Obituary Note: Edith Shiffert

American poet Edith Shiffert, "whose work was profoundly influenced by the half-century she spent in Japan," died March 1 in Kyoto, the New York Times reported. She was 101. Author of nearly two dozen volumes of poetry, Shiffert was published in the New Yorker "and--at midcentury, when newspapers routinely printed poems--in the New York Times and elsewhere. She was also known as a writer on, and translator of, Japanese poetry," the Times noted.

With Yuki Sawa, she compiled and translated the volumes Anthology of Modern Japanese Poetry (1972) and Haiku Master Buson (1978). Her other books include The Kyoto Years (1971), Forest House With Cat (1991) and The Light Comes Slowly (1997).

From her poem "The Bouquet, Finished":

We cannot call it important,
a scattering of petals onto a table
after a week in my room.

Yet it seems a beginning to all sadnesses,
frailty, and going away.


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