Winter Poem 32 by Jakuzen, translated by Patrick Donnelly & Stephen D. Miller
Jakuzen was a 12th century priest of the Buddhist Tendai sect; he resided outside the capital of Kyoto in Ōhara. He left behind three manuscripts of waka poetry; that forty-seven of his poems were published in several imperial poetry anthologies of the late 12th century and later is a mark of how highly they were regarded. One of Jakuzen’s most famous collections is the Hōmon hyakushu (One Hundred Poems of the Dharma Gate). As the first one-hundred-poem private anthology of shakkyō-ka (Buddhist-themed poems), Jakuzen’s Hōmon Hyakushu sits at the juncture between the Japanese court’s ongoing literary and religious projects, exemplifying the late-Heian period (794 – 1185) formula kadō soku butsudō: “the way of poetry is none other than the Buddha-way.” Each of the hundred parts of Jakuzen’s sequence is comprised of a dai (poem topic, in this case a short quote from Buddhist scripture in Chinese), a waka (31-syllable poem in Japanese) and a Japanese lyric prose afterword on the same topic. The hundred sections of the Hōmon Hyakushu are grouped into ten books, and these four sections are from book four, the Winter poems [fuyo no uta].

Patrick Donnelly is the author of four books of poetry, The Charge (Ausable Press, 2003, since 2009 part of Copper Canyon Press), Nocturnes of the Brothel of Ruin (Four Way Books, 2012), a 2013 finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, Jesus Said (a chapbook from Orison Books, 2017), and Little-Known Operas, forthcoming from Four Way Books in 2019. Donnelly is director of the Poetry Seminar at The Frost Place, Robert Frost’s old homestead in Franconia, NH, now a center for poetry and the arts. Donnelly’s awards include a U.S./Japan Creative Artists Program Award, an Artist Fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Margaret Bridgman Fellowship in Poetry from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and a 2018 Amy Clampitt Residency Award.

Stephen D. Miller is associate professor of Japanese language and literature at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Miller is author of The Wind from Vulture Peak: The Buddhification of Japanese Waka in the Heian Period (Cornell East Asia Series, 2013). He is translator of A Pilgrim’s Guide to Forty-Six Temples (Weatherhill Inc., 1990), and editor of Partings at Dawn: An Anthology of Japanese Gay Literature (Gay Sunshine Press, 1996). Miller lived in Japan for nine years between 1980 and 1999, in part as the recipient of two Japan Foundation fellowships for research abroad.

Donnelly and Miller’s translations in The Wind from Vulture Peak: The Buddhification of Japanese Waka in the Heian Period (Cornell East Asia Series, 2013), were awarded the 2015-2016 Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature. Previously their translations have appeared in Bateau, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Circumference,, eXchanges, Inquiring Mind, Kyoto Journal, Mead, Metamorphoses, New Plains Review, Noon: The Journal of the Short Poem, Poetry International, Zone 3, and Like Clouds or Mists: Studies and Translations of Nō Plays of the Genpei War.