Haiku poet Basho
born in Ueno, 30 miles southeast of Kyoto
Enters into the service a local feudal lord; begins composing haikai
Left the feudal family and disappeared for five years, taking on the name Sobo
His worked appeared in numerous anthologies; many believe he was in Kyoto studying poetry and Zen
Published "The Seashell Game", which was the record of a haiku contest he supervised
Began taking on students
Published "Two Poets of Edo (Tokyo)" with another poet
Worked as a minor official in the waterworks department
Published "Three Poets in Edo"
At the age of 34, was recognized as a master and a group began to form around him
Began to deepen his studies of Chinese poetry; shaved his head and became a lay monk
Withdrew from public life, moving to a modest gamekeeper's hut; it was here that he was given a large banana tree (a basho tree), which became the name he is best known by
A tremendous fire destroyed much of Edo and Basho's home
His students rebuilt his home; began the travels that occupied the rest of his life; his mother died
His travel journal, "Journal of Weather-beaten Skeleton" was published
Returned to his home in Edo
Set out on another trip which resulted in "Notes in My Knapsack" (also known as "The Records of a Travel-worn Satchel") and "A Visit to Kashima Shrine"
At 45, sold his home and journeyed north; created his masterpiece "Narrow Road to the Far North"
Began developing the c0ncept of "sabi", solitariness and loneliness that results in lightness and intense concentration
Returned to Edo
His health began failing him; introduced a new poetic ideal called "karumi" which he described as "like looking at a shallow river with a sandy bed"
Basho died; his death poem:
Sick on a journey,
my dreams wander
the withered fields