Japanese poetry does what poetry does everywhere: it intensifies and exalts experience. It is true that it concentrates practically exclusively on this function. The poetry of other peoples usually serves other functions too, some of them not particularly germane to the poetic experience. It is possible to claim that Japanese poetry is purer, more essentially poetic. Certainly it is less distracted by non-poetic considerations.
—Kenneth Rexroth, introduction to One Hundred Poems from the Japanese (New Directions, 1964). Translation by Kenneth Rexroth.