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The Ink Dark Moon

Izumi Shikibu author Ono no Komachi author Jane Hirshfield translator Mariko Aratani translator Nikita Gill editor


Publisher:Vintage Publishing

Published:19th Jan '23


Available for immediate dispatch.

The Ink Dark Moon cover

Here is a collection of sexy, brief, fleeting poems about love, lust and longing. They originate from a time in Japanese history where aristocratic women of the Heian court were free to marry and conduct love affairs according to their desires. Education and refinement were so highly valued that the courtly manner of expressing oneself, whether to give condolences for a death, to send back a forgotten fan, or to heighten the anticipation of a lover's visit, was with a poem of just five lines. A convention of secrecy surrounding love affairs fills these verses with palpable emotion.

These vivid and erotic poems express love in all its forms, and do so with amazing economy of words, unforgettable imagery and breath-taking modernity.


'They are full of dreams, of autumns, of lovers known or not yet met, of desire, wonderment, loneliness' Irish Times

Translated by Jane Hirshfield with Mariko Aratani, this is an edition that brings the story of the poems to life with a detailed introduction and notes on the translation.

These poems take us to the back corridors of Heian Period life and reveal the sexual intrigues that so often occurred under the cover of darkness... the seductive, free-spirited erotic environment unfolds through these sensuous poems * Japan Times *
A thousand years later we can read poems that remain absolutely accurate and moving descriptions of our most common and central experiences: love and loss, their reflection in the loveliness and evanescence of the natural world, and the effort to understand better the nature of being -- Jane Hirschfield

ISBN: 9781784878245

Dimensions: 178mm x 129mm x 15mm

Weight: 175g

240 pages