910; tr A Handful of Sand, 1934) and Kanashiki  gangu (1912; tr Sad Toys, 1977), movingly express his frustrations and alienation from society. Together with Masaoka Shiki, Takuboku may be credited with modernizing traditional Japanese poetry.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

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