As a son of a samurai, Basho grew up in the household of Todo Yoshitada, a young lord. After his father´s death in 1656, Basho stayed on in the Yoshitada household. He and Todo wrote poetry together, and in 1664 they published some poems. Two years later, Todo died suddenly. Basho left the area.
Basho moved around for several years. In the 1670s, he went to Edo and stayed there. He found friendship and success once again. Basho judged poetry contests, published his own poetry, and taught students. His students built him a home outside the city in 1681. They planted a banana tree (a basho) in front and called his home Basho Hut. That is how the poet got his nickname: Basho.
In spite of this success, Basho became unhappy. He often wrote about loneliness. His mother died in 1683, and he began his travels a year later. His trip to the northern part of Honshu in 1689 was difficult,but his travel diary about this journey, "Narrow Road to the Deep North", became of Japan´s greatest works of literature.
As a famous poet, Basho had many visitors - too many, in fact. In 1693 he locked his gate for a month, stayed alone, and wrote. The following year he took his final journey, to Osaka. He died there among his friends.
This reading was taken from the book "Focus in Grammar" by Fuchs, Bonnerand and Westheimer (Longman)