On Basho

Matsuo Basho was born in Iga-Ueno in 1664, (present-day Mie Prefecture) and began writing haiku while still a teenager. Basho practiced the Sho-fu style of haiku and he is best known for his poetry and prose work, "The Narrow Road through the Provinces," a diary of his extensive travels in Japan. While Basho is traditionally associated with haiku, he also made significant contributions to the linked verse form, renga, especially the 36-verse kasen. Basho died in Osaka in 1694 while on one of his many journeys. His last haiku read, "Falling ill on a journey, my dreams run round a withered field."