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25 Works 1,012 Membros 12 Críticas 2 Favorited

About the Author

Obras por Yoel Hoffmann


Conhecimento Comum

Nome canónico
Hoffmann, Yoel
Outros nomes
הופמן, יואל
Data de nascimento
Data de falecimento
Hungary (birth)
País (no mapa)
Local de nascimento
Braşov, Romania
Locais de residência
Galilee, Israel
Japan (PhD)
professor of Japanese poetry, Buddhism and philosophy at Haifa University
Prémios e menções honrosas
Bialik Prize (2002)
Koret Prize

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His parents moved to pre-state Israel when Yoel was one. His mother died when he was a child, and he spent years living with various family members and in a children's home until his father remarried. Yoel studied extensively in Japan, translates Japanese poetry, and spent two years in a Buddhist monastery.



Innanzi tutto devo scrivere che mi è piaciuta molto questa edizione: la raccolta viene introdotta da una lunga introduzione volta a contestualizzare le poesie che si andranno a leggere. Quindi, oltre alla presentazione della poesia giapponese, dei tanka e degli haiku, abbiamo la storia culturale della morte in Giappone e come questa si sia intrecciata con la poesia, dando vita a una pratica letteraria particolare, quella dell’ultima poesia scritta prima di morire – jisei in giapponese.

Inoltre, quasi ogni componimento è accompagnato da una breve spiegazione che ne chiarisce alcuni punti, fornendo le informazioni necessarie sulla vita dell’autorǝ, oppure sul contesto storico-culturale, o ancora sui giochi di parole e le figure retoriche utilizzate. Senza tutte queste informazioni, probabilmente sarei qui a scrivere una roba tipo Sì, carine, ma non mi hanno detto granché perché non avrei capito quasi nulla.

Per il resto, Japanese Death Poems offre un ampio campionario dei molti modi possibili di affrontare la morte: da quelli più religiosi (una sezione della raccolta è dedicata interamente ai jisei dellз monacз zen) a quelli più terreni; da quelli più sereni a quelli più prosaici (della serie, la morte è morte anche se scrivo un bel jisei). Si ha la sensazione di visitare un cimitero monumentale e di leggere una serie di epitaffi. Non la più allegra delle letture, ma nemmeno così deprimente come si potrebbe pensare.

In generale, l’ho trovata rassicurante: essendo un’esperienza tendenzialmente sgradevole che dobbiamo fare tuttз, ho trovato confortante leggere di tutte queste persone che hanno condiviso con tuttз noi il loro dispiacere di lasciare il mondo e/o la loro serenità di farlo dopo aver vissuto (e non necessariamente una vita ideale, ma una vita normale, con i suoi alti e bassi).
… (mais)
lasiepedimore | 7 outras críticas | Jan 18, 2024 |
This book is a great introduction to Japanese poetry in general, Japanese ideas about death, and the culture that gave rise to the custom of a death poem. While not all of the poems were equally "good" (though it's hard to judge from my vantage point as someone who does not speak Japanese, knowing that a lot is probably lost in translation), some of them I liked a lot. It really got me thinking more about Zen and death, and I gained a more nuanced understanding of haiku and tanka poetry after reading this book. The notes from the author were very enjoyable and helpful.… (mais)
tarantula7 | 7 outras críticas | Jul 22, 2023 |
GoodReads Review:
Yakuo Tokuken wrote, "The words of a man before he dies are no small matter. This is a barrier that all must pass through." Ryuho also said that Only a man's years can teach him the art of detachment and ultimate departure.
Apt words. Apt words indeed. I think that's the main idea of this book, detachment and the enlightenment of 'ultimate departure.' So much dread and despair and uncertainty hangs around the notion of death that it's paralyzing. This book demystifies death, it's a journey. Are these Zen Buddhists certain of where they're going? Probably not, but they don't make a fuss about it. They embrace it, as death surely should be. I think everyone should give this book a read. It'll change your life.… (mais)
TallyChan5 | 7 outras críticas | May 22, 2023 |
I've been on Goodreads for under three weeks and am already finding and dipping into books I'd never heard of. What fun I'm having.

This one acquaints me with the ancient (since 7th c.) Japanese tradition of leaving poems as parting statements at the time of death. That many of the deaths in the first section are the self-inflicted outcomes of seppuku lends a grisly cast. A second section contains the less grisly goodbyes of monks, while the third offers a haiku miscellany, including legendary Basho's last, from Nov. 24, 1694, the day he left this world at age fifty-one.

I must confess to being initially underwhelmed by some of these farewell tankas and haikus as given here. It's hard to know whether the fault lies with translation that often doesn't even bother to count the syllables, or perhaps {who knows?) the tradition itself may not always have demanded or inspired the highest artistry in words and image. The little histories given with each poem suggest that many may have been composed on the spot, perhaps during the author's final minutes. It may be that in many cases simply performing the last-poem action in one's death's ceremony may have sufficed. For many, nothing strikingly novel in the use of traditional images like plum blossoms, cicadas, and the Pure Land journey was called for. But who am I, a westerner, to judge and try to balance novelty vs. convention in an ancient culture I can't hope ever to understand?

On a second reading, though, my inner critic is silenced and I am moved by each and every of these cries and sighs.

Basho's own last haiku does not disappoint, though this book's translator doesn't do it justice:

On a journey, ill:
My dream goes wandering
over withered fields.

Here's a better version, by David Bowles:

Ill on a journey,
Through desolate fields my dreams
Aimlessy wander.

And here's my own, somewhat licentious version:

Now journeying, ill;
My dream burns on, fluttering
Over stubbled fields.
… (mais)
Cr00 | 7 outras críticas | Apr 1, 2023 |



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Associated Authors

Peter Cole Translator
Ben-Ami Scharfstein Introduction
Dror Burstein Introduction
Hirano Sojo Foreword


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