One thousand years ago the Heian court of Imperial Japan was one of the most sophisticated cultures on earth. The literature of that classical age is the only one in which the predominant geniuses were women; among the foremost were the two translated in this volume. Ranging from the deeply erotic to the profoundly spiritual, the poems of Ono no Komachi (ca. 850) and Izumi Shikibu (974?--1034?) served sometimes as intimate exchanges between lovers, other times to record the most private emotional and spiritual concerns of these accomplished and passionate women. Elegant, sensual, insightful, and piercingly lovely, the poems in The Ink Dark Moon speak to us from the distant past with an immediacy that brings us to a deepened experience of the present. Translated by Jane Hirschfield and Mariko Aratani.
"Sheer pleasure...By filtering the warm wash of classical Japanese prosody [Hirschfield and Aratani] have arrived at seemingly effortless transparencies...I have looked at many translations of these poets, but few or none as fine as these."--Edwin A. Cranston, Harvard University, in The Journal of Asian Studies